Halfbrick was ‘teetering on the edge’ before Fruit Ninja

Speaking at Freeplay 2011, Luke Muscat, lead designer and executive producer at Halfbrick, talked about the lessons learned which led to Fruit Ninja’s creation.

The team at Halfbrick looked at Rocket Racing, their previous and unsuccessful title, and other casual games achieving big success.

Muscat comments: "Fruit Ninja was a game which was created by writing down a whole list of goals. We wanted to do the exact opposite of Rocket Racing."

Those goals were to make their new game a combination of being high score driven, gory (or at least as gory as a game about fruit could possibly be), easy to learn and play, and to ‘make more money than Rocket Racing lost’.

Muscat continues: "We learned so much from observing Flight Control, Doodle Jump and all these other casual games about making it incredibly easy to play. As such, Fruit Ninja has a four word manual: slice fruit, avoid bombs."

"We were in deep strife around the time we started working on this. Halfbrick were right teetering on the edge. If we hadn’t had something come through soon, we were in big trouble."

"So that was the big goal for me, because I felt terribly guilty that I’d lost the company AUD$175’000."

The formula worked, and Fruit Ninja has since become an iOS hit and released last week for Microsoft Kinect.

Muscat, relieved at the success of the product, stated: "We’ve still got everyone at Halfbrick; we haven’t had to fire anyone. We were actually able to create some new jobs, and it’s really exciting to help be a part of the games industry growing."

Halfbrick’s success flies in the face of recent closures of a largenumber of prominent developers in Queensland in recent years, making them one of the only large developers to still be enjoying growth in the state.

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