Last Thursday we visited our almost neighbours “flaregames” in Karlsruhe, where we met Gunnar Lott and Andreas Suika to have a chat. In their present office (flaregames is going to move inside of Karlsruhe) we talked about the background of flaregames as a company, the potential of location-based games and of course their two newest games in line “Ocean|Tower” and “BraveSmart”
Flaregames was founded in April 2012 by Klaas Kersting, the former Founder of Gameforge, who left his company in 2010 to start something new. After a time-out he among other things got the time to play games again, mostly on his mobile phone, so after he discarded the idea to found a Frozen Yoghurt Chain he decided to jump into the Mobile Gaming Market and brought some qualified experts from the branche into the boat. First he took over the “Rough Sea Games Gmbh”, a company led by Matthias Schindler together with the “Orbster GmbH”, which both merged in flaregames. Later also Andreas Suika from Ubisoft joined the founder-circle.
Therefore flaregames seems to be well situated in personnel and financial terms. There was a financing round in December, where “Accel-Partners” invested 6 millions in flaregames. And just the day before we visited their office in Karlsruhe, they signed a deal with “T-Venture” for up to 2 milion dollars. Although flaregames says that they aren’t reliant on their money, this deal opens marketing ways for them, which could be very profitable.
Besides the financial aspect flaregames ensures with a democratic concept that their staff is well-picked and everyone is matching the team. To a large extent the employees can look back at a successful career partly coming from large companys. With flaregames they were trying from the beginning to build their very own working atmosphere,where they could integrate things they always missed or avoid things they were bothered from. So it seems like the founding process was based on the experiences of industy veterans with the aim to build up an – in Gunnar Lotts words – “asshole-free company”. Well, besides of flaregames’ Uruk-Hai doorman of course.
At the beginning of flaregames there was the idea of location based games, which was implemented in their first game “Flatmates”, which however was postponed to fall 2012. So we asked Gunnar why they wanted to wait with “Flatmates”, what they are expecting from the location-based concept and what they are hoping to achieve with Flatemates:
“We already made a huge step in the right direction, but it turned out that whole technology around GPS and mapping is more complicated than we expected. At the moment we are working on setting up the right technical basis to build up on, which is associated with a lot of workload. So we need simply more time to fulfill our own aspiration on the game.
Of course we believe in the potential of augmented reality games, that’s the reason why we started Flatmates, but the fusion of gameplay and real world is a highly scientific process. Besides the complex technologies you have to create the right mix when combining the two worlds. On the one hand we want to motivate the player to anticipate at something from the real world, which on the other hand is also useful for the gameplay. We want the game-design to refer to the real world in an abstracted way, but too much abstractness means a loss of attraction.
We first want to give the game the right purpose to be a fun game to hit the mass market. At the moment we have a cool idea, in which we see great potential, but the risk to launch it now is just too high. There is no existing game out on the market, where this game concept is implemented well, so it would be great to be a flagship product that demonstrates the possibilites. But for that goal we need our time to work on it until we feel safe with it.”
So to fulfill their own aspiration they decided to take their time for flatemates and launch some smaller free-to-play games at first. Two of those games are almost finished and we from Playandroid got the chance to talk with Andreas Suika, the creative director of flaregames, to have a first glimpse at them:
The first one is called “Ocean|Tower” and will be a tycoon game comparable to SimCity but with the main element of space management, where it’s about building an environmentally friendly tower in the middle of the ocean. An incredible engineer has invented a recycling plant, which burns 100% of waste to provide energy, but needs to be cooled down with water. So you have to run your tower in the ocean and make use of different green energy sources like solar power plants, wind power plants or tidal power plants. You need those to build your stores in the tower, which will attrack people to live there. The game features a various amount of places like a planetarium, shopping centers, botanic gardens, universitys, kindergartens, etc. to satisfy the needs of your residents like education, shopping or relaxing. The more stores you run the more people will move in (from singles to families and pensioners) and the more space and energy resources you’ll need. So main aim of the game is to expand your tower and place the different shaped buildings in the most space-saving way to build the most efficient and economical tower.
Flaregames has made a real time strategic and economic simulation game that features an interesing scenario and also a little green message.
“BraveSmart” is settled close to nature in the middle of scottish highlands featuring funny scotsman, cute sheeps and crazy cows. You will have to proceed strategic and looking ahead. But the fun factor of solving a problem and clearing up the whole field in the end will make you highly addicted. There are 15 levels at the moment, which are all quite tricky, but they are also working on new game elements, so we can be curious about both games.
However, you don’t only have to find and combine three matching elements (for example three woods will make a hut, three huts will make a house). Thinking of the various meeples (sheeps, cows) in higher levels, the charme and the challenge of BraveSmart lies in thinking a few steps ahead to figure out the right moves.
Flaregames didn’t want to reveal a specific release date yet, but we expect both Ocean|Tower and BraveSmart to come in the beginning of May.
Our last questions aimed at the future projects of flaregames and although we couldn’t drag some game titles or specific information out of Andreas and Gunnar, we found out, that they are currently working on three more games, focussed on strategy, role playing and puzzle elements. All games will be “Free to Play” without bothering the users with too obtrusive In-App Payment (like Dungeon Hunter 3 for example).
That’s everything we got to report from flaregames. Anne and I had a very interesting time and want to thank the flaregames team for inviting us. We are looking forward to play strategy games like “Ocean|Tower” or GPS games like “Flatmates” in the future and are convinced that we can expect great things from this company.