Danish game studio Fantastic, yes exploded onto the mobile gaming scene last year with their debut offering Returner 77, a sci-fi puzzler that featured a riveting storyline, clever gameplay, and truly stellar production values and visuals. A sequel to that astounding game was announced to be in the works this week, so I figured now would be the perfect time to catch up with Fantastic, yes for a chat about their studio and output. You can check the interview out below.
Thanks for taking time out for this interview. It’s a pleasure to have you! Let’s start by finding out a little bit of background on Fantastic, yes. When, where and by whom was the studio founded?
Thanks for having us! Fantastic, yes was founded in 2016 by Designit Co-Founder David Fellah and his brother Simon Fellah. We’re based out of Copenhagen, Denmark and our team works out of a startup incubator office in the heart of the city.
How many people work at Fantastic, yes and what are their roles?
We are a tight knit group of about fifteen people. Our company also has a partnership with M2, a 3D animation powerhouse of over 200. David Fellah is the company head and his co-founder Simon Fellah leads the game development team and is the artistic inspiration behind the games. The new marketing department is led by marketing director MaryBeth Lauro. In the office we have a mix of game designers with puzzle-design expertise, developers and one amazing sound designer, Niels Bøttcher. The team is cross-disciplined and includes both game industry veterans and pros from other fields bringing a new perspective to games.
What is your vision or mission statement as a company?
We’re an ambitious, agile game studio challenging the way games are being made. We want to break down the barrier between PC games and mobile and show how much mobile devices are capable of. Our vision is to be extremely efficient and produce top quality games faster and better each time. Some studios create one game for years and when they’re finished start on the next one, we want to be able to make multiple high-quality games per year and keep scaling as much as we can.
Is it true you guys have an actual spacesuit in your office?! If so, what’s the story behind that?
Yes there is! Our co-founder David wanted to add something to the office to create a sense of purpose. Our first games have been space themed, so it adds to our creativity and the zany personality of the company. We’re a little weird here in all the best creative ways. David also says that it’s to party in (though only our smallest employees fit in it).
Before we go any further, I just want to let you know that I absolutely adored your recent debut game, Returner 77. Just in case there’s anyone reading who hasn’t had a chance to check it out yet, would you mind quickly summing up the game’s premise and gameplay?
The first game the studio released is called Returner 77, a 3D puzzle-game set in a science fiction universe that takes mobile-visuals to a whole new level. The game takes place in an alien spaceship in the near future. Mankind is on the brink of extinction and the hero is one of the last survivors. The only way to solve the mystery left behind by a young Colonel who brought you to the alien ship, is to solve puzzles and navigate through the ship. Throughout the game the player will experience beautiful views and landscapes never seen before in the mobile gaming industry.
With the fifth — and final — chapter of Returner 77 having recently launched on the App Store, can I ask how happy overall you were with the commercial and critical response to the game?
The iOS App Store is a difficult and competitive place, and coming out with your first game is always a huge gamble. You work so hard on something and roll the dice when you release. Generally the response to our game has been very positive, although not viral in any way. We’ve received several features from Apple, and obviously interest from M2 that led to our partnership and funding. We’re always hungry to improve, so we are proud of what we created and we are also taking into consideration all of the feedback the community gave us so we can improve.
It’s just been announced that you’re already working on a Returner 77 sequel (code named Core Twvo). Without giving too much away, what can you tell me about it?
The sequel will continue the story of Returner 77. You will still be chasing after Colonel Ling and trying to unravel the mystery of the alien ship to try to get to earth. I don’t want to give away any of the story, but I can tell you that there will be a lot more character animation and we will be improving on our puzzles, and taking what we learned from the first game and keep refining to make something amazing.
Core Twvo is being made in conjunction with 3D animation company M2 Entertainment. How did this partnership come about, and what does it mean for the game? (I assume we’re in for even prettier, more ambitious visuals and animation this time around?)
The character animation will be one of the biggest contributions from M2, and you can expect more jaw-dropping cinematics and beautiful visuals in the games. We’ve always been all about creating visually stunning games, and now we have even more fuel in that direction.
When do you reckon the game will be ready and available on iOS?
We’re aiming for some time this summer. We’ll be able give a more exact month and date very soon!
Aside from the aforementioned Returner 77 sequel, do you have any other upcoming projects in the works or planning stages that you can tell me about?
We can’t say anything much yet, but do plan on seeing a new IP from us (non Returner universe) hopefully this year as well.
Do you have any advice for other companies or individuals who may be trying to break into or succeed in the mobile games industry?
Define what you’re after in the industry before you start. If you have big ambitions to make lots of money from a game and become the next big name, you should define what user’s actually want and if there is demand for your type of game. Even then you can only put your game out there and hope for the best. We would also recommend thinking about your marketing during development, not just when you’re ready to launch!
That’s a wrap! Thanks for giving such an incredible interview. 🙂
Returner 77 is available now on the App Store priced at $3.99. To find out more about the game and its upcoming sequel, visit Fantastic, yes’s official site or subscribe to their Facebook and Twitter feeds.
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