A new mobile game called Retro Shot is coming to iOS and Android this fall. It’s a retro arcade game, fully equipped with neonlights, 80’s synthwave soundtrack and all.
In Helsinki, Finland, three former Rovio employees have gone on their own and started a company called Superplus Games. Joonas Mäkilä (CCO), Petteri Linnakangas (CTO) and Kalle Mäkinen (CEO) are the guys in charge of the new Superplus Games. While working together at Rovio, the three guys found out that they in fact, had a lot of things in common. More so when fun became serious, and talks of starting a company together became a real possibility.
“The three of us realized that we share many things: we have worked in Rovio, we have similar taste for games and entertainment in general, we are friends and we live almost next door to each other. Soon our casual hangout moments in a local cafeteria turned into serious discussions: should we find our own startup? The more time passed, the clearer was the answer: yes we should,” says CEO Kalle Mäkinen.
“In the end of the discussion we had to ask ourselves a question: what if Lazerhawk or Kavinsky made a game, how that’d look like? It’d look like Retro Shot,” CEO Kalle Mäkinen says.
It takes a lot for someone to leave the safety and comfort of an employer, and instead take their chances with the wilderness. It’s a fact that a lot of new startups usually have difficulties making their big breakthrough. In the case of Superplus Games, it would seem as though the guys are all familiar with the pros and cons. Considering their vast collective experience, and presumed know-how of the industry, it stands to reason to assume that the boys are gonna’ be alright.
“I think all creative people – including game developers – have a dream of building something on their own and our team is not an exception to this. The next step after that is the most important one: the step out of the comfort zone, out of the safety net of a big employer and then building all that out of your own. That task is never easy, but it’s a task that feels great when it’s accomplished. To summarize, I’d say: in life you can walk on bridges made by others, but if you don’t like the destination those bridges are taking you, it’s time to build your own bridge. The challenge there is to have the wisdom to realize which one to do and then have the courage to just do it,” Kalle Mäkinen states.
A trait that recurs between entrepreneurs and self-made success stories, is the tenacity and will to keep getting better, and keep improving for the sake of their passion. Any good idea needs improving and evolving in order to be a great game, and that is exactly what the guys at Superplus Games are doing.
“When you develop a game however, an idea for a game concept is never enough. And the same story goes to Retro Shot as well; the game has evolved quite a lot from what it was still this spring when we started developing it. Everyone in our team has put their own input into it and it gets better every day. When I said that having an idea is not enough, I really meant it. I’d even go as far as stating that a team with the ability to execute can make a better game with an average idea than a team with excellent idea but a lack to execute well. When the creation of Retro Shot started, we had the mechanics in our minds but not the theme. The theme was picked organically when one day we shared some of our favorite synthwave tracks to each other and realized how excited we all got from the genre,” Kalle Mäkinen adds.
“I’m totally aware how weird and almost unbelievable it might sound, but the truth behind Retro Shot is that one night I had a dream about the perfect mobile arcade game and when I woke up, I wrote down everything I remembered. After a few minutes I had a feature list for our debut title, Retro Shot,“ Kalle Mäkinen says.
Retro Shot will be a F2P title (Free to play), adding to the list of IP’s using that model of monetization. Discussions argue for both sides of the coin, and there is undoubtedly advantages and disadvantages with both F2P and Premium games. The only thing that really sets apart from one developer to another, is the use of the F2P model.
“While many gamers think and discuss that F2P is ruining the whole game industry, we think that it depends on how you do it. I think F2P games in general have three parameters that are relevant in this context: skill, luck and time. In most F2P titles you can progress by paying your way out of skill, luck and time. And the purchase decision correlates with time spent in the game: the more time the user has spent in the game, the social investment he or she makes, increases the value of the game. People who have been playing a game for years are the kind of people who will likely spend more money in it than newcomers. This being said, our take on F2P is still different: we don’t want our players be able to buy their victories, but they need to have skills to compete with other players. How do we monetize then? If you fail in the game, you lose a life. And if you lose all your lives, you can get more by watching an ad or by paying,“ says Kalle Mäkinen.
Kalle Mäkinen continues: “Going even further here: some F2P games include algorithms that prevent players to complete levels until they either pay, spam their friends or spend (grind) enough time in a level. Those games give impression to people that it’s player’s own fault that he/she failed the level even though it really isn’t. In Retro Shot, if the player fails a level, it’s about his/her own lack of skill, there is no master algorithm behind anything. We think it’s fair, we think that’s a proper game,” he says.
That’s the present and immediate future of Superplus Games – anything else is tomorrow’s puzzle. The guys take a simple approach to games development, they put together a game, change a few things and fine-tune others. The important thing for them, is that the final game lives up to their expectations and simultaneously surprise our imagination.
“A game company is only as good as it’s current game is. Therefore our main focus now is Retro Shot – we are putting all our energy and time into it trying to make it as entertaining as we can. What comes to future, we have lots of game concepts in our back pockets to choose from. Retro Shot is perfect fit for mobile and that’s the main reason why we are putting it out in App Store and Google Play. In future titles, we aren’t definitely counting out platforms like PC. In fact, we could easily see some of our games out on Steam for example. When Retro Shot sees the light of the day in mobile markets, we’ll have more time to focus on building our company. This means looking for investment partners, recruiting more talents into our family and defining the future steps for our path,” concludes Kalle Mäkinen.