Interview

Finland focus: Sandbox freemium play is difficult but possible reckons Grand Cru's Markus Pasula

Finland focus: Sandbox freemium play is difficult but possible reckons Grand Cru's Markus Pasula
Helsinki-based startup Grand Cru has been hard at work on its debut game since its team came together after the closing of Mr Goodliving.

Having handpicked its collection of game veterans, the studio is readying the announcement of just what it is they are hard at work on.

We caught up with Grand Cru CEO Markus Pasula to chat about how development was coming along and the nature of sandbox gameplay meshed in freemium titles.

PocketGamer.biz: How is development coming on with your debut game?

Markus Pasula: Development has been going very nicely. We are very excited about the game, and the feedback we have received from our early tests has been very positive.

It's the first Unity-based game for us and so far it has been great.

When do you hope to publicly announce it?

We are planning to publicly announce what we are working on somewhere during Q1 2012.

We will be doing a lot of closed user testing to make sure that the right amount of fun and polish is there.

What are the main challenges you still have to overcome?

One is making sure that it is all fun for the users, especially creating unique worlds and fun gameplay. And another challenge is figuring out a great name for the game.

Are you still convinced that freemium, user generated content with sandbox play is still the way to go?

We are convinced that all of those are good components, but also all of them require some evolving.

Pure sandbox play can be fun, but we believe more into combination of clear quests, puzzles and stories with sandbox play.

What are the benefits to being a part of the Helsinki games development community?

The community is very warm and people are very open and friendly. Wisdom is getting shared often and the parties are fun.
Thanks to Markus for his time. At some point, you'll be able to find out what Grand Cru is up to here

When Matt was 7 years old he didn't write to Santa like the other little boys and girls. He wrote to Mario. When the rotund plumber replied, Matt's dedication to a life of gaming was established. Like an otaku David Carradine, he wandered the planet until becoming a writer at Pocket Gamer.

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