Insider Q&A: Badland’s Johannes Vuorinen

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“You hear the name Badland, and it gives you a hint that there’s something wrong in our forest.”

That’s how Frogmind co-founder Johannes Vuorinen describes the dark storyline surrounding his award-winning stunner, Badland, a dark, atmospheric adventure Apple thinks so highly of, the game not only won the coveted Apple Design Award, but was even featured in the new iPhone 5C advertisement.

What fans of the game might not realize, however, is this indie darling is the work of just two men who were on a 365-day mission to finish the game.

But don’t think all of the accolades and studio success is going to their heads.

“We just hired our third employee,” laughs Vuorinen, “we’re huge.”

Inside Mobile Apps caught up with the Finnish designer over Skype to get his thoughts on Badland’s new update, the game’s style, and potential plans to bring his game to the Xbox Live Arcade.

[contextly_sidebar id=”693ebebfa273345c411e2d0483f90924″]Inside Mobile Apps: What’s the origin story behind the Frogmind development team?

Johannes Vuorinen: We started the studio about a year and a half ago. We are just two guys who previously worked at a studio called RedLynx, working on a game called Trials: Evolution. But then RedLynx got acquired by Ubisoft, and we decided that we wanted to do something on our own, so we started our own indie studio. We didn’t want to get any investors or any publishers who would get in our way. We just wanted to create a unique game and unleash our own wish entirely. So we started the Badland project in the spring of 2012, and we just concentrated on the game itself. We announced the game summer 2012, and then we posted the first gameplay video in October. And that video, a video with just the game running on an iPad, being recorded by a cheap camcorder, we actually got an e-mail from Apple that said, “Hey, this looks interesting. When are you going to release this?” In addition to that, we got multiple sites to write about the game, so we just kept publishing new videos, and everything went smoothly from there. Then when the launch came, we got the Editor’s Choice globally in both the iPad and iPhone store, we won the Apple Design Award, and they chose us to be part of the five-year anniversary of the app store where we were one of five free games offered. It has been quite an interesting year, I can say that.

IMA: How tough was it to work on a game with no financial backing other than your own savings? Every day, did you work knowing you had a limited time to release the game?

JV: Yeah, basically we used only our own savings, but my wife was a big help, working a job that brought in a regular salary. It was a tough year in that sense, but it allowed us to not concentrate our efforts on how to finance this thing. I’m really grateful to my wife for that.

IMA: How far along were you in the development process when it hit you that you might have something special?

JV: We thought had something precious or special ever since we had the first gameplay prototype and concept art, but since we were just two guys, we weren’t that sure we had something with huge potential globally or anything like that. So when we created that first video, that was the first test of whether or not the world thinks that this is something cool. The day we released that video, that was the scariest day of development. Launch day, we were excited, but the day we released that video, that was such a mix of being frightened and excited all at the same time. But after that day and the reaction we received, that’s when we knew we had something cool. That’s when we knew it was going to be big.