Aki Järvilehto谈《Death Rally》及iOS平台
游戏邦注：本文作者为James Brightman，文中Aki Järvilehto谈及作品《Death Rally》的成功经验，他对iOS平台的看法，以及公司未来发展规划。
虽然iPhone游戏让独立开发商无需发行零售产品就能榜首有名，但App Store应用繁多，要推出像《愤怒的小鸟》或《翼飞冲天》这样的作品实属不易。Remedy Entertainment最近刚进军iOS市场，借助重塑公司首款作品《Death Rally》一举成名。这款游戏一度风靡34个国家，雄踞榜首，Remedy通过开展0.99美元促销活动，进一步促进产品销量。
这和Remedy的历史有关。《Death Rally》是我们1996年推出的首款作品（游戏邦注：其后续作品是《英雄本色》和《Alan Wake》）。汽车和枪支总是能够带来众多乐趣，所以我们认为这款游戏仍有发挥空间。很多粉丝希望《Death Rally》能够入驻现代PC平台，所以2009年我们推出了游戏补丁，采用的是免费形式。仅仅是为了满足粉丝要求。其受欢迎程度令人惊讶，这使我们开始意识到这款小型游戏的潜力，这款游戏很多方面都表现出色。
我们开始尝试不同想法，而iOS平台堪称最佳起始点。很快我们就开始呈现这样的状态，“把游戏变得更富有朝气，让我们重现真正的电子游戏，”当然我们马上就想到重塑《毁灭公爵》及借用《Alan Wake》的Barry Wheeler充当配角之类的想法。
我们是瞄准iOS平台重新设计游戏。管理端口本无需全力以赴，但这不是Remedy的作风。大型起重机是由Mountain Sheep的杰出人士完成的，你或许对他们的作品《迷你戈尔》略有耳闻？这些人同我们一起制作这款游戏，正是因为他们，这款游戏才能够以60FPS的稳定帧率运作于iPad 2。我们对所取得结果和《Death Rally》的运作方式很满意。
Remedy曾表示，更多《Alan Wake》内容将会陆续呈现，但下款作品不是《Alan Wake 2》。我们是否有机会看到《Alan Wake》入驻iOS平台，迈向全球市场（游戏邦注：就像EA针对《死亡空间》采取的策略那样）？你认为《Alan Wake》能否完美呈现于iOS平台？
App Store如今应用泛滥，作品要获得关注实属不易。你们是如何让《Death Rally》脱颖而出？有没有什么可供分享的小诀窍？
iPhone Gaming: Remedy’s Take on the Booming iOS Market
by James Brightman
iPhone games provide great opportunities for indie developers to make their mark without a retail product, but the App Store is flooded with thousands of apps and it’s not so easy to have a hit title like Angry Birds or Tiny Wings. Remedy Entertainment (Alan Wake) recently entered the iOS market for the first time and instantly saw success by resurrecting its first IP, Death Rally. The game was #1 for a time in 34 countries, and Remedy further pushed sales with a $0.99 bargain price for a limited time.
IndustryGamers recently chatted with Aki “AJ” Järvilehto, EVP at Remedy, about the game’s success, their thoughts on the iOS landscape, pricing, what this means for Remedy’s ongoing strategy and more.
IndustryGamers: In approaching the iOS market, why did you decide to revamp your original game instead of building a whole new IP just for iPhone/iPad?
Aki Järvilehto: This has a lot to do with the history of Remedy. Death Rally was our first game back in 1996 before we began working on Max Payne and Alan Wake which later followed that series. Cars and guns translate into such explosive fun that we’ve always felt there’s a lot of mileage in the IP. A lot of fans were asking us to make the original Death Rally work on modern day PC’s, so we made a patch in 2009 which we put out for free. Just something for the fans. The reception was astounding, which brought us to realize the potential of this little game that we always thought was brilliant in many ways.
We started to toy around with different concepts and the iOS platform as a starting point immediately felt right. Instantly we were going like “Hey, let’s make the gameplay even more snappy, let’s bring back real arcade gaming” and of course ideas like bringing Duke Nukem back and using Barry Wheeler from Alan Wake as cameos instantly crossed our minds.
The truth is that we actually did end up designing the game from scratch for iOS. Doing a port of any sort would’ve been half-assed, and that’s not Remedy. The heavy lifting was done by the talented guys over at Mountain Sheep, you probably know them from their Minigore game? Well, those guys developed the title together with us and it’s their magic which makes the game run at a stable 60FPS for iPad 2. We’re really happy with the results and the way Death Rally plays on the platform.
