Major Magnet is a beautiful new 2D platformer, built and optimized to provide an amazing gaming experience on touch devices. PagodaWest Games, an indie studio with a deep love for video games, built Major Magnet and partnered with Iddiction to launch and market the game.
Read on to learn about Major Magnet, PagodaWest and their partnership with Iddiction.
Please tell us about Major Magnet.
Major Magnet is a 2D “orbiting platformer” that uses innovative touch controls built directly into each level to move the protagonist in place of virtual on-screen controls or constant movement. Major Magnet or “Marv” is the bumbling loveable star of the game who is unwittingly stripped of his hero’s cape. Tumbling head-first into the vast facility of Lastin Magnetic, he miraculously comes upon a large magnet wide enough to fit his rotund frame. It is Marv’s objective to find his way out of the facility and retrieve his cape, but he’ll have to learn how best to harness the power of his new magnet first if he is to succeed!
That is a great concept and a first step towards building a chart-topping game. But marketing can be a huge struggle for a budding studio. As an indie developer, what where the challenges you faced?
Our first step towards cracking the marketing conundrum was to create a game that not only shows our love for video games to seasoned gamers, but one that can also hold instant appeal to a wide audience. When observing the qualities of the most popular games on mobile devices and consoles, we found that the most successful mechanics typically revolve around some sort of basic physics system which players can easily grasp regardless of gaming experience or age. With this in mind, we brainstormed a number of activities one would be familiar with in real life that involved physics.
The idea of orbiting was thrown around and ultimately led us to the theme of magnets. Drilling down into this theme, we ended up with our hero, Major Magnet – a man who relies heavily on the changes in his magnetic environment to get from point A to B in style. Of course, producing a quality game that we were satisfied with, and that was proven popular in focused testing was only half the battle.
At what point did you consider working with a publisher?
We were certainly aware from the start that attaining good visibility and great PR of our game would be a tough battle to fight alone. We treated the notion of going with a publisher delicately because it seemed there were two obvious paths available to us as we were developing. The first path was that of approaching a large, well-known publisher and having a shot at getting a good foothold in the market, but this would come at the severe cost of loss of creative control and/or loss of ownership of our IP. We were not willing to sacrifice our artistic integrity, or the IP that we’d worked so hard to build, for what might only amount to a few months of solid promotion before potentially being relegated to the scrap heap.
The other possible path was working with a smaller publisher or app network, many of which approached us with vague proposals of how they could help, coupled with flaky track records. It was a no-brainer for us to avoid these! By the time we’d reached beta status with Major Magnet and were planning to attend E3 in June 2012, we decided the best route was to take a stab at PR ourselves.
After researching various publishing solutions, why did you decide to work with Iddiction?
As we were headed back from E3, we heard from Corona’s COO that Iddiction was interested in working with us. Based on their very positive reputation among game developers, we met with their CEO, Andrej Nabergoj, who expressed great interest for Major Magnet based on our trailer and press materials. It quickly became clear to us that Iddiction was quite different from any other publisher or promoter we’d encountered. Combining a mix of leading industry talents alongside their proven Appoday campaign app, it was clear that they had identified the intricate science behind marketing quality apps to the masses.
They were passionate about working closely with developers and nurturing a partnership in order to build recognizable brands worldwide, while allowing us to retain creative control and ownership of our IP. While the thought of partnering with a large and prolific publisher sent a shiver down our spines, our gut told us that working with Iddiction was a smart option.
How has Iddiction helped you in developing Major Magnet?
Once we signed the deal, we worked alongside Elliot Wang who runs the partner publishing group. He helped us guide Major Magnet into something that has universal appeal. We had a dedicated team of professionals who offered a refreshing melting pot of ideas; this helped us formulate how we could take the game to the next level. This included the expected user experience fine-tuning as well as the addition of deeper social integration into the game and well-refined in-app purchases.
Although this has resulted in a lengthening of our previous development schedule, it is undoubtedly worth it, as the difference in the game’s quality is vastly better than where we started. Iddiction’s guidance so far has been a great asset to us and an eye opener in terms of what it takes to make a solid and impressive mobile game.
Tell us about the types of resources and expertise Iddiction offers.
Iddiction has an application distribution platform consisting of a daily deals product, Appoday, and a huge network of viral apps like “I’d Cap That” and Facebomb. The company was founded by Andrej Nabergoj, former CEO of Outfit7, who helped grow Talking Tomcat from nowhere to millions of users. Iddiction’s goal is to help indie studios self-publish their games and build up their brands by providing full service consulting, distribution, marketing, PR and social media support for launching and sustaining their games.
What lessons can you share with other indie developers who are interested in partnering with a publisher?
In terms of sharing lessons with other indie developers, it all comes down to what you want out of your game. From the moment that you set out to create a game and your business, you must be 100% sure of your business plans and the variables that are associated with it. If you are going to consider talking with a publisher, set your objectives and goals set from the start (especially in regards to the deal you make with the publisher!). If you sit back and remain satisfied to lap up just any offer, you have a lot to lose.
Another hard lesson is that as much as you love your product and treat it like your baby, you cannot ever be too attached to any particular element in its design. It is important to be as objective as possible with your work – this will always pay off in the long run.
Thanks for sharing your experience with us!