Image & Form: Interview and Giveaway!

The Anthill website states that the game has an award-winning user interface. Can you tell us a little more about that?

It’s a direct translation from Swedish, and it probably could say “grant-winning” (in our language the two are interchangeable) if the word exists. We received a substantial grant from the Nordic Game Program, which helped us develop the game. We’ve had a chunk of change ever since the work on Josefine, but we wouldn’t have been able to develop Anthill without the grant from NGP.

Anyway, they were intrigued by the inventive UI that we described in our application, and so we were awarded the money. So in many senses of the word, the game has an award-winning user interface. In any case, the Anthill UI is inventive, unique and simply great.

As an established developer, how do you judge whether an iOS project is ultimately successful, from a strategic business perspective? Does the project need to merely cover its own costs, or does it need to turn a certain net profit? Or has Image & Form adopted a more long-tail strategy, where each successive title is expected to give your brand a little more market penetration until you can finally hit the jackpot, even if you’ve taken a loss in the short term?

For starters, a game has to eventually break even, and then it must show a profit. If it doesn’t, the developer/publisher has failed at something. We cannot develop games that aren’t profitable, or at least show the potential.

Each game has its own tail, and the choice of platform may decide how long that tail will be. SteamWorld TD took a while, and finally turned profitable – without a remarkable marketing effort from us. Our first iOS game, Gyro the Sheepdog, was an economic failure, but then again, we were green back then and it was a good way to learn all the other aspects of publishing to the platform.

Getting good reviews is also a kind of success, since it paves the way for coming titles and provides for the long tail. However, without economic success, it’s hard to justify developing games. The long tail for a slew of games is very interesting, and I believe that we may have to create simpler, more directly appealing games in the near future. Still, the basic premise is to make great games, and we think Anthill should be able to “support its own weight.” All of our games will have to show that potential.

Finally, we believe that Anthill has the potential of being the “jackpot” you speak of. The hard part, naturally, is to make people aware of the game.

And that’s a wrap! Big thanks to Brjánn Sigurgeirsson, CEO of Image & Form, for taking the time out to grant us an insightful and candid interview.

But wait! It’s not over yet! We can’t just wrap up an interview this long without some kind of Twitter contest, right? The folks at Image & Form have given us one promo code for Anthill, and it’s going to one lucky iFanzine reader! Here’s what you need to do for a chance to get this excellent upcoming strategy title into your iDevice for free:

A.) Make sure you’re following both iFanzine and Image & Form on Twitter, and re-Tweet this interview at least once.

B.) Boost your chances of winning by liking iFanzine on Facebook, or giving this article a +1 with the Google+ button right at the top corner of this page!

C.) Comment below to let us know you’ve done so. This giveaway will last until Anthill releases next Thursday, October 6. And before you close out of your Twitter account, don’t forget that WEEKENDIOSAPPALOOZA is still on for a few more days!