Interview

Why after 10 years of Jetpack Joyride, now is the right time for a sequel

"Creating this sequel was almost a moral obligation..."

Why after 10 years of Jetpack Joyride, now is the right time for a sequel

It is often said that nothing is truly finished and it's a saying the games industry has taken to heart in recent times.

Long gone are the days of developing and publishing a game without the need to tweak, adjust and patch it after launch, with new titles requiring constant operation and updates to keep them at the forefront of consumer thought.

Here at PocketGamer.biz, we want to take the opportunity to highlight games that have bucked the trend and found an audience that has kept them thriving long after launch.

That leads us to our semi-regular Live and Kicking series, where this week we spoke to Halfbrick Studios product manager Jason Maundrell, ahead of Jetpack Joyride's 10th anniversary as well as what the long-anticipated sequel looks to have in-store.

PocketGamer.biz: With Jetpack Joyride on the cusp of turning 10-year olds, how do you reflect on its performance as a series – from launch to the title it is now?

Jason Maundrell: Jetpack Joyride has been a highly successful game for Halfbrick and continues to be a top-performing title even after 10 years on the market.

How big is the team currently handling live ops?

The team is currently made up of eight people.

Due to the pandemic, Halfbrick Studios had to change...
Jason Maundrell

How important do you consider customer support and updates to be? What has been your approach to this?

We believe customer support to be highly valuable to Halfbrick, we’ve got a full-time person on customer support for Jetpack Joyride. We’ve also been working very closely to help improve our support for our fans.

What steps have you taken to ensure that Jetpack Joyride maintains a sizeable and active player base all this time after its launch?

We want to make sure we continue to provide new and exciting content for our fans, so we’ve been expanding the Jetpack Universe with other studios such as; SNK Metal Slug, Sony Pictures Ghost Busters, Back to the Future, Star Trek, and more to come!

To what do you attribute Jetpack Joyride's consistently impressive grossing performance, and how do you sustain it?

We believe it's due to always having events and exciting new content for our fans to engage with.

Can you tell us how you have approached the game under the current pandemic? Any changes you have put in place?

Due to the pandemic, Halfbrick Studios had to change as we were no longer able to work in an office space. The studio has now gone full remotely, which has enabled us to employ the best people from around the world. The Jetpack team is now made up of people from all over, including Spain, Russia, Sweden and Australia.

Jetpack Joyride originally launched on September 1st, 2011 on iOS. It was then made available on Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. Image credit: Halfbrick Studios

What would you consider Jetpack Joyride's biggest achievement in the decade since launch?

The fact that the game is still incredibly popular after 10 years

Any KPIs such as downloads, DAU or retention you’re willing to share?

Jetpack has had over 500 million downloads and still has a really strong daily active users

A sequel to Jetpack Joyride is now in the works, what can you tell us about this?

Jetpack Joyride was - and it is today - a great success that has marked a whole generation of players. Since Barry grabbed the jetpack and started flying through the halls of Legitimate Research almost 10 years ago, we've always gotten the same question from fans: "When will the sequel come out?".

Let's just say that creating this sequel was almost a moral obligation to satisfy so many millions of players.
Jason Maundrell

Let's just say that creating this sequel was almost a moral obligation to satisfy so many millions of players. But this sequel could not be just a remake of the original game. It needed a new twist to bring something new that players had not experienced before. When we started the brainstorming phase, everyone on the team agreed that it was necessary to integrate a new main game mechanic. And what characterises Barry beside his Jetpack? The answer was clear: Weapons!

Barry is familiar with handling weapons. We have seen him in Monster Dash and Age of Zombies using shotguns, machine guns and many more. So the premise was clear: Barry will fly with his jetpack and shoot with a variety of weapons.

What did you learn from the original that you are hoping to improve upon in the new game?

Players have been asking more and more about Barry and the Jetpack Joyride universe. So this sequel will also explore Barry's universe and delve into old and new characters. The narrative part will now be much more important. Barry will discover that Legitimate Research is just the beginning of it all and that there are more labs and villains for him to contend with.

The vehicles will now be much more impressive. Some of them will even make us leave the lab! The player will discover completely new vehicles and some of the most iconic of the first instalment will be rescued and modernised. We are confident that this new instalment will satisfy both old and new players.

When is Jetpack Joyride 2: Bullet Rush expected to launch? Will it launch globally and on what platforms?

