Massive Joe aims for a monstrous hit with Escape from Age of Monsters

Massive Joe, the indie studio founded by animator and producer Jeff Matsuda and former Break Media VP Mike Su, is expanding on its Age of Monsters universe with its second game, Escape from Age of Monsters.

Set in the post-apocalyptic Age of Monsters universe, Escape from Age of Monsters is an endless running game similar to Canabalt or Run Roo Run. It follows the adventures of the world’s most unlikely hero, a skinny teenager named Gizzard.  “He’s basically the last guy we’d want to save us from the monsters. Yet he’s all we got,” explains Su.

Unlike Massive Joe’s first game, which was an over-the-top take on Rock Paper Scissors, Escape from Age of Monsters is a single player experience, although players can compete against each other through Apple’s Game Center and Facebook Connect. The company has also changed its distribution strategy for Escape from Age of Monsters. Massive Joe self published its first game, but has decided to team with a relatively new publisher, Ayopa Games for its latest title.

“A lot of people who are successful look back and say, ‘the game was awesome anyway, who needed a publisher?’ However, I think if you look back, many of those successes came on the backs of previous failures, which probably lead them to go with a publisher,” explains Su.

He goes on to say that working with Apoya not only meant Massive Joe was able to get outside feedback on the game, it also aided the studio in setting up relationships with Apple and the media. “They’ve had a great track record in managing their relationships on the marketing and Apple side, and for a small indie developer, that was access that would be very hard for us to obtain this early in the process,” he says.

Matsuda and Su formed Massive Joe last year to take advantage of what they saw as a fundamental shift in entertainment culture, betting the time would come when mobile games would be able to provide the foundation for blockbuster entertainment franchises. With Rovio working on an Angry Birds movie, Outfit7’s Talking Friends on the way to becoming Disney cartoons and Disney already planning merchandise and cartoons for Where’s My Water’s Swampy the Alligator, Massive Joe appears to be headed down the right path.

Several well known industry leaders are also betting Massive Joe has what it takes — the company has pulled together an impressive list of angel investors that includes Dave McClure, Ari Kushner, screenwriter John August and GameView Studios co-founder Riz Virk. Jameson Hsu of Mochi Media and Nick Wilson, the CTO of talent agency William Morris Endeavor are also on board as advisors.

Escape from Age of Monsters is available today in the iTunes App Store.