Nintendo has recently launched a fully localized Japanese version of Finnish Frozenbyte’s game Trine 2. Marketing Manager at Frozenbyte, Kai Tuovinen, explains how the success of the Trine series helped propel their name across the Japanese border.
Back in 2001, in Helsinki, Finland, a small group of people got together and founded Frozenbyte. The drive of the team was their passion and their drive to create the very best games possible. That could explain why all Frozenbyte games are self-funded and based on self-owned IPs, securing that the studio has a say in more than the game production itself.
Frozenbyte’s original IP titles include Jack Claw, Shadowgrounds, Splot, the Trine 1 and 2, Trine 2: Complete Story, – Directors Cut, – Goblin Menace, Trine 3, and Trine Enchanted Edition. And their crew behind the most popular series, Trine, have developed games for a wide range of platforms such as Xbox, PS3 and 4, Mac, PC, android and iOS.
Even though the company has existed since 2001, since 2012, a lot has changed for Frozenbyte. Their Trine 2 launch allowed them to expand and grow, going from 35 to 65 people. The Trine series has now sold around 8 million copies in total, including bundles etc., and it’s still growing more popular.
And then, after gaining steady popularity, Nintendo took the initiative and contacted the Finnish team, for a meeting.
“Nintendo initially reached out to us about bringing Trine 2 to the Wii U, which we were of course very excited about. Since then, the communication and support from them has been exceptional, and we’ve had a similar mindset for doing things. So it’s been a great working relationship.”, says Kai Tuovinen.
For the Japanese version of Trine 2, the game only had to go through minor changes, showing that our cultural barriers are slightly dissipating. Japanese and Finnish game cultures are different, each have their own styles and standards, yet some games just breaks through. Fingersoft, also from Finland, broke through in China, so Finland must be doing something right to gain steady popularity in Asia.
“We don’t have as much of a grasp of the Japanese market as we do of Europe, and it’s honestly very difficult to say. We had Trine 2 completely localized into Japanese, including voiceovers, but we didn’t specifically alter anything about our game (gameplay-wise) for Japan.”, Kai Tuovinen explains.
“Our biggest markets will remain in the US and Europe, and our main focus will continue to be here. The Finnish market is still fairly small, but we hope to build that up as well.” – says Kai Tuovinen.
One of the things that made the Trine series popular, according to Frozenbyte, is the 3D aspects of it. Thanks to stereoscopic 3D support, they gained a significant increase in depth, and consequently better immersion for the player.
The story is the backbone of any form of entertainment, and the story must drive the plot forward in order to create a compelling story to invest in, as a viewer or a gamer. The mechanics and visuals of the game may be great, but considering how sequels can leave out new players that haven’t played the previous installments, Trine 3 seems to want to avoid that trap.
“You can play Trine 3 without knowing the other two Trine games, they’re not strictly connected story-wise. However, Trine 3 tries to explain some of the history of the Trine world so you’ll get to learn things about the past. If you’ve played Trine or Trine 2, you might be able to spot some references or puns related to the previous installments though :)”, Kai Tuovinen says.
“We’ve got some crazy new things lined up for next year. Their reception will decide our fate!” – concludes Kai Tuovinen.