In an exclusive interview with The Fly over email, Kai Tuovinen, Marketing Manager at Finnish independent game developer Frozenbyte, discussed the company's upcoming game "Trine 4," Google (GOOG) Stadia, Apple (AAPL) Arcade, and more.
'TRINE 4': Frozenbyte's upcoming game "Trine 4," a 2.5D puzzle platformer, is launching this fall for PC, Xbox One (MSFT), PlayStation 4 (SNE), and Nintendo Switch (NTDOY). When asked about how the development of the upcoming title was going, Tuovinen said that it was going "great." "We’re back to making a 2.5D game -- the way we felt the series works best, and we've got a cool mix of new mechanics, abilities and a story with some darker undertones that has resonated well with players," he said. "Our fairytale vibes from the friendly creatures like the badger and hedgehog are also creating a lot of excitement, so we’ve been very happy with the reception so far and can't wait to show more of the game!"
NINTENDO: Several of Frozenbyte's games have come out for the Nintendo Switch, including "Nine Parchments" and "Has-Been Heroes," with the "Trine Collection" coming out for the platform soon. On the topic of the Finnish developer's relationship with Nintendo, the Marketing Manager said that the company has had a "great relationship" with the Japanese game giant ever since "Trine 2: Director's Cut" was a launch title on the Nintendo Wii U back in 2012. "They’ve been very supportive with promotions and always quick to communicate with us," Tuovinen told The Fly. "Our latest two games, 'Has-Been Heroes' and 'Nine Parchments,' both did exceptionally well on Switch, which was the most successful platform for both games."
PC VS. CONSOLES: Since the first "Trine" game originally launched just on PC in 2009 before later rolling out to consoles, The Fly asked Frozenbyte's Tuovinen whether it has become more of a necessity for indie developers to launch their games on consoles in order for their products to be successful. "I suppose that really depends on the game, there are certainly plenty of PC-only success stories," he responded. "For us the consoles have played a big role and the Trine games have sold very well on e.g. PS4 and Wii U. We hope to add the complete series to Switch and Xbox as well soon. The console platform holders always bring in a lot of additional promotional support for games, so they help the overall visibility a lot and that’s been very important for our success."
EPIC STORE: The "Trine" games are currently unavailable on the Epic Games store, and Kai Tuovinen said that the company has not yet been in touch with anyone from Epic about any future releases on the platform, noting that Frozenbyte is "keeping our eyes out for opportunities." "We’ve got several games in development that we haven’t announced yet," he added. Investors in Epic include Tencent (TCEHY), KKR (KKR), and Disney (DIS).
STADIA: When asked about Frozenbyte's reaction to Google's upcoming cloud streaming service for games, named Stadia, Tuovinen said that cloud gaming has not yet had the same breakthrough in the gaming sector as it has with other media, mainly due to latency issues. "When playing games you are controlling something rather than just watching, so latency is still a problem that remains to be solved," he said. "Having a giant like Google behind Stadia certainly ups the chances of this succeeding. However, the infrastructure of internet connections around the world might not be ready just yet -- it remains to be seen!"
"Cloud gaming has so far been a bit of a double edged sword for us," Tuovinen added. "We’re primarily making single-player/co-op games that are very story driven and they’re a great fit for the players, just like movies and shows on streaming services, since the latency issue is not as noticeable as with e.g. competitive multiplayer games. Traditionally, however, most cloud gaming services have either paid developers a lump sum for inclusion of their games, or a by a time played basis. For our games, the time played model is a pretty bad one, as people tend to play through the game (e.g. Trine) only once or a couple times, so that model is much better for online multiplayer titles that people play over and over again. Multiplayer games on the other hand suffer more from latency issues."
APPLE ARCADE: On the subject of Apple Arcade, the U.S. tech giant's recently announced mobile game subscription platform, Frozenbyte's Tuovinen said that he thinks it's a "nice initiative" from the company. "Great promotion for a lot of games and from what I’ve heard, also a really nice deal for the developers," he said. "We haven’t released anything for iOS and Mac for a while, and currently don’t have anything in the pipeline either, so no plans yet."
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Keywords: frozenbyte, video games, trine, switch, apple arcade, stadia, epic games store