Konami seem to be fairly happy with how their partnership with Revolutionary Concepts has gone so far, and it's easy to see why.
The first title of a four-game contract with the developer was Gesundheit!, which boasted an unusual setup and an adorable crayon-drawn art style.
Next up was Frogger Decades, a revival of Konami’s amphibian arcade-platformer franchise that has been praised for its top-notch presentation and enjoyably challenging gameplay.
Brandon Church (producer and game designer for Konami) and Wayne Whatford (CEO and creative director at Revolutionary Concepts) spoke to us about the partnership's first two titles, how the relationship is working so far, and the possibility of bringing the games to other formats.
AppSpy: What excited you the most about working with Konami when you agreed to the collaboration?
Wayne Whatford: As gamers ourselves who grew up playing many of Konami's titles, we have a tremendous amount of respect for the company and their long list of achievements over the years, and so to be asked to help bring one of their most beloved franchises to iOS was an opportunity too good to refuse.
AppSpy: You’ve been behind several re-imaginings and conversions of classic titles, with Frogger Decades the most recent example - is there a lot of pressure to maintain the franchise's reputation?
WW: Absolutely! When considering remaking a classic title, the number one factor on our list is that we're only interested if we strongly believe we can build on, and in some way improve on the original.
Which isn't to say we think we are making titles better than the originals - after all they are classics for a reason - but rather we carefully consider how a title might have been made if the original game designers had the technology we have available to us today, and then making sure we stay true to the feel of the original, and try to build a game they'd be proud of.
AppSpy: While working on Frogger Decades were you given any specific advice from anyone at Konami?
WW: A big part of the credit for the way Frogger Decades turned out is the amount of faith Konami showed in agreeing to let us to take a much loved franchise in a new direction.
I think it speaks volumes for their almost unparalleled success over a 30+ year period that they are extremely receptive to new ideas and have very forward-thinking people who were every bit as invested in creating a great game as we were and made themselves available anytime to discuss ideas and provide valuable direction throughout the length of the project.
AppSpy: What made you choose Revolutionary Concepts to work on Frogger Decades?
Brandon Church: It was actually one of their titles named Banzai Rabbit. We actually hadn’t heard of Revolutionary Concepts at the time, and someone on our team just happened to come across that game in the App Store.
Once we checked it out and saw the similarities to Frogger, it really threw us for a loop. We are always looking at our games and thinking of ways to innovate, and the way that the game was such an original take on the classic gameplay mechanics Frogger instituted really sparked our imaginations and prompted plans to create a brand-new 3D Frogger adventure.
Eventually, someone asked, “Hey, these guys obviously love Frogger. Why don’t we just use them?” The result is Frogger Decades.
AppSpy: Can you see Revolutionary Concepts developing more titles as part of your partnership?
BC: Absolutely. The partnership has been very successful for both Konami and Revolutionary Concepts, and I think both parties would be open to developing that further.
We enjoy an excellent working relationship, to the point where short conversations on new features or gameplay mechanics can be quickly converted into comprehensive prototypes, which more often than not are in tune with our original vision. That combination goes a long way, and I think that synergy really shines through in the final product.
AppSpy: Do you think collaborations such as this are the way that Konami are going to make the biggest impact in the iOS market, or will you still be developing many of your titles in-house?
BC: I think we will continue to do both. Internally, Konami have an extremely talented and close-knit development team, who pretty much know everything there is about all our brands - from Silent Hill to Silent Scope.
That level of expertise is invaluable during game development, and the drive that comes from that knowledge is essential to adding the trademark 'Konami feel' that’s incorporated into each of our games.
At the same time, we understand the industry is in a constant state of flux, so we’re not afraid to take a walk outside and see what’s around the corner. As Frogger Decades has proven, there are some very talented independent development studios out there, just waiting to get their opportunity to shine on an already established IP.
AppSpy: Are there any plans to bring over Gesundheit! or Frogger Decades to other mobile formats, such as Android or WP7?
BC: We’re always looking into how we can branch out all of our brands, not just Frogger, into any emerging and established markets. Android has been growing steadily since it first launched and we have a number of our IP already out on that platform, so it’s definitely on our radar.
The largest factor is, of course, our fans. We pay very close attention to our fan base, and if enough of them demand something we’ll make it happen.
Both Frogger Decades and Gesundheit! are available on iPhone and iPad now at the currently discounted prices of 99c.