What is it with the Smurfs? They’ve been around for seemingly ever, and then out of nowhere they become a huge force in gaming. First there was Smurfs’ Village on iPhone, and then The Smurfs & Co, which recently launched on Facebook. We decided to talk to Ubisoft’s Samson Mow, executive producer on The Smurfs & Co, to learn more about the game and just why the Smurfs are so darn popular.
The Smurfs & Co is based on the comic book series, but was released around the same time as the new feature film. Why was that decision made?
It was a goal for the development team to release The Smurfs & Co game in time with the movie both to catch the Smurf buzz (Global Smurfs Day, Smurfs Week, and the release of Ubisoft’s Wii and DS titles), and also because we had the opportunity for some interesting cross promotion activities with the movie. For example, one of the quests in The Smurfs & Co actually gives fans of The Smurfs movie an “Outdoor Cinema Workshop” for free, and we have more promotions on the way.
Licensed games don’t tend to have the best track record on Facebook. Why do you think The Smurfs & Co has managed to buck this trend? What is it about the Smurfs brand that has made it so enduring?
The Smurfs is a very well loved and cherished brand that resonates well with the core demographics of casual gamers on Facebook. It’s something that can be enjoyed by all age groups and delivers a very nostalgic experience for those players that grew up with our blue friends. We’re also seeing that The Smurfs & Co is a game that parents are playing with their children too, which makes The Smurfs & Co a delightful family experience as well.
Do you think the momentum of the game will be able to continue as the buzz around the film dies down?
Definitely. While the movie is immensely popular and has done an amazing job to promote the brand, and drive interested fans to The Smurfs & Co, the classic Smurfs have been going strong for decades, and we expect that trend to continue. In addition to the buzz from the movie, Ubisoft will consistently release new content and features for The Smurfs & C. to keep fans entertained and engaged.
Were you at all worried that the style and gameplay of The Smurfs & Co would clash with the mobile game Smurfs’ Village, which offers a similar experience?
From the very start we were focused on delivering a compelling online social experience. For the The Smurfs & Co, the core experience is to build a city with friends, whereas Smurfs’ Village is more of a solo experience centered on farming. We are also aiming for more a role playing type of experience as we give the player an avatar so they can actually play as a Smurf, interact with other Smurfs, and complete quests to move through the story.
How do you plan to support the game going forward? What updates can fans expect?
We have a lot of exciting updates planned for the game which should keep our fans very excited. Following the storyline of the game, players will be working hard to help Papa Smurf create a special potion. The long journey to Smurf that potion will bring players to wondrous new settings like a mushroom forest, snowy mountains, and more. Plus, in the coming weeks we’ll be adding more quests and workshops so players can further customize their towns.
Can you tell us anything about Ubisoft’s future exploits on Facebook? Any new games coming up?
Ubisoft is glad that our fans have been so enthusiastic about our initial social games, and they can expect a lot more to come, even including some based on Ubisoft’s brands like Ghost Recon. In the coming months we’ll be revealing more about future social games and Ubisoft’s digital gaming strategy.
Any final words for your fans?
Thanks for having fun with us!