IG: Remedy was recently quoted as saying that more Alan Wake is coming but that the next experience is not Alan Wake 2. Could we perhaps see an Alan Wake experience on iOS to further build on the universe, sort of like what EA did with Dead Space? Do you think Alan Wake would translate well to iOS?
AJ: Sorry, but I’m not going to spill the beans on this one just yet, but we’re of course really excited about Alan Wake, and we know the fans are too.
IG: With the App Store flooded with thousands of apps, it’s not easy to get your game noticed. How were you successful with Death Rally? What tips do you have for fellow developers?
AJ: You’re absolutely right about the App Store being a hyper competitive environment. But I think this is also great news for developers who want to self publish and can turn out amazing games. I mean this is the radical game changer that everyone’s been hoping for and in many ways it’s now really a level playing field for developers.
Before digital distribution it really was all about who owned the shelf space at Walmart, and that was a game few indie devs could really play well. That has somewhat changed and with the digital titles it’s no longer a battle of shelf space. Even marketing budgets have less of an impact to digital games as mostly it’s driven by the store front and top lists.
So I guess my advice would be to really focus on the quality of the product and viral aspects to create the word of mouth. How do you make people say “Wow! What a great game at this price!”
That’s really what we did with Death Rally. We took our time to polish it to be as good as possible and then we’ve updated the content like crazy putting out new levels, cars, guns, boosters and features literally every other week.
And hey, it’s really working out tremendously well! Last weekend we tried an aggressive $0.99 price campaign and the game shot it’s way to the top of the charts. For five days straight Death Rally was the most sold iPad game in the world and we were simply stunned by all this. Over 100,000 new copies were downloaded in that weekend alone.
IG: Has the iOS market now become a major focus for Remedy, on equal footing with console and PC?
AJ: Death Rally and the iOS market began as a testing ground for us, a bit of fun, but serious fun. We wanted to learn the platform and distribution methods. It’s really nice to see us having success here also. While Remedy’s focus will definitely continue to be on AAA story driven cinematic action titles, we also see these smaller titles having potential in the overall mix, supporting our big franchises.
IG: Will Remedy look at other smartphones as well, such as Google’s Android?
AJ: Right now we’re super excited about how well Death Rally is doing on iOS. And yes, of course we’re looking at other platforms and evaluating them. But we haven’t really committed into other mobile platforms yet.
IG: What are your thoughts on the 3DS and forthcoming NGP from Sony. Are those platforms you will support?
AJ: Right now we’re evaluating different alternatives. 3DS and NGP are interesting platforms, but they’re very, very different from iOS. I don’t think that the right approach would be to take an iOS game and just port it over to them. Rather you’d want to create games for these platforms which is designed to take advantage of the unique capabilities of the platform.
IG: Given that smartphones and tablets iterate their hardware so quickly and have gotten enormously powerful, do you think traditional handhelds and consoles will be in trouble?
AJ: Many smartphones and tablets offer mind blowing value to gamers. Right now you can buy tons and tons of fun on iOS with the price of a single handheld console game. Heck, you can get tons of fun for free with advertising based concepts. So I do think the traditional handheld consoles will need to reinvent themselves if they want to compete.
IG: Death Rally was 99 cents for a time, and apps in general are far, far cheaper than handheld/console titles. Nintendo and others have expressed great concern that these cheap apps are threatening the industry by devaluing and commoditizing games. What are your thoughts?
AJ: I think the market is changing in a radical fashion. Barriers of entry are literally being blown away. New business models are booming and this is not about devaluation. Facebook is doing tremendous things to gaming and attracting completely new people to enjoy different more casual and social games. I can’t see how the fact that mainstream consumers are finally embracing our industry could be negative. After all isn’t that what we’ve been hoping for since forever?
Games and gaming as an experience is certainly changing – platforms are evolving and developers and consuming is evolving with it. On iOS we think it’s totally awesome that you can buy a game like Death Rally, 6 hours of console quality gaming with high production values, with just $0.99!
IG: Will your success with Death Rally encourage you to explore other digital markets, like Facebook perhaps?
AJ: As game developers it’s our job to explore the industry. Right now that means exploring opportunities on both physical and digital distribution. We absolutely still love the console business model though; that’s where the big stuff gets done and shines. With consoles we get to work with a totally different kind of experience, and can tell more immersive resonating stories like Alan Wake which is one of our studio’s biggest strengths.
IG: Thanks AJ.（Source：industrygamers）