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Cutting the Mustards

Chair Entertainment's Donald and Geremy talk Infinity Blade, iPad 2 and the App Store

Chair Entertainment have been quietly raising the bar on different platforms with titles like Shadow Complex for XBLA, but it's iOS poster boy Infinity Blade which has really put it front and centre of high-end development on a mobile format.

That title wowed journalists and the public alike with incredible visuals and a surprisingly deep RPG mechanic, proving that you could still make money with a game that costs more than 59 pence. But how much has the App Store's layout limited that success? Can those luscious visuals ever be bettered?

In this interview from GDC, CEO Donald mustard and CTO Geremy Mustard updated on the company's success and plans for the rest of the year. So you've just released an update which has pretty much doubled the size of Infinity Blade. You've already got one of the highest quality and best reviewing titles on the App Store, and I imagine that you must be pretty high up in the top-grossing, but I don't often see you on that all important front page. Does the layout of the App Store frustrate you?
Donald Mustard

It certainly affects our visibility to people looking for the game. The first thing that people see is the top apps, and those are all by numbers so, yeah, if you're a 99 cent game then you're going to have a lot more numbers than say a $5.99 game.

That totally affects the charts. I would love for it to not be that way. I would love for it to be something that didn't actively encourage 99 cent applications to be so prevalent. But, that's entirely Apple's call. It's their store.

I wish and long for a day when that would change, because it would help encourage developers to not feel like they had to make their app 99 cents. I think that if we're really going to get applications and games... To create something of the quality of Infinity Blade costs a considerable amount of money. It was almost hard to justify selling it at $5.99, let alone 99 cents.

We want to play more games of the scope and production value of Infinity Blade, and it would be great if the App Store could support that more widely.

We were lucky, right? We broke out. We sold lots and lots of copies, we continue to sell lots and lots of copies. I don't know if that's something every single game would get with the way that the store is currently structured.

Geremy Mustard

Well yeah, I would agree. I think to encourage developers of any sort of app to create something that's of the quality level of Infinity Blade, that's requires them to sell enough to justify that cost. If we want to see that trend continue in that direction, and we want to see more games like Infinity Blade that are high-resolution, fully realised 3D worlds, versus flash-based games like we're used to on the iPhone - that's what you get when you're targeting 99 cents. If you're targeting something higher then you can get something more.

So yeah, I agree, I believe all that Apple has to do is to swap the top paid category with the top grossing tab, make the top grossing tab the first one you see. That would solve that, make it so it's more about how much money you're actually making. So it really would show the quality games, or the quality apps, versus whatever happens to be the current fad of whatever people are into.

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