Interview

Why Ludia CEO Alex Thabet believes Disney Wonderful Worlds is different from other match-three puzzlers

Why Ludia CEO Alex Thabet believes Disney Wonderful Worlds is different from other match-three puzzlers

Since being founded in 2008, Ludia has gone on to create numerous games based on big brandsFrom the likes of Dungeons and Dragons to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Jurassic World, the studio has experimented with some of the most recognisable IP in entertainment, to varying degrees of success.

Jurassic World Alive arrived at a time when many questioned the sustainability of location-based games, with Pokemon GO being the only outlier. However, the game managed to carve out its own piece of the pie and grossed a respectable $40 million within its first nine months. Now the developer and publisher has returned to world of puzzlers by partnering with The Walt Disney Company on Disney Wonderful Worlds.

Based upon a new "Wish Upon A Star" storyline, Wonderful Worlds is a match-three puzzle game with building mechanics where players can create their own theme parks, featuring familiar faces such as Mickey, Minnie. Aladdin, Captain Jack Sparrow, and more. It's something that no doubt the Canadian studio will be looking to utilise heavily as it attempts to make the game a success.

Undeniably though, in the mobile games industry, match-three games are a dime a dozen. So, to find out more, we caught up with Ludia CEO and president Alex Thabet about the partnership and why he believes Disney Wonderful Worlds stands out from the crowd.

PocketGamer.biz: Can you start off by telling us about Disney Wonderful Worlds?

Alex Thabet: If you could make a wish and have unlimited magic at your fingertips, how would you build your own park? Disney Wonderful Worlds will give players that opportunity, letting them build and personalise their very own Disney theme park. As a match-three builder, players will need to complete challenging puzzles to unlock new attractions to build and decorate their own Disney park.

How did the partnership come about with Disney?

Ludia has had great opportunities, working with all the major brands and production studios, but we'd never had the chance to work with Disney until now. We knew we had to put our resources together and team up! We were particularly interested in Disney theme parks, and after months of creative brainstorms came up with a concept that got all parties excited.

Players will be able to earn classic Disney Parks attractions and relive iconic Disney Parks moments in Disney Wonderful Worlds

What makes Disney Wonderful Worlds different from the hundreds of match-three games already available on mobile?

Ludia worked closely with Disney in order to bring players a one-of-a-kind gaming experience. While the match-three experience in Wonderful Worlds provides rich, fun challenges comparable with some of the best in kind on mobile, our goal with Wonderful Worlds is to deliver a magical and immersive experience similar to what you would have while visiting theme parks.

Players will be able to unlock and customise countless lands inspired from real Disney park locations. The player's park will come to life every day through live events, such as the Main Street Parade or Evening Fireworks Show, and fulfil the dreams of an ever-growing number of guests each with their own personality.

Our dream is for this game to become THE virtual Disney Park that anyone in the world can carry with them
Alex Thabet

With that, there are also several Disney match-three games available on mobile, such as Disney Frozen Adventures, Disney Princess Majestic Quest, Disney Emoji Blitz, etcetera. What stands this game apart from these?

Wonderful World's core promise is building your very own Disney park. With no real-life limitations, your imagination is the limit when it comes to designing and personalising. To deliver on the exciting memories that many have lived in Disney Parks, we invested significant resources in delivering a wide range of lands, attractions, and characters while paying close attention to details.

Something will always be happening in-game, and we believe we'll be able to offer one of the richest, most in-depth event-based game around.

What has been the biggest challenge with development (if any) with regards to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic?

I think we can all agree the Covid-19 pandemic threw us for a loop. In less than a week's time, we went from working together in our studio to delivering nearly 400 remote workstations. But with passion and determination to see our project through, our dedicated team powered forward.

By being able to pivot and adapt to our 'new' normal quickly, and despite our interactions becoming virtual, we’ve been able to continue our development with little interruption.

Who will be the target audience for Disney Wonderful Worlds?

Wonderful Worlds offers something for everyone. Whether you're new and discovering it for the first time or simply indulging in the nostalgia, we believe this game offers entertainment to all interests.

This said, our priority was to make sure we did not disappoint Disney fans by paying close attention to details and providing a theme park experience where players can get up-close and personal with every guest, attraction, and character in the park.

What expectations do you have for the game? What would you be looking for a year on to call the game a success?

Our dream is for this game to become THE virtual Disney Park that anyone in the world can carry with them wherever they go and visit whenever they want with something new, magical and exciting to discover, every single time.

Disney Wonderful Worlds is now open for pre-registration and will launch on iOS and Android devices in early 2021.

Staff Writer

Matthew Forde is the staff writer for PocketGamer.biz and also a member of the Pocket Gamer Podcast. You can find him on Twitter @Forde999 talking about Smash Bros. and everything pop culture related - particularly superheroes.

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