Q & A with Laughing Jackal’s Ross Brierley

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I ask Laughing Jackal’s Community Manager, Ross Brierley about Hungry Giraffe on Vita, thoughts on PlayStation Mobile, and much more.

Tony: Can you give a little history on Laughing Jackal?

Ross Brierley: Laughing Jackal was founded in 2005 as part of the same group as Ghostlight & Midas who actually published our first few titles as boxed products. However, we really came into our own with the launch of Cubixx on the PlayStation Minis platform, which was our first self-published game. Since then we’ve gone on to create several more Minis, including Fighting Fantasy: Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Vibes, the critically acclaimed OMG-Z and most recently Hungry Giraffe.

Towards the end of last year we moved away from Minis and released several games on PlayStation Mobile and also ported Hungry Giraffe to iPhone. Now our sights are aimed at new platforms!

Tony: Hungry Giraffe just released on the Vita. What has been changed from the Minis version?

Brierley: With the Vita release of Hungry Giraffe we’ve had the opportunity to add a huge amount of features that are not possible on Minis games. So, those of you who enjoy chasing high scores will be pleased to know that Hungry Giraffe now features online Leaderboards and – at last – Trophies! ^_^

We’ve also added a new one-shot power up