Interview

The Voodoo Approach: Orbital Knight publishing director Jan Chichlowski on the importance of testing

The Voodoo Approach: Orbital Knight publishing director Jan Chichlowski on the importance of testing

There's no doubting that hyper-casual publisher Voodoo's knowledge and expertise has played a big part in its success, but if it didn't have games to publish, it wouldn't have achieved such great heights.

Following on from our chat with the publisher on its approach to game development and publishing, we spoke to some of its partner studios to find out more about the development process and what Voodoo provides to the people it works with.

This time around, we spoke to Jan Chichlowski, publishing director at Orbital Knight, about working with Voodoo and creating successful games.

PocketGamer.biz: How did your company first get started?

Jan Chichlowski: Orbital Knight was established in 2012 and initially focused on the mobile midcore/hardcore title Star Horizon.

Voodoo has access to a vast base of knowledge and experience which helps developers to separate good ideas from bad ones.
Jan Chichlowski

What drew you to developing hyper-casual games?

Short development cycles are nice because you're constantly building something new, so work never gets stale. You're constantly on the edge, looking to deliver something unique.

How did your partnership with Voodoo first begin?

When we started, we chose to self-publish our games. It was working really well - until it wasn't. Around 2018 we agreed that we need to start working with a publisher that was proficient in UA and scaling aspects.

We also wanted to try working on hyper-casual games, since our biggest hit - Kickerinho - was basically a hyper-casual game before they were called hyper-casual. So we decided to work with Voodoo, since they're the clear leader in this field.

What support has Voodoo offered when it comes to developing your games?

Voodoo helps greatly when it comes to iteration of both design and development of the games. We had a wealth of calls focusing on design changes for our titles, and we always felt encouraged to try out new things.

How has Voodoo helped grow your business overall?

First of all they are an amazing publisher with a huge marketing machine behind them. This helps with transforming a great concept to a worldwide hit game. Secondly, Voodoo has access to a vast base of knowledge and experience which helps developers to separate good ideas from bad ones very quickly.

Most of us (developers) are not the target audience for hyper-casual games, and therefore we cannot trust our guts.
Jan Chichlowski

What do you think is the key to making a successful hyper-casual game?

Iterate, iterate, iterate. Test as much as possible with the lowest cost. I think the biggest challenge to developers is not to fall into the trap of spending too much time on one concept.

Stay objective - if you test something for the fifth time and the results are not good, this means the concept is not good and you should move on.

How important is testing to ensuring your game will be a success?

It is super important. Very often, we find that our intuition fails us when evaluating which concept is good or not.

We have to remember that most of us (developers) are not the target audience for hyper-casual games, and therefore we cannot trust our guts. That said, testing is everything, since it is THE most reliable method of understanding what's good or not.

What are your goals as a developer for the next 12 months?

Obviously, creating another hit game! All of our resources and processes are focused on that. We are constantly working on improving our methods of iterating and testing more concepts. This, after all, is the key to finding a true gem.


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