It’s been a long time since we last covered Finnish games developer Star Arcade, March 2011 to be precise, so we caught up with the 26 person team hiding out in Jyväskylä to find out what they’re up to these days.
Turns out we caught Star Arcade during a particularly busy period as they are deep in the final development stages of their next game, Jelly Wars 2. We were curious to learn more, but first we wanted to know what’s been the story of their last three years.
“When we started we tried to do as many titles as possible, as many platforms as possible and as fast as possible. Additionally all of these games were also developed with multiplayer synchronous technology. At the same time industry leaders showed that you can make huge success with just one or two titles on one platform. That made us re-think our strategy.” said Jonne Castren, Star Arcade COO.
It appears that they had quite a skattershot approach to games development, the old ‘throw everything at the wall and see what sticks’ plan. However as can be seen from their website, they have narrowed their work down to a small handful of games. Jonne pointed out to us that multiplatform gameplay is still very much a core trademark of all their games. While they now only releasing one game at a time, because of the built-in multiplatform nature of their games, they can still reach a wide audience.
“Star Arcade has focused on building an internal SDK which allowed us to develop and publish new game titles in a very fast and efficient to multiple platforms without compromising the unique features of these platforms. Additionally we do consider ourselves as a gaming studio but we could also always consider offering our SDK to other game developers as well once we have a few successful titles in the market.”
Their current games include King of Words, which pairs two gamers up and challenges them to make as many words as they can from 90 letters in three minutes, and Diamonds Paradise, a connect three type game that again has a two player competitive element at its core. Both of these, and their upcoming Jelly Wars 2, emphasise competitive gameplay. In fact Jelly Wars 2 is taking things to the next level.
Instead of only two gamers competing against each other, Jelly Wars 2 introduces 8 player action. Looking at the gameplay videos on the game’s development blog gave me a very strong Worms vibe. A 2D landscape, multiple players, weapons, destructible terrain, it’s all there.
We’re also told that on release it will be available on pretty much every platform going, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Amazon and even Facebook. Plus there will also be PC app store versions for both Mac and Windows. Remember that cross platform play I mentioned earlier as well? I’m assured that you could jump into a game on your iPhone and be playing against people on Android, Facebook… you name it, if the game is on that platform, you could be connected to someone on it.
It’s an ambitious plan, and we’ll probably cover the game in more detail once it’s released. Until then you can grab their current games on most mobile platforms and follow the Jelly Wars 2 development blog to see how the game has progressed.