We sat down with Patrick Wylie, VP of the Big Fish Studios, makers of the Mystery Case Files series, to talk about the hidden object games genre and how the new formats and platforms like F2P and streaming will impact the genre.
How do you see the future of hidden object games with all the new platforms and formats coming out?
The future of hidden object games is very tightly connected to the platform. You have tablets that are a great fit for hidden object games. They will likely advance the game genre, because it is a closer physical interaction; I can wipe of dust on a desk or move away water to reveal hidden inscription in a truer way. Also simply just tapping the objects and moving elements in the puzzles, is more tactilely interesting, rather than through a mouse courser. To compare, first person shooter games work great on PC, but they perhaps don’t work as well on a tablet when you are pointing your finger at a person you want to shoot.
Does that mean hidden object games only are going to be found on tablets in the future?
No not at all, because we can save the progress with a game on any device they have. Imagine playing home on a PC or a TV, and then later continue the game when you are on the go on the bus for instance. It is still something we want to explore more, but I think there are some interesting player situations here that can bring hidden object games and the long narratives they have into the usual small time-slot situation. This is usually an area covered by other casual games, like match 3 games, or Angry Birds, but this technology allows us to bring more in depth games to it, too. Our new game Dark Manor is an example of this.
Is the narrative in the hidden object games going to be impacted by the new platforms?
It’s true that game narrative is very much connected to the format, and we do see this with free-to-play games, which is a very interesting format for games. (Free-to-play games are free games, but with the possibility of buying in-game items.) You have this more elaborate story, very much like how a TV-series develops their story. There is a main narrative, but then you also have these offshoot narratives, which allows for a lot of flexibility.
The hidden object games market is well fitted for this free-to-play-format. Take the Mystery Case Files series as it is now. There is currently nine 9 games in the series, and together they form an overarching narrative. But each individual game is its own story within itself. This is similar to quests in the over-arching story of a free-to-play-game. So in a sense the Mystery Case Files series is already built in the same structure as most of these free-to-play-games.
Is Big Fish Studios doing anything interesting with regards to these new platforms?
Yes, for sure, we launched the game Dark Manor, and it is taking up some of these new opportunities. We are very excited to see how this will go, especially the fact that you can start on your iPad or PC, and check in on your iPhone when you are on the go. It is the beginning of playing your game on any device and anywhere you want, and for us that is going to be interesting to see how that will develop in the future with all these screens all over. On top of this, it is the most beautiful hidden object game we have ever created.
Read more about the new features in the game here.
Watch the trailer: