Sponsored feature: SkyVu's Ben Vu on why Battle Bears is all fired up on the GREE Platform
Platform success is good for all
US studio SkyVu has built its reputation on the back of its successful Battle Bears franchise; first on iOS and now Android. Indeed, the company is going further with a new transmedia deal signed up.
We caught up with co-founder and CEO Ben Vu to find out why he's using GREE Platform.
Pocket Gamer: SkyVu has a strong brand and has raised its own funding, so why do you need to work with a company like GREE?
Ben Vu: SkyVu wants to put Battle Bears in front of as many people as possible. We're aggressively expanding the brand with more core titles as well as TV shows and consumer products with our recently announced TV deal with W!ldbrain Entertainment.
When we make decisions on who to work with, we focus on committed partners who want to work with us and build out the brand. GREE is a partner who is just as invested in the success of the title as we are and having that relationship pushes both of our companies to succeed.
Do you worry that you're effectively competing with all the other indies GREE does deals with?
No, not at all. One thing we love about the App Store is it offers something for everyone. We don't react to other titles on the market, we remain committed to crafting our own vision and believe players will find our titles because of genuine interest in the game, characters and stories.
Battle Bears is one of the few mobile franchises with an ensemble of distinct characters that talk and have a wide range of emotions.
I'm an animator by training, so I believe it's our rich characters and their compelling stories that keep our fans coming back and spreading their love of the brand. If anything, the GREE Platform is a great unifier of developers since titles doing well benefit the platform as a whole.
You're planning to use GREE Platform in existing and new games. How do you hope this will make them more successful?
We hope that we can leverage the unique mechanics of the platform (social, leaderboards, cross-promotion, localisation etc) to enhance and expand the value our products offer the player.
Bringing them all under one GREE banner allows us to reach new players and bring them into an environment that is already familiar to them. It allows us to have a relationship with other app developers that is beneficial for both companies.
Battle Bears is about fastpaced shooting, so why are social and community features important in a game where all you need other players for is to shoot them?
Battle Bears Royale is a core-competitive third person shooter. The target audience for this title are players who enjoy the competitiveness of hardcore shooters, but still want a title that is approachable, casual, and friendly.
As a brand, Battle Bears strives to connect with its audience and discover ways that we're able to reach out to our fans with apps. While competitive, the community has more of a 'friendly rivalry' vibe than out-and-out aggressiveness.
As the TV series and consumer products roll out, we will rely on these social features to tie the brand experience together into something the market has never seen, a true 360 degree mobile brand experience.
How easy has it been to integrate the GREE Platform?
Overall it's fairly easy, but there were some initial hurdles. SkyVu partnered with GREE deep during development of Battle Bears Zero and it took a bit longer than anticipated to integrate the platform into our current game. We're still not fully using everything the GREE platform has to offer.
That being said, the actual work wasn't too bad and GREE staff are always on the ball about providing support when needed.
What level of support have you received?
GREE has been a fantastic partner at providing us the support we need to utilise the platform.
We've been able to reach out to them for platform support with fast turn-around times, their dedicated account managers have served as excellent communicators on a day-to-day basis, and they genuinely offer advice that is in the interest of both companies.
When should we be expecting your GREE-enable games to be released?
Battle Bears Zero will be available on iOS and Android in late fall.
Battle Bears Royale has incorporated the GREE Platform as part of its latest update and should be hitting the App Store soon, packed with a ton of Halloween content.
You can find out more about GREEs indie program at greelovesindies.com