Angry Birds is starting to prove that mobile games might be able to launch the next great entertainment franchise.
So it’s no surprise to see that Hollywood talent is starting to pay attention.
Jeff Matsuda, who was the creative director for ‘The Batman’ cartoon, has co-founded a new gaming studio called Massive Joe with Mike Su, who used to be a vice president of gaming at male-focused online media company Break Media.
“Mobile games could be a source of intellectual property for the movie industry in the way that comic books have been,” Su said. “We have a lot more leverage to experiment here. Jeff has been in the Hollywood system for most of his career and the development cycles take millions of dollars.”
The company is launching a really extreme version of the classic childhood game rock, paper, scissors. This version, called Age of Monsters – Rock, Paper, Scissors Edition, comes with extravagant artwork and intricately designed monsters that players can pick from.
Since synchronous games have historically not performed as well in the casual space because you need to match players in real-time, Massive Joe turned Rock, Paper, Scissors into an asynchronous game. Each player gives their three moves ahead of time. Then when they’re matched with a player, the game rolls as if they’re competing simultaneously.
There’s also a social element to the game, where a player can talk smack about their rival.
The company views this app as the first in a series that will introduce and develop a fictional world.
“We just wanted to get a very simple game out with a universally understood mechanic,” Su said. “We asked Jeff — ‘What would be the most amazing waste of your talent? Let’s do a rock, paper, scissors game!'”
He added, “We wanted to go way overboard. Like what would Michael Bay do if he was making a rock, paper, scissors game?”
The game will eventually monetize through the sale of additional characters or through giving players the ability to see a rivals’ historical stats — like the fact that they might choose scissors 60 percent of the time.
Massive Joe launched the title with an OpenFeint promotion today and is looking into other paid marketing channels to support the app.
Right now Massive Joe is in the process of raising a seed round and just has two full-time people — the co-founders. It’s planning on doing at least one game per quarter and keeping it small at first.