“Itâ€™s an ongoing process and itâ€™s a bit like panning for gold. Somewhere out there is another hit and we need to find it and thatâ€™s our mission.”
GGUK had the opportunity to catch up with and interview Chillingo’s co-general managers Joe Wee and Chris Byatte on the London leg of their world tour, to get the lowdown on their latest games and their new found marriage with EA. We also learn about the new survival app by Bear Grylls and what it means to be part of the Chillingo team.
You work with a lot of very talented and successful developers. But, as a publisher that has a growing reputation for being able to spot “the next big thing”, can you tell which games will be a phenomenal success? Or is it all luck?
We have a history of picking the winners and it doesnâ€™t just happen overnight. Either the game comes to us or we go look for the game. Then there is the whole life circle of polishing, feedback and game production that we supply. We have our own small set of producers to polish off the game. There are other factors to consider such as promotional aspect for the PR team and the Apple relationship. We have â€˜Crystalâ€™ which is a social gaming network which has millions of players. All of this adds to the mix and weâ€™ll always on the lookout for more content like this. Itâ€™s an ongoing process and itâ€™s a bit like panning for gold. Somewhere out there is another hit and we need to find it and thatâ€™s our mission.)
Can you tell us what benefits Chillingo will be able to take away from being part of the EA Mobile family?
The short answer to that, itâ€™s been a really good fit for us, this acquisition. Chillingo brings with it the expertise in identifying and cultivating these great ideas to help us reach across the world and turning them into initiative and successful games for the app store. You marry this with EAâ€™s publishing power and reach, and basically this is quite a formidable combination which adds value to the developers we work with. Both parties sharing the same commitment for delivering great games for a broad audience.
And what about the consumer, will they get any benefits?
The consumer will be basically playing better and fun games, hopefully on more platforms in the future.
Will we be seeing Chillingo releasing any games based around existing EA franchises? Or will there be no crossover in that respect?
We are only two months into our acquisition and we are still discovering each other and understanding where its energy is.
Will we perhaps be seeing some of the biggest Chillingo hits coming to home consoles?
As with Angry Birds we are about to launch the Sony mini version. Itâ€™s all about digital distribution for us and this is definitely one of the benefits of the EA marriage. We now have access to all the vast resources from EA, so we can easily bring more iphone and IOS successes to other platforms.
Congratulations on winning Best Games Company at the Mobile Entertainment Awards last month. Were you surprised to win?
(Lots of laughter)…No, not really. Itâ€™s good to get recognition. Itâ€™s been a fantastic couple of years. Itâ€™s a really exciting job and we do what we like doing and we donâ€™t think about the awards, so to speak. If they come about then we do and thatâ€™s great. We just want to make good games, make people happy. We continue to work with really creative companies out there and the buzz you get from the creativity and ingenuity, the passion for making great games. Itâ€™s addictive just thinking that people are sitting on the train playing games such as Cut the Rope.)
A Bear Grylls Survival App – Is it something that the average commuter will be able to make use of?
Itâ€™s been designed to basically reach out to the mass and the mass appeal. Itâ€™s actually a lifestyle app in which we have intergrated a lot of Bear Grylls content, such as mini games. Weâ€™ve integrated it into crystal for achievements. You can receive rewards for tasks, such as learning how to tie a knot. You learn how to survive in the wild.
Can we also look forward to Ray Mears offering some competition?
Hysterical laughterâ€¦A competitive one?. Well, we need to have a chat with the Bear this yearâ€¦(laughs a lot)
With a couple of exceptions, the vast majority of Chillingo apps are games. Will we be seeing a lot more utility or productivity apps now?
We really need to get excited about that. We are approached by a lot of property holders to make games for them. We need to think â€˜Wowâ€™, we really need to like that brand or to like their franchise. Weâ€™ve teamed up with Bear Grylls and with Fox to make ice-age and predators.)
I know that you can’t give any details, but do you have your eye on a game in development that is going to take the world by storm?
We do have some games coming next year which we think will be the next big thing, unfortunately we canâ€™t disclose that right now. We have quite a few in our holiday line-up for Christmas.
Bear Grylls in a field
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Joe, Chris and Carmen from Chillingo for their time.