Subway Surfers is a massively successful mobile IP that has amassed millions of fans and created a solid position in the mobile market. Adding to the list of accomplishments, Subway Surfers Tag was recently awarded Game of the Year at our recent Mobile Game Awards.
And now the franchise continues to grow with a new instalment, Subway Surfers Blast. This latest addition was created in a collaborative effort between Sybo and Outplay Entertainment. We spoke with the CEO's of both companies to find out how the partnership came about and how the development worked.
Pocketgamer.biz: First of all congrats! We named Subway Surfers Tag as one of our winners at the Mobile Games Awards. How did the Sybo team feel about the win?
Mathias Gredal Nørvig: We were so proud to add to Tag’s growing list of achievements, including winning the Best Apple Arcade Game at the 2022 Pocket Gamer Awards in December! As always, we’re so thankful for the continued support of our fanbase, especially as we continue to break into these new endeavours and gameplay experiences outside of our flagship Subway Surfers game. It was an honour to share the award alongside a game as renowned as Second Dinner’s Marvel Snap!
Where did the idea for the latest instalment Subway Surfers Blast come from?
Mathias Gredal Nørvig: We’ve consistently seen our fanbase enjoy engaging with the Subway Surfers universe outside of the flagship game, whether it be through our animated series, TikTok account, or on Apple Arcade with Subway Surfers Tag. Subway Surfers Blast was another way to provide players with access to our IP in a whole new way, but also holds true to our beloved pick up and play gameplay.
Douglas Hare: We’d been discussing the possibility of working together for a few years, and when the opportunity to work on a “Blast” game based on the Subway Surfers franchise came up, everything just fell into place. Needless to say, we saw great potential in the combination of Subway Surfers’ vibrant characters, environments and lore, and the high quality match games we’ve built our reputation on.
How long did development take?
Mathias Gredal Nørvig: Our partners at Outplay have released countless successful titles in the puzzle space, so their approach to development is very mature. It took less than 15 months from paper to global release including soft launch.
Douglas Hare: Since development began, with a big leg-up from Outplay’s pre-existing expertise and game systems, we invested much of the Subway Surfers Blast development effort in ensuring that this compelling IP permeates every aspect of the game experience. The unique character powers add a new tactical dimension, often enabling players to snatch a satisfying victory from the jaws of defeat. Outside of the core puzzle game, the diverse range of crew hangouts look great from the outset and, with every new scene addition earned, are filled to bursting with interest, activity, and even a few easter eggs.
Subway Surfers Blast was developed collaboratively. How exactly did the development process work between both teams?
Mathias Gredal Nørvig: We believe in working with partners where the relationship synergises to a 1+1 = 3. We both brought different skills to the table, and they complemented each other well. A large part of the foundation of our partnership was that we’d play to our strengths and clarify our work styles beforehand. These agreements were pivotal in setting the tone for collaboration, camaraderie, and creative discussions.
Douglas Hare: Setting up communication and decision-making channels in a combined Outplay/Sybo team was straightforward. The team, made up of skilled experts, fostered mutual trust and respect, leaving egos aside to focus on a common goal.
Outplay has thrived with a hybrid work model for three years, with key personnel spread across the UK and many other countries, overcoming traditional location-related challenges that could complicate a remote endeavour. Over the past year, Sybo and Outplay have built a productive and enjoyable partnership.
What were some of the challenges the team had to overcome in development?
Mathias Gredal Nørvig: It’s always a challenge keeping the close-knit, personal feeling when two companies are working together on one title. Both our teams did an amazing job of openly addressing any issues and focusing on the strength of our relationship to overcome any hurdles during development. We really felt like one cohesive team from beginning to end.
Douglas Hare: Blast is a very rich game, featuring a huge number of new assets that build up and out from the core Subway Surfers title. It was initially challenging to strike the right balance between forging a unique product identity, while remaining faithful to the iconic characters and their personalities. Thankfully, Sybo's creative leadership has an exceptionally clear vision of what truly defines its IP, and the talented Outplay artists and animators were able to rapidly iterate to nail that sweet spot. No game development runs smoothly all the time but, with regular and open communication, we quickly identified and addressed any issues to double-down on all the good stuff.
How do you feel about the launch so far?
Mathias Gredal Nørvig: It’s still early days post-launch, but we have received really positive feedback from our players so far! In soft launch, players rated the game an average of 4.7 stars+ on both platforms. We’re thrilled that players are excited to explore our Subway Universe further and we’re eager for the global launch of Subway Surfers Blast.
Douglas Hare: We launched the game less than a month ago so we’re very much at the start of the journey, but it’s been great to see key metrics trending to exceed our hopes and expectations, and to receive such positive feedback from the players. The team did an amazing job to get to this point, but they’ve really only just started.
What can you tell us about your plans in terms of updates for the game?
Mathias Gredal Nørvig: We’re looking forward to supporting and serving our players with a steady stream of content releases along with some exciting LiveOps. Stay tuned!
Douglas Hare: We have lots of exciting improvements and additions planned, but we’re first going to finish listening to the players through this global launch phase before we lock that plan, and start teasing major releases through the second half of this year.
Any plans for future mobile projects you can discuss or plans for 2023?
Mathias Gredal Nørvig: While we can’t give away too many specifics right now, we have several more exciting plans for expanding the Subway Surfers universe even further.
Douglas Hare: Outplay has multiple new titles in various stages of development that aren’t quite ready for announcement. Of course, the possibility of further collaborations is something that Outplay and Sybo are open to.