Interview: Bubble Island’s Big Changes
We recently had the opportunity to ask Wooga Founder and CEO Jens Begemann a few questions about his hit game. Read on to find out how Bubble Island has evolved since launch, what’s next for the title, and secrets to beating your friends’ high scores…
Social Game Central: First off, for those readers that aren’t familiar with Wooga or Bubble Island, can you tell us a little about your company, and Bubble Island?
Jens Begemann: wooga (world of gaming) was founded January 2009 and is the leading European game developer for social games and the 9th biggest game developer on Facebook. We are a super-international team of about 40 people (from 12 different countries) based in Berlin.
Bubble Island is our second game and it was released in February this year. It is an classic arcade style “bubble shooter” type puzzle game where you have to connect three or more bubbles of the same color.
Before we released Bubble Island we did a very popular game called Brain Buddies which is a brain-training game. Our most recent game is called Monster World and we released it on Facebook just a couple of weeks ago.
SGC: Bubble Island is Wooga’s biggest title. Why do you think it has turned into such a hit?
JB: There are a few things that have proven to be very successful with Bubble Island:
* Emotional attachment is very important for social games. There are so many of them out there (and all free to play/try) that you have to stand out. We decided to do this by adding a prominent character to the game – the raccoon. He will follow you throughout the game, explore the world map, load your “bubble shooter” with new bubbles and gives you instant feedback when you are playing.
If you make a nice shot a explode a lot of bubbles he will jump with happiness, if the bubbles start getting closer to the ground he starts sweating and looks nervous and many more great animations.
* Playing with friends is always more fun than playing alone! In Bubble Island you and your friends work together: The more your friends play the more benefits you will get (like more lives)
* We are also very proud of the simplicity and quality of the game. The graphics and animations together with the easy-to-understand interface make Bubble Island a game that truly anyone will understand in a matter of seconds.
SGC: Bubble aiming & popping games have been around for a long time, and Bubble Island isn’t even the only one on Facebook! What sets Bubble Island apart from other similar games, and makes it unique?
JB: * Unlike most other games with a similar concept we have a large number of pre-defined levels. This means that you can go back and re-play a level many times to try and find the best/quickest way to finish it and set a new high score.
* There is also a clear progression in the game – giving it almost an “adventure game” feel where you unlock new areas and travel across the island.
SGC: How has Bubble Island changed or evolved since it was first released?
JB: We added many key features since the launch in February. E.g. this first version did not even include the raccoon as our main character.
But the biggest change is yet to be released. Let’s just say we have a new game mode coming in a few weeks that will will make all of our old (and new) players VERY happy…
SGC: Bubble Island starts off very friendly, but the final few levels are very challenging! Do you have any tips for Bubble Island players that might be stuck on a tough level?
JB: First tip is to become a fan of the game. Via our fan page we give regular tips and release “Bubble Island TV” videos (in 5 languages!) to give players tips and help. There is also a multi-language wiki at http://bubbleisland.wikia.com/ where our community (+10 million players!) share tips, strategy and walk-through videos:
SGC: Once players have cleared all the stages, one popular activity is to compete with their friends for high scores. What tips do you have for players trying to boost their score on a particular level?
JB: Go for the boosters! Try and bounce as many shots as possible, line up big drops/explosions and play as fast as you can.
SGC: I’m sure Bubble Island addicts would love a sneak peak at any upcoming changes or additions to the game. Can you tell us anything about the future of Bubble Island that fans can look forward to?
JB: We have been working for months on a new game mode that I am sure our players will love. It is almost ready and we hope to release it in a couple of weeks…
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