GamesIndustry.biz has learned this week that Atte Ilvessuo, co-founder and former executive producer at RedLynx (best known for the popular Trials series) has formed a new studio, MotionVolt, based in Finland. MotionVolt is starting out completely self-financed, and Ilvessuo will serve as the primary developer and producer of the company's first projects.
"Each project team will be assembled to carefully meet the specific needs of a given game, art style and platform. MotionVolt is designed to provide a highly creative and dynamic environment, enabling its teams the freedom to stay passionate and invigorated with the projects they choose to pursue," the company stated.
Ilvessuo has worked on more than 40 projects and has seen his titles reach over 20 million mobile downloads. He's planning on applying his expertise, particularly in physics-based gameplay, to reach an ever-growing mobile audience.
"The great thing about my previous games, most notably the early Trials and other mobile games at RedLynx, is that millions of people played them globally. I've received the best feedback imaginable. I feel I have learned a lot about what kind of gameplay and game structures people like to play, and of course I will apply those solutions in my new games," he said. "I want to offer entertainment to as large audience as possible."
"I want to apply the same level of creativity and passion into my marketing assets...that I do to my games. I believe players can tell when there is love put into every aspect of a production"
Trials' gameplay is steeped in physics, and the allure of using physics to augment gameplay has always been there for Ilvessuo. "It's hard to put a finger on where my interest originated, but I began writing physics-based game code in the late 1990s, and since then have developed dozens of physics-based games as both a programmer and a producer. It is just natural for me to continue on this path," he continued.
RedLynx started as an indie team of three, eventually grew to over 100 employees and was acquired by Ubisoft in 2011. While MotionVolt will start with one team and scale as needed, Ilvessuo said that the comnpany intends to remain nimble despite utilizing a "flexible, Hollywood-style production model." Hollywood and indie development might seem like a juxtaposition, but the two ideas don't necessarily have to be in opposition of each other.
"By 'Hollywood-style' I'm talking about how teams are formed. Each project's team will be gathered from talent that is most suitable and passionate for the project, considering art style, gameplay, technology and target platforms. We are also going to offer talented freelancers a place in the team with a wide creative freedom. Teams will form, mutate, and sometimes disband. But it will definitely not be a single team grinding away on game after game," he explained.
While free-to-play has become the most popular model in the mobile market, MotionVolt isn't opposed to premium games; the studio will figure it out project by project. "As we are going with creativity first, [the] most important thing is to fit the right monetization model based on game type, idea and genre. So we plan to release both premium and F2P games, carefully selected to fit the game type and project," Ilvessuo said.
Of course, the biggest challenge for MotionVolt (as it is for most indie devs in the mobile space) is to actually get noticed by the audience in hugely overcrowded app stores. Ilvessuo doesn't have a magic bullet for the discoverability issue, but he's hopeful that quality will make a difference.
"It's a good question, especially with the skyrocketing costs of user acquisition and relentless chase of big licenses. Ultimately I believe, as I always have, that the cream rises to the top; that means a fantastic game and smart monetization. It's not easy. We will be creating unique games with original ideas and highly tuned gameplay, and I think there's still space for these kinds of games," he said.
"There are lots of concrete things I have learned from my previous mobile productions that will help boosting discovery - keep in mind, more people played RedLynx's free games on phones and tablets than they did on consoles and PC. Of course we will be using the latest third party tools offered. [The] great thing about being nimble is that we can try things fast, react to analytics instantly and update the game accordingly. Beyond that, I want to apply the same level of creativity and passion into my marketing assets, like trailers, that I do to my games. I believe players can tell when there is love put into every aspect of a production."