The rogue project Gloomy Hollow from Finnish developers from Skyrocks Games has appeared in the App Store today. We contacted the team and asked them about the game development in Suomi and about their new game.

The questions were answered by the executive director of Skyrocks Games Matti Haakli (Matti Häkli).Tell us about Skyrocks Games.

How did the history of the company begin?Skyrocks Games was founded in March 2011, but we are far from new to the industry.

Each of us has worked in it for many years, however, in different companies and on different projects. For example, I worked at Frozenbyte on the first part of Trine (it was released on PC and PS3 in 2009), but I also (like one of the founders of Skyrocks Games) taught game development and was an educational designer.

As for the founding of the company… The rapid growth of the gaming industry in Finland, the huge experience gained… we just felt it was time to create our own company.

Today Finland is one of the main mobile development countries in the world. How does it feel to work in the heart of the industry? What does this give a young studio?In the last few years, the gaming industry has grown significantly and has become popular in Finland.

This, of course, makes a lot of things – even for us – easier. 

You see, the attention and popularity of the gaming industry has led to the emergence of a large number of government support and financing programs in Finland. So running a gaming company is a privilege for us.

However, the number of new companies is so large that you still need to work hard to get noticed.

Was it difficult to create a business?The process of setting up your own company in Finland has become very easy in recent years.

I even think it’s too easy compared to running a business. A difficult start helps to understand what your team may face in the future. 

Gloomy Hollow is the first project of Skyrocks Games. This is a rogue game (at least that’s how it looks). Genre, to be honest, seems like a strange choice for a mobile game. Why did you decide to do exactly such a project?The main source of inspiration for Gloomy Hollow were old action-RPG games from PC.

When we first started working on the project (and slowed down the development of our first PC game), there were not so many ARPGs on the market with controls that really reminded us of PC classics. So, given the huge number of fans of the genre in the walls of Skyrocks Games, we decided to try to make such a game. And, it seems to us, almost immediately we managed to catch the spirit of those classic games.

How much has the concept of the game changed during development?Ideas came constantly.

For example, at the very beginning we were working on a mobile turn-based strategy (and at the same time developing a PC game), but then we decided to focus our efforts on Gloomy Hollow. But as soon as we started working on it in earnest, we immediately decided to redo it. Initially, the game did not have any visual style of its own. We made three graphic prototypes before we found something that really suited the game. 

And how much did it take you to develop?Despite the fact that we are a small team, we try to develop high-quality games.

We want to challenge ourselves and do something significant. I believe this directly affects the development time. In total, it took us 10 months to complete the project, although the development itself took about 6 months. 

What was the hardest part?Polishing at the end, QA and directly submission of the project (submission).

Before that, development, to a greater or lesser extent, was creativity, the creation of cool things. And I am very glad that Chillingo helped us at the final stage of development.  Polishing the game was much easier when we received feedback from fresh people. We, corny, had a blurred view so much that it was objectively difficult to play the project.  

The main problem of many action games on mobile devices is management. Developers prefer to use touch sticks and buttons instead of creating a UI based on gestures. How did you solve this problem?From the very beginning, our main task was to make the controls and gameplay convey the spirit of classic ARPGs.

We wanted to compete with all ARPGs present on the market, to make our project better. But later it became clear that the “old school” approach might be too difficult for some players, so we had to add touch sticks and even a casual mode, thanks to which even casual users can enjoy the game.

Tell us about the monetization of Gloomy Hollow.The game will cost $0.99 at launch, but we also have a lot of cool stuff that users will be able to purchase as an IAP.

We are sure that a good price-to-quality ratio of the project will attract many players to the project. The game is designed for 12 hours of gameplay, so the price of one dollar, it seems to me, is a good reason to go and buy the game!

Gloomy Hollow is already available on the App Store.