Tasked with nurturing new ideas at Moshi Monsters outfit Mind Candy, Candy Labs recently released its first game, World of Warriors.
To find out more about how the creative process works at the Brighton studio and what it takes to get a game into full production, we spoke to studio head Mark Knowles Lee.
How does the creative process work at Candy Labs?
Identify goals, discuss ideas, design, prototype, user test, review, iterate and refine. If it’s not right don’t be afraid to throw it away and make it better. Don’t use data too soon; don’t use your gut too late. Don’t compromise. That’s it in a nutshell, but for that to work you need the right degree of interpersonal harmony – we are usually well aligned and we get on well enough to disagree, with a healthy degree of creative tension at times, sometimes even passionately, but always with respect for each other.
How are ideas like World of Warriors greenlit for development and then release?
Our art director pitched Warriors to the whole of Mind Candy at Candystock, our annual get together. It was so well received across the board that Michael greenlit the project soon after. From then on we’ve been busy working away on the game. We work very closely with the London Mind Candy studio at all key points in development.
Has World of Warriors undergone many changes from the original idea?
The art direction has remained consistent since the very beginning. Many of the core elements of the moment-to-moment game have remained intact from our earliest prototypes. Creating a dynamic but accessible experience was always at the core, however we have iterated on the in-fight tactics and the meta game substantially, layering on a more depth each time.
World of Warriors is quite different from the Moshi Monsters IP. Why did Mind Candy feel the need to go into more uncharted territory with this new game?
At Mind Candy, we’ve always said that we want to create entertainment for the whole family and diversify our audience. We developed World of Warriors with core gamers in mind. There are elements of RPG games built-in, such as the ability to level up your character, but the title is still a pick up and play game that will appeal to broader audiences.
As primarily a children-focused company, are you not potentially courting controversy by going into free-to-play with World of Warriors?
Warriors offers entirely optional in-app purchases. These purchases are never required to play the game, but can be used to enhance some elements of gameplay. We’ve been careful to ensure that there’s a good slew of starting Warriors, so you can have a really good play through for free. We wanted to be sure that everyone has fun, gets good warriors and gets good value.
Could you tell us something quirky about the Candy Labs studio? Given the London office has its own slide.
We use an ocarina to signal meetings, we have a studio puppy and we are all recovering from a Burrito addiction.
Do you have more new projects bubbling away at the studio?
Our plan is to grow The World of Warriors massively – this really is just the start. We have so much to add to the core game now that it’s live.