Like the first game, Jetpack Joyride 2 will be released on both Android and iOS. Regarding the global release date: I'm afraid it's still too early to give you a concrete answer. I can tell you that the team is working very hard every day to bring the game that all fans want as soon as possible. But it would be great if it coincided with Jetpack Joyride's 10th anniversary, don't you think?

Do you think the sequel will arrive on other platforms, such as a Switch?

It’s always possible, we never restrict our games to platforms, but we will only release games on a platform that would make sense for our players.

Anything else you can tell us about future projects?

We currently have multiple teams working on new game ideas – however, they are too early to share, due to them potentially being cancelled. But in saying that, we are also looking at exploring an Age of Zombies sequel.

Jetpack Joyride 2: Bullet Rush is now in soft launch across various countries. Head on over to our soft launch list to find out more. 

Deputy Editor

Matthew Forde is the deputy editor at PocketGamer.biz and also a member of the Pocket Gamer Podcast. You can find him on Twitter @MattForde64 talking about stats, data and everything pop culture related - particularly superheroes.

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梨 雪 职员 at 甘素有限公司
Pelosi, Democrats call on Biden to extend eviction ban

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic leaders called on the Biden administration to immediately extend the nation’s eviction moratorium, calling it a “moral imperative” to prevent Americans from being put out of their homes during a COVID-19 surge.
An estimated 3.6 million Americans are at risk of eviction, some as soon as Monday.
Congress was unable to pass legislation swiftly to extend the ban, which expired at midnight Saturday, and the Democratic leaders said in a statement that it was now up to President Joe Biden’s administration to act. They called on the administration to extend the moratorium through Oct. 18.
“Action is needed, and it must come from the Administration,” Pelosi said Sunday night in the statement signed by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Whip James E. Clyburn and Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark. “Science and reason demand that they must also extend the moratorium in light of the delta variant. Doing so is a moral imperative.”
The White House, which has urged localities and states to tap aid already approved by Congress, had no direct response to the Democrats’ call for action.
Some Democratic lawmakers said they were caught by surprise last Thursday when Biden announced that he would not extend the moratorium again in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that suggested congressional action was necessary for another extension. Lawmakers were left with only days to act before the ban expired, creating frustration and anger and exposing a rare rift with the administration.
On Sunday, hours after the expiration, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said that Democrats had to “call a spade a spade” and pointed to her own party.
“We cannot in good faith blame the Republican Party when House Democrats have a majority,” the progressive congresswoman said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats joined Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., who camped outside the Capitol over the weekend in protest.
On Saturday, with no legislative action pending, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., the chair of the Financial Services Committee, told CNN, “We thought that the White House was in charge.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put the ban in place as part of the COVID-19 response when jobs shifted and many workers lost income. The ban was intended to hold back the spread of the virus among people put out on the streets and into shelters.
Another source of frustration for lawmakers is the slow pace of pandemic relief already approved by Congress — nearly $47 billion in federal housing aid to the states — getting to renters and landlords owed payments. Biden has called on local governments to “take all possible steps” to disburse the funds immediately.
“There can be no excuse for any state or locality not accelerating funds to landlords and tenants that have been hurt during this pandemic,” Biden said in a statement Friday.
Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council, appeared on “Fox News Sunday” to echo that sentiment. “No landlord should evict without seeking that rental assistance, and states and localities need to get that money out urgently, and they can do that,” Deese said.
Landlords also have argued for speeding up the distribution of rental assistance and opposed another extension of the moratorium.
As the deadline approached Saturday night, Pelosi urged House Democrats to check into how the money already allocated had been distributed so far in their own states and localities. She said the Treasury Department, which transferred the funds earlier in the year, offered to brief lawmakers during the coming week.
When the Supreme Court voted 5-4 in late June to allow the broad eviction ban to continue through the end of July, one of those in the majority, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, made clear he would block any additional extensions unless there was “clear and specific congressional authorization.”
The White House has maintained that Biden wanted to extend the moratorium but that concerns remained over challenging the court. Doing so could lead to a ruling restricting the administration’s ability to respond to future public health crises.
While racing to respond to Biden’s announcement Thursday that congressional action was needed, Democrats strained to draft a bill and rally the votes. Waters produced a draft of a bill that would require the CDC to continue the ban through Dec. 31. At a hastily arranged hearing Friday morning to consider the bill, she urged her colleagues to act.
In the end, Democratic lawmakers had questions and concerns and could not muster support to extend the ban.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, the top Republican on another panel handling the issue, said the Democrats’ bill was rushed and that “this is not the way to legislate.”