Danish Hugo Games launched their latest game, Axe in Face 2, globally on February 23rd 2016. The game has been developed by Danish games studio Funday Factory, but the road to developing a sequel to the original 2010 Axe in Face iOS game has been filled with challenges and tough decisions along the way.
“In 2010, I developed Axe In Face as a fun small project on the side while I was studying at university. I worked on the game for approximately 10 months on/off, and with all the competition on the App Store, I would’ve been happy with a few downloads.”, CTO at Funday Factory, Glen Würtz Christiansen, starts out as he looks back at the mobile games scene in 2010.
Luckily for Glen, things went slightly better than just a few downloads.
“After quietly launching the game, it got picked up by Apple who listed it as the Featured App in several major countries”, Glen adds with a smile on his face.
But simply getting the downloads is only step one. Next, you have to figure out if you even know what to do with them. And you have to act quick if you want your game to survive, as Glen soon experienced the hard way.
“Suddenly, not only was I dealing with app development, updates and content, but also with press, player statistics, and metrics”, he says, and continues:
“back then, the whole GaaS concept wasn’t really a thing to the degree that it is today, so after the initial explosive climb in downloads, the attention around the game slowly grinded to a halt.”
Long story short, Axe in Face was shelved, and shortly after Glen joined Funday Factory as their CTO.
Deep at the back of Glen’s head, however, the desire to bring back Red Beard never disappeared, and after working out a partnership with Hugo Games, development of the sequel could finally begin in early 2015.
But how do you bring a 2010-esque game into the mobile space anno 2016?
For Funday Factory, the answers was to pay homage to the simplicity and aesthetics of the original game, while making an even more customisable main character with real personalities. And, of course, things had to be juiced up with plenty of particles effects, screenshakes and improved animations as well.
Especially the animations were something Funday Factory knew they had to get right, so they spent a substantial amount of time coming up with the best way to go about the new animations.
“In the animation process of Axe in Face, we used Spine. Spine allowed us to animate with bones while maintaining our 2D style. By streamlining our animation workflow, we were able to rig characters that could be used with a range of expressions, interchangeable weapons and outfits.”, Funday Factory Sales and Marketing Manager, Tine Torp Knudsen says to NordicGameBits.
Axe in Face 2 soft-launched in Denmark, as it allowed Funday Factory to reach out to local press and get initial feedback from a small group of players before trying to attack the international markets.
“The soft launch helped shape marketing assets, identify critical bugfixes and make visual tweaks”, Tine Torp Knudsen explains.
But now the game is finally ready to sail the international waters, and Funday Factory is confident in what Axe in Face 2 can possibly achieve.
“We’ve looked forward to the international launch for a long time, and after experiencing the great reception of Axe in Face 2 in Denmark, we cannot wait for the world to enjoy the revival of Red Beard’s viking slaughter and aggressive gardening.”, Tine Torp Knudsen concludes.
Axe in Face 2 has developed by Funday Factory and produced and published by Hugo Games A/S.