"Merge Mansion is a very young game. We still have big plans and many surprising twists in store"

Metacore’s CBO Tapio Tuomola on four years of success for Merge Mansion and what's coming next…

"Merge Mansion is a very young game. We still have big plans and many surprising twists in store"

Last month, Metacore’s puzzler Merge Mansion went green with its latest seasonal event, Recycle Runaway, which aimed to celebrate Earth Day and raise player awareness of environmental issues.

Now, to follow up after the event, we caught up with Metacore’s chief growth officer, Tapio Tuomola, to reflect on the game's journey since its release in 2020, the importance of events and how they play a part in the game's long-term success. What can you tell us about your role with Metacore? What is the usual day-to-day for you regarding your responsibilities?

Tapio Tuomola: As chief business officer, my role is centred on driving the success and growth of our business through effective collaboration, data-driven decision-making, and strategic planning. I lead a diverse team of professionals comprising live ops, product managers, economy designers, data analysts, ad monetisation specialists, and specialists focused on enhancing player experience and research.

My daily routine involves deeply engaging in live operations, supporting development, and guiding our roadmap planning. We closely monitor Merge Mansion's performance and market success, analysing player behaviour to inform our decisions. Working closely with development teams, we adapt to player engagement and monetisation trends, ensuring our efforts align with the business objectives outlined in our roadmap.

Each day presents new challenges and opportunities, but our overarching goal remains consistent: to create world-class entertainment for our players while driving sustainable business growth.

Merge Mansion is a very young game, and we still have big plans and many surprising twists in store for our players.
Tapio Tuomola

And how do you reflect on where Merge Mansion is now, almost four years after launch?

Since we launched the game in 2020, it’s been an eventful four years for Merge Mansion, which has since grown into one of the biggest contenders in the merge category. I think what we’re constantly still surprised by and grateful for is the strength of the community and how Maddie and Grandma’s story universally speaks to very different audiences across markets like the USA and Japan, which are the game’s biggest markets.

At the same time, Merge Mansion is a very young game, and we still have big plans and many surprising twists in store for our players. While we’ve already had major campaigns feeding the lore and bringing the story to new dimensions, we’re constantly looking for new ways to entertain our players. In many ways, we are only getting started with the game. Currently, we’re exploring new avenues for global growth with a special focus on strengthening the player experience for our most engaged players with the help of the game’s newly announced general manager, David Telenius. Overall, we’re always looking for ways to build an even stronger phenomenon around the game and its story.

What do you think has been the key to the game's long-term success? How do you gauge what your audience wants so you can then implement that into Merge Mansion?

I think the game’s success speaks to the strengths of our game development process, which is very player-focused. We’re constantly looking for new and better data on who our players are and their motivations to play. With Merge Mansion, our guiding thought could be summarised as: What would entertain and surprise our players next? What’s more, we seek inspiration not only from other games but also from the wider entertainment industry and pop culture phenomena and have found this to resonate strongly with our players.

Last year, Metacore expanded with a new office in Berlin. How has that been going? Are there any possibilities of expanding even more?

We expanded to Berlin last year to strengthen our talent acquisition after hearing great things about the local gaming industry. We’ve been in Berlin for six months now and have been happy to see that the rumours were true – so it’s safe to say we’ve been impressed with the Berlin game ecosystem and the talent that’s crossed our paths.

Our Berlin office is a direct extension of our Helsinki HQ, so it’s not a separate studio. It currently houses several members of our Merge Mansion team and our CTO, Sérgio Laranjeira. While we haven’t made any decisions on potential future locations, we’re evaluating new markets and assessing the potential for opening another office location.

We recently covered Merge Mansion’s latest seasonal event, Recycle Runaway, which is tied into Earth Day as you joined Green Game Jam 2024. How important do you think it is to be a part of spreading a wider message through games?

Seasonal themes and content are important for us to keep Merge Mansion’s audience engaged and entertained. Whenever there’s a chance to, in the process, spark our players to take positive action in and outside the game, we welcome those opportunities.

Games – and especially mobile games – have huge reach and potential to speak to different audiences. We wanted to join Green Game Jam so that we could tap into that potential and use it as a force for positive change, raising awareness of environmental issues while keeping our players entertained.

And what about the future of Merge and Metacore? Is there anything we should be on the lookout for?

We’re always looking to entertain our audiences with everything that we do, so you can definitely expect more surprises and plot twists down the line! This year, we’re focusing on further developing the Merge Mansion story and universe, but we’re also working on discovering our next global live game.

This article is part of our Road to Helsinki series, where we put the spotlight on the Finnish and Nordic games industries ahead of Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki on October 1st and 2nd.

Deputy Editor

Paige is the Deputy Editor on who, in the past, has worked in games journalism covering new releases, reviews and news. Coming from a multimedia background, she has dabbled in video editing, photography, graphic and web design! If she's not writing about the games industry, she can probably be found working through her ever-growing game backlog or buried in a good book.