The newly founded Finnish games studio, Two Men and a Dog, has reached 1.5 million downloads for their debut title, Zombie Catchers, within the first week on iOS.
Two Men and a Dog was founded in 2013 by Matti Kallonen and Aleksi Räisänen, and while Aleksi came from a job at Rovio, Zombie Catchers is the first game that the two co-founders have made on their own.
“We were getting a little tired of advertising, and we have always wanted to make games of our own. This just seemed like the perfect opportunity and right timing to see how that goes.”, says Two Men and a Dog CEO, Matti Kallonen.
Reaching 1.5 million downloads in only one week is definitely not something that happens for everyone, but on the way to the top, Zombie Catchers was lucky enough to get featured by Apple in the “Best New Games” category, which boosted the downloads a lot.“The biggest exposure we got was getting featured in the Best New Games category by Apple. Very few games get featured, so we like to think originality and attention to detail paid off.”, Kallonen explains.
Talking about detail, Kallonen also mentions that the two-man studio had to try a lot of different ideas and change the direction several times before they found a concept they were happy with.
“We also spent a lot of time polishing the game to give it the look and feel we wanted.”
Downloads is one metric, but a useless one if the players don’t actually stick to the game. That does not seem to be the issue for Zombie Catchers, however, as the game has been very well received. In just a week, it has already received more than 12.000 ratings on the iOS AppStore with an average score of 4.76 out of 5.
Analyzing the reason for a game’s success more often than not turns into nothing more than a guessing game. However, Kallonen firmly believes that one of the primary influencers in terms of success will always be communication. “Communicating clearly that you’re building something that you’re also committed to supporting in the future is more impactful than just throwing a game out there.”
Additionally, Kallonen has 3 tips that he believes to be important to remember when starting the development of a new game:
- Try to spot ideas that don’t work as early as possible. If possibly, prototype many different game concepts simultaneously, before deciding which one to proceed with. You can save a lot of development time by doing that, instead of creating many concepts one after another.
- When you’re creating a progress system based on levels and content – well, you need a ton of levels and content. Peter Molyneux recently commented on how they planned Godus to have 6 weeks of playable content, but the players chew through it in 6 days. Some people will binge on your game, but not everyone is willing to grind on the gameplay forever either. Balancing the amount content is a lot of work and can take up a lot of time!
- Trust your instincts and intuition, and keep track on not only what you’re doing, but why you are doing it. When you’re iterating on a dozen things at the same time, you will lose sense of why something seemed like a good idea to begin with – unless you track your ideas. This makes it easier to prioritize and pull the plug on peripheral ideas, as well.
Contrary to most mobile developers these days, Two Men and a Dog did not build Zombie Catchers in the Unity engine. Instead, they used Cocos2D. As Kallonen explains, “Zombie Catchers started its life as a very different game a few years ago. It was a game prototype made with Cocos2D, and when we founded the company we decided to utilize some of the things from the prototype and build up from that.”.
And as a closing remark, “Nordics rule! We have a lot of good friends building very cool new stuff in Finland and elsewhere, and it should be another exciting year ahead!”, says Matti Kallonen.
We completely agree with Matti, and we cannot wait to see what the industry will come up with in 2015!