We had a lot of great things to say about MotoHeroz when it launched last week, which isn’t surprising, seeing as it comes from the same studio that made games as diverse and well-received as 1000 Heroz and the DrawRace series. We caught up with Pekka Kupiainen, the head of the mobile division at RedLynx Games, to see what they have in store for iOS gamers in the future.
STP: How did you personally get into making video games?
Pekka: Originally, like many others in the games industry, I was a huge gaming fan. I went to school and did my masters on the business and IT side, and ended up working as a producer for Nokia during the N-Gage times. Back then, RedLynx was huge on mobile, and I worked with them on some projects. After a few years, RedLynx asked if I wanted to work for them, and it was an offer I wasn’t able to refuse. So I joined RedLynx one year ago as a producer, and after a couple of projects, I’m now heading their mobile division, and still doing some production. We’re a small company, so we kind of have mixed roles.
How many employees does RedLynx have right now?
We have around 50 people working for the company.
What was the first iOS game you worked on for RedLynx?
The first one that was released was MotoHeroz. I have a couple of projects still cooking up, and I also participated on 1000 Heroz, but not in the role of producer.
1000 Heroz is a unique iOS game. It’s a side-scrolling platformer, and you promised to release a new level every day. Are you still doing that?
Yeah, of course. The game still has quite a solid player base, and it’s a unique experience. We’re not the kind of company that always makes safe bets all the time– we want to test out new things. With 1000 Heroz, we think it’s a great game, and we’d love to have more players.
Did you have anything to do with the DrawRace series?
I wasn’t working on that series from scratch, but we’re a small company and I sit next to the executive producer of DrawRace. We have talks daily about what to do with the game. Of course we’re doing updates all the time and keeping the game fresh. So I’m kind of a part of that.
MotoHeroz originally came out on Wii. What made you think it would work well on iPhone and iPad?
It kind of has a more casual feel than our most well-known physics-based games, Trials. It has solid gameplay and the controls are such that we thought it would fit perfectly on iOS. The game also has asynchronous multiplayer, which we saw would fit perfectly with iOS.
Trials is known for having a very high level of difficulty, but even though MotoHeroz is a similar kind of game, it has a more casual look to it. How did you find the right amount of difficulty for MotoHeroz?
We bounced it around quite a bit. To be honest, the game is quite challenging. We tried out different difficulty levels, and saw that the pleasure and feeling of achievement comes from when you’re beating the most opponents. For the next update, we’re going to make a small adjustment to make the game a little more approachable for first-timers. But we still want to have a really deep gaming experience which is easy to get into, but you can always do a little better and get a faster time.
Personally, I found it a lot more challenging than I was expecting. By world three, I had to go back and replay levels to get more stars to progress ahead.
That’s the ideology behind the game. We want the levels to be perfect, and for people to be able to play them many times over again. We didn’t want 100 levels that weren’t that polished– instead, we wanted 30 that were perfect. That’s why the learning curve is such that you need to go back, and we think it’s a good experience when you learn from the game.
What other updates are you thinking about or working on for MotoHeroz?
The main thing in the next update, which is coming in about two weeks, is that there will be more Friends Cups. We have this Friends League feature in the game that lets you race against your friends, so we’ll have support for three different Friends Leagues. Also, we’ll add a new track pack.
What are you working on next for iOS?
We have lots of things that we’re planning on, but nothing that I can share at the moment. But we have interesting plans, and of course we have several updates planned for MotoHeroz. We’ve seen from reviews that people are loving our game, and we’re going to support it.