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After a year in development and $1M spent, Big Fish Games launches Fetch mobile game (exclusive)

After a year in development and $1M spent, Big Fish Games launches Fetch mobile game (exclusive)Big Fish Games doesn’t want to go to the dogs amid pack of competitors in casual games. The Seattle-based company gave one of its best development teams a year and $1 million to come up with a game. Their title, Fetch, is launching today in the Apple iTunes App Store. For a mobile title, it represents a considerable investment.

This kind of game will force everybody else to ante up. And it may mean that the days of one-man or one-woman shops dominating the top ranks of apps may be coming to an end. In that way, mobile gaming is going the way that all platforms go. Console games, of course, are an order of magnitude bigger with $50 million budgets.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Chris Campbell and Brian Thompson, the developers who led the project, had a team of just nine people. They are veterans who made the beautiful web downloadable games Drawn: The Painted Tower and Drawn: Trail of Shadows. Both titles were finalists for the casual games honors at the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences awards. Those titles also took a long time to make, and all of that investment paid off, as Drawn distinguished Big Fish Games from other casual game makers.

“Big Fish is setting a standard here,” Campbell said in an interview with GamesBeat. “We wanted to do something unusual and challenge our team in all disciplines. There is no other game like Fetch.”

Paul Thelen, founder and chief executive of Big Fish Games, asked the team to focus on an ambitious mobile title. Campbell, a former Nintendo developer, and Thompson, a former hardcore game maker, decided to build an adventure/arcade game for the iPad. It came from their love of dogs, and it is a tribute to all pet owners. Campbell’s own dog, Bear, served as prime inspiration for the title.

In fact, they included in the game the images of a bunch of dogs that belong to employees, friends, and families (including my dog Kona, pictured at the bottom; disclaimer: they did that on their own, and not as part of a deal for favorable coverage). The story is about a boy and his dog. The dog has been snatched by a robotic fire hydrant. An antagonist is setting traps for dogs, and boy has to find his canine friend. The title has lots of puzzles and arcade action. It has a combination of a lot of gameplay and animated cut scenes, which explains why it took a long time to do.

Thompson said, “We wanted to make the animation feel like a Pixar movie, where everything is interactive. It’s a love letter from people to their pets.”

In a nice marketing stroke, Fetch is being featured in an exhibit at the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle. The exhibit documents the development process of a title that hasn’t yet been released. Thompson said he liked the size of the team because, as art director, he still had a hand in creating a lot of the art for the game. The developers, in their own idea of cross promotion, have put the museum in the game too.

They needed the big team and the time because they’re storytellers. It’s the team’s fourth game in five years.

“We’re passionate about telling stories in our games,” Campbell said. “We don’t like to copy. We never copy. We always want to do something that has never been done before. We use passion instead of data to guide us.”

Thompson said, “We hopes it speaks to people more than a clone of a clone of a clone.”
Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2013/03/21/after-a-year-in-development-and-1m-spent-big-fish-games-launches-fetch-mobile-game-exclusive/

Mobile Adventure Game Exhibited in Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry

Via War Games By Patrick Elliot

WAR GAMES

Big Fish Games has teamed up with fellow Seattle-based institution, the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), to create an installation detailing the development process of their upcoming mobile adventure game, Fetch.

The interactive exhibit highlights various facets of the game’s development, covering the transition from concept art, to design and development, then testing and marketing. There is even a playable demo of Fetch available to visitors, who are encouraged to test the work-in-progress and offer their own unique gameplay ideas.

Headed by the same team behind the Drawn series, Fetch tells the tale of a boy and his dog, who become separated after a (presumably) unfortunate incident with a sentient fire hydrant. The game promises to offer a mix of puzzles and interactive animation, while also working in retro-style arcade games. Fetch is expected to launch within the first half of 2013, and when it does, it will include a museum level that incorporates actual artifacts from MOHAI. Now that’s synergy.

