We had the pleasure of sitting down with Hipster Whale co-founder Matthew Hall, the Australian studio responsible for the mobile smash hit Crossy Roads, released in 2014.
The original Crossy Road has been downloaded over 120 million times. Upon asking Hall when he realised that he had something special he had the below to say:
“We originally planned to spend 6 weeks on it but once we got to that 6 week point we started to realise that this is actually quite interesting and I think this is working. There was a moment there where we were adding all those characters, but we started to add in other well-known characters such as the DOGE meme. I started to code him in and I send the version to Andy and said to asked him if he wanted to try the character. Of course the DOGE meme popped up in Comic Sans and Andy just started laughing. We realise at that point that the game was funny and it was really starting to work from a humour angle. That’s when I really wanted to share it with my friends and that’s when I realised that people would talk about it”
Crossy Road has always been on many people’s radar, as it’s arguably one of the most successful games to come out of Australia. Hipster Whales approach to free-to-play has always been an interesting one.
“The key for me is with a free game, you can reach 10 times as many people, and thats why I make games. So that people will play them. It’s obviously important to make money at some point. That was always the key goal in the way that I make games.” Hall said
Undoubtedly Hipster Whale have had a number of requests to collaborate. I wanted to know why Disney Crossy Road felt like a natural fit.
“We were introduced to Disney by a mutual friend so we had this diagloue of what could we do with them. The idea of making a completely new game and improving on the niggling issues of Crossy Road felt like a great opportunity.
Hall went on to describe exactly how Disney has helped evolve the Crossy Road series with familiar characters and locations.
“Disney as you know have a huge library of IP being built up over many, many, many years. There’s a lot of opportunity there with not only the characters of those franchises, but the worlds themselves. There are 100 characters to unlock at launch, but they come from 9 different worlds. In each world you play, we change the Crossy Road rules. So for instance Mickey and Friends is standard Crossy Road, but the moment you play for instance Toy Story, which is set in Al’s Toybarn, you’re faced with long corridors with gaps in the aisles which, also have chattering teeth and balls bouncing at you which is absolutely chaotic. This makes it a completely different game.”
I went on to ask about some of his favourite Disney characters, in particular those that are included in the game.
“I really love the Imaginary Boyfriend from Inside Out. The character has unique traits in the movie which have come across to the character in the game. For instance, each time you jump, your Imaginary Boyfriend will change which can also be killed by traffic.” Hall laughed.
The most exciting thing about Disney Crossy Road is that this is another chance for Disney to cross promote future titles and Hipster Whale to keep thinking of creative new ways to integrate their characters.
Disney Crossy Road is out now on iOS/Android. Some of the franchises currently featured are Zootopia, Haunted Mansion, The Lion King, Tangled, Big Hero 6, Inside Out and Wreck it Ralph.