Fiercely independent after over 25 years, Full Fat is a studio that takes no half-measures in their commitment to creating innovative, world-class games that surprise, entertain and delight players. With over 40 mobile games alone with a combined 100 million downloads and then some, Full Fat truly are a studio that consistently churn out sensational titles.
Aardvark Swift checked in with Full Fat’s lead programmer, Oli Brown, to find out more about their outlook on game development, the ideation process behind a #1 app store title, and the competitive nature of the mobile game space.
Founded in 1996, the studio has since been agile and opportunistic in its approach to game development, capitalising on the various booms in markets throughout their 26 years of operation, as Oli goes on to mention. “We started as an independent art house with a lot of publishers at the time, such as Sega and Nintendo. We started making more and more games, and as we started accelerating with growth and the number of projects, we thought, why don’t we begin developing our own titles?”
Before this however, the studio found great success in the early 2000’s and 2010’s, with major IP projects on various platforms, including franchises such as Harry Potter, The Sims, Beyblade, and more. “It’s a privilege to work on games like those. You realise that millions of people are going to play this game without question; these are franchises that made it for a reason”, says Oli. “When we’re developing these titles, there’s a unique energy in the studio that you can’t help but feel”. Since then, Full Fat have focused the efforts on disrupting the mobile and digital spaces, becoming a heavy-hitter throughout the explosion in popularity of runner and swiping games, with their title Agent Dash and their Flick franchise, namely, Flick Soccer. During that era of the studio, the competition of similar titles invigorated the team, and revolutionised their development process, as Oli recalls.
“Agent Dash was one of our first big mobile titles and was released around the time of two similar major apps. ‘Let’s see how many millions of users we can get’ was the mission. We learned a lot on that journey, not just about the market, but just how agile you have to be, as we’d come from more of an old-school methodology of making games. It was incredibly exciting because you’re working against the competition and everyone’s trying to be the best, but I think the that always inspires the best results”.
With this agile methodology at the core of Full Fat’s ethos, the team, at all levels, have scope to put forward their own concepts for consideration of development, which in turn lends itself to their collaborative studio culture.
“At Full Fat, the culture is all about being in it together; let’s have a passion, let’s making something good”, says Oli. “I don’t believe that the product stands alone, it’s about the team behind it, and I think that that’s quite clear in the titles that we create. At Full Fat, you can come along as a junior with an idea, and we might say ‘let’s give it a go’. It’s your idea. You go and make it. I think getting the whole company involved in ideation gives variation and intrigue to our development process”.
Now, the studio continues to develop and expand their portfolio of mobile IP and co-development projects, not without leaving the door open to other platforms. “We’re always talking to various publishers and studios from around the world. There are open conversations, and we’re not limited to just mobile”, says Oli. “We are always looking at other platforms and we’re always happy to move in any direction if the market changes; I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve remained independent for nearly 30 years”.
You can listen to Aardvark Swift’s full conversation with Full Fat’s Oli Brown through the Aardvark Swift Podcast, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, third-party apps, and the aswift.com website.