EDGE - - RE­GION SPE­CIFIC STU­DIO PRO­FILE - Jonas Col­laros Se­nior server de­vel­oper, Clash Of Clans

The free-to-play strat­egy ti­tan is fo­cused on its game­play, not its rev­enues

The free-to-play mo­bile strat­egy game mar­ket is hardly short of op­tions, but few match up to the big­gest hit­ters in the genre, which Su­per­cell has the handy knack of sup­ply­ing. Clash Of Clans man

Jonas Col­laros tells us how the com­pany keeps its games at the top of the charts.

Clash Of Clans has been an in­cred­i­ble suc­cess, and spawned lots of im­i­ta­tors. What do you think is its se­cret sauce?

Well, I think when peo­ple are try­ing to figure out what’s the se­cret recipe, it’s quite of­ten that they look in the wrong places. They look very much at the val­ues that we put in our billing pack­ages and the val­ues we put in the troops in the game, and things like that, but in re­al­ity it’s not a num­bers thing. It’s hard to quan­tify. I would say a lot of the strength of the Clash Of

Clans team comes di­rectly from the Su­per­cell cul­ture as a whole. It’s partly about keep­ing the team re­ally small – the orig­i­nal team was just five or six peo­ple, and it’s still only 15 peo­ple. It’s been some­thing we’ve been com­pletely un­com­pro­mis­ing about the en­tire time. Hav­ing a small team that’s very in­de­pen­dent and has pas­sion­ate de­vel­op­ers that play and care about the game is re­ally the se­cret. It sounds a bit fluffy, but lots of times, when you’re de­cid­ing what the next fea­tures of the game will be, and what our next re­lease is go­ing to look like, you have to have this sense for what feels good not only as a de­vel­oper but also as a player. For me, it’s mostly about the fact that we all play the game and care about the game – we’re de­sign­ing it from the per­spec­tive of play­ers as well, and we want to en­joy the changes that we’re mak­ing. It’s very, very rare that we spend time in our day-to-day work talk­ing about mon­eti­sa­tion mod­els and re­ten­tion fun­nels and things like that. I mean, they’re very im­por­tant graphs, but at the end of the day we’re fo­cused on de­sign­ing the game.

It’s easy to fo­cus on the suc­cesses, but has it al­ways been smooth sail­ing?

No, that’s pretty much the univer­sal thing in the game in­dus­try – it’s never al­ways smooth sail­ing; there’s al­ways some­thing you can be do­ing bet­ter, and there’s al­most al­ways some­thing that you’re do­ing wrong. One thing that we’ve been try­ing to get bet­ter at is mak­ing the com­pany more flex­i­ble in terms of get­ting new ideas out and get­ting new games out there. There’s no short­age of ideas, and lots of pro­to­types come up all the time, but very few of them ever make it to a beta stage. So a lot of dis­cus­sion at the com­pany has been about how we can get faster with this. How do we find the good ideas faster? How do we kill the bad ideas faster? How do we get peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in the right ideas to­gether at the right times? And how do we man­age this with the live games, and the suc­cesses that we have at the mo­ment? That’s a very dif­fi­cult chal­lenge, es­pe­cially for such a small com­pany, and we’ve been con­stantly hav­ing to im­prove.

Other com­pa­nies with Su­per­cell’s rev­enues might well have re­leased more games by now, right?

This way of work­ing is very much more geared to­wards mak­ing games that will last in the long term, games that we can work on for the long term. I can’t see us work­ing in a mode of just throw­ing out games as fast as we can just be­cause we have a lot of mo­men­tum and we want to sort of burn through it. That’s very much con­tra­dic­tory to the sort of long-term ap­proach we want to take.

With 150 em­ploy­ees, Su­per­cell may be one of the big­gest stu­dios in Fin­land to­day, but its in­di­vid­ual game teams are kept small for a rea­son

Founded 2010 Em­ploy­ees 150 URL su­per­

Se­lected soft­og­ra­phy Hay Day, Clash Of Clans, Boom Beach

Cur­rent projects TBA

All of Su­per­cell’s games, in­clud­ing the mon­ster that is Clash Of Clans, are built to last, which means ever-evolv­ing fea­ture sets

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