“There are millions of people who play games but most aren’t privy to the process and details that go into actually creating a game,” says MOHAI Executive Director Leonard Garfield, who hopes the Fetch exhibit will “inspire future game makers.” If you’re interested in seeing the “Building a Video Game” installation at MOHAI, you’ve got some time, as it will be on display through September 2013. For more information, visit Big Fish Games.

FETCH featured in Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)

External view

The Museum of History and Industry has been a hidden gem of Seattle, but after a move into the Naval Reserve Armory in South Lake Union, it has an even brighter future. MOHAI offers a fresh take on the traditional history museum, weaving in current issues to create a unique and engaging experience that highlights the uniqueness of the Northwest.

Inside MOHAIBig Fish is honored to participate in the launch of the new MOHAI as one of the examples of Seattle’s success in innovation and technology. In the museum, Big Fish introduces guests to the game industry, focusing on how games are made. Attendees walk through the creative process. In this phase of game development, anything goes. Once an idea surfaces that everyone seems really excited for, the refinement stage begins. Refinement of the original idea continues through the development stage of the game. Artists, animators, and programmers come together to build the game. When a working model is available, a team of testers work with the developers to finesse the game. To the delight of many MOHAI guests, people can actually play some of the early working models of the game to see what an unfinished game in development is like for game testers.

Although the Big Fish game catalog has a number of beloved games, we chose to use a brand new title, Fetch, as the example in the exhibit. Fetch is the latest opus from the team behind the award-winning Drawn series. Fetch is a charming interactive story about a boy and his dog Bear. When Bear is mysteriously nabbed by a fire hydrant, the boy goes on a wild adventure to find his best friend. Everyone we’ve shown Fetch to has remarked on how much the game looks and feels like you’re playing a Pixar or Dreamworks movie. This is the first time any museum has showcased a game prior to the game’s release. Fetch is set to release on March 21, 2013 from the App Store.

Fetch is a totally new take on the classic adventure game. It was designed to utilize touch screen mobile device technology. “We needed more than gimmicks to carry the emotion through the story,” said Chris Campbell, Fetch’s Game Director. There are tons of interactive items on ever screen. Even the cut scenes offer players the ability to make things move, squawk, light up, or do something else that adds to the surprise of the moment. Every tap could lead to a new achievement or a collectable, or it could give you points to help improve your standing on the leaderboards. Unlike traditional adventure games, where you figure out the sequence of items in order to progress through the story, Fetch has a wide variety of addictive and challenging arcade mini-games. You must win each arcade game to get the prize item you need to progress through the storyline. Once unlocked, you can play any of the arcade games from the main menu.

With its myriad of cultural references and its old school arcades, Fetch speaks to adults and children alike. The team is creating a whole world around our memories and experiences with childhood. The game is filled with nostalgia even down to its retro-futuristic art style.

“We designed Fetch from the ground up for the touch screen and we’ve been told it feels more like an interactive animated movie than a game.  Much of that is due to the story having a timelessness that I think bridges generational gaps. As a father of two little ones, it is so cool to see equal joy in the faces of parents and children when they play the game.” ~Brian Thompson, Art Director for Fetch

In an interview with All Things D, Brian Thompson and Ann Farrington, MOHAI’s Creative Director, discuss adding a mobile game that hasn’t been released yet to a history museum. “MOHAI wanted to put history in the present.,” said Ann. Brian added, “What’s more contemporary than a game that hasn’t launched yet?”

For those of you in the Seattle area, or those who will be visiting Seattle in the next few months, we highly suggest that you check out MOHAI!

For more information and updates on Fetch, please visit http://www.bigfishgames.com/daily/fetch/

Follow Fetch on Facebook and Twitter!  Facebook.com/fetchthegame  Twitter.com/EmbarkInc

For more information on MOHAI, visit mohai.org

As seen on http://www.bigfishgames.com/blog/big-fish-featured-in-seattle-museum/