Game Theory: Q&A with Semyon Voinov, Chief Creative Officer of ZeptoLab

Oct 29, 2010
Games

Location: Moscow, Russia Notable apps: Parachute Ninja ($0.99), Cut the Rope ($0.99) Platforms: iOS (more platforms coverage coming soon) Short description of company: ZeptoLab is a small, independent team of professionals dedicated to the science of fun. We know what good games are made of, and we possess the required ingredients. How did you and […]

Location: Moscow, Russia

Notable apps: Parachute Ninja ($0.99), Cut the Rope ($0.99)

Platforms: iOS (more platforms coverage coming soon)

Short description of company: ZeptoLab is a small, independent team of professionals dedicated to the science of fun. We know what good games are made of, and we possess the required ingredients.

How did you and your firm get into the iPhone game development business?

iOS game development seemed like a good fit for our skills. Most of our team members have a background in traditional mobile games (Java/Brew), so iOS was just a logical step forward. Also, we are really passionate both about games and Apple devices, which makes our job a perfect fit.

In your opinion, how has the iPhone and Apple’s iTunes App Store changed the gaming industry?

One of the greatest things about the App Store is that it allows indie developers to reach a wide audience of players. There’s no need to have a big team or business connections, the SDK is inexpensive and all you really need to take care of is how good your game is. As a result, there are many innovative games being released, and many more are surely to come. New ways to control the device (such as gyroscope and multitouch) have also inspired many fresh game mechanics, never seen on any other platforms – and this alone should put iOS in the book of gaming history.

Describe the differences between developing games for the iPhone and the iPad.

Our latest game, Cut the Rope, was initially developed for iPhone, and ported to the iPad in the later stages of development. We were positively surprised by results: because of the iPad’s bigger screen size, the graphics look even better, and because of the higher touch precision, the game is even more enjoyable to play. The only difficulty from the development perspective was that iPad has slightly different screen proportions compared to the iPhone.

How do you view EA’s acquisition of Chillingo?

I believe that it will have a positive effect, as Chillingo will get access to even wider marketing and PR channels. This acquisition is a clear sign of how big this market has become, and I can’t help myself being excited about that.

What factors go into how you ultimately price your games?

We usually collaborate with the publisher on the pricing strategy. I think that price tag for “Cut the Rope” is just right, and it allowed the game to become really popular. We are also curious about the free-to-play model and might try it in our future projects.

Describe what your dream game for the iPhone would look like.

If we could take the humor from Angry Birds, combine it with the simplicity of Doodle Jump, multiply by the cuteness of Cut the Rope and add the challenge from Flight Control, I think we might get something interesting. Not like it’s an easy task to do!

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