Big Blue Bubble's Damir Slogar on bringing iPhone hit Burn the Rope to Android, iPad, Mac and 3DS
Three months to develop, a year to exploit
Considering the number of games that flowed onto the App Store in the closing days of 2010, it's something of a surprise that any managed to find an audience among the sales and the Infinity Blades and Real Racings.
But one title that's powered through the masses - the #1 puzzle game in 50 countries, and #2 in the US paid chart - is Canadian studio Big Blue Bubble's fire and gravity puzzler Burn the Rope.
We caught up with CEO Damir Slogar to find out some more about the game and its rise to the top.
PocketGamer: Why do you think Burn the Rope has been successful?
Damir Slogar: Burn the Rope is truly original game. There's nothing like it. If you look at the top 10 in US right now you will see that except for Fruit Ninja, all other games are either existing brands or are based on previously used mechanics/concepts. Even Cut The Rope (a game I love by the way) borrowed lot of mechanics from The Incredible Machine.
People want to see and experience new concepts and what's better than playing with fire?
Do you think the similarity of your title to Cut the Rope has helped you gain visibility?
Initially, we were a bit concerned because Cut the Rope launched in the middle of our development cycle and we debated a lot whether we should keep our name. In the end we decided to keep it as it clearly describe the gameplay.
It might have helped us a bit in order to gain initial visibility but as soon as users looks at the description and screenshots, it will be clear this is a completely different game.
Where did you get the idea from and how long did it take to develop?
Idea came from Dave Kerr, who designed our game Thumpies. Development took about three months, but with all the updates we're planning, it seems most of the work is still ahead of us.
Are there any official download numbers yet?
The numbers are what you can expect from #2 ranked game and I am not ready to share them at the moment.
I can share the piracy rate though as we are using Tapjoy so we know exactly how many installs the game had. At launch day, we had piracy rate above 95 percent, but since then it started dropping and now is about 20 percent.
How quickly do you expect to get Burn the Rope onto other platforms?
We hope to do this fairly quickly because the game's already in production for multiple platforms.
The Android, iPad and Mac App Store versions should launch sometime in February, and it will be on Nintendo 3DS and next generation virtual consoles by the end of 2011.
Your big sales jump seemed to come with an App Store Featured slot and price drop, so how important is 99c for these bite-sized simple games?
Our sales jump was much more affected by the feature than the price drop [from $1.99 to 99c]. Price remains the big factor though.
As we already have several updates lined up (the first one with new levels and Game Center support should launch this week), we decided to keep the price down until we polish the game and add enough content and features to justify the higher price.
Do you have any plans to build out the franchise i.e. in-app purchases, Seasons, plushes?
We do have very unique plan to keep the game fresh for a long time and we will make the big announcement in March. As for the different themes, we will keep adding them through updates and try to keep them free.
Thanks to Damir for his time.
You can check out how Burn the Rope is reviewing over on the Quality Index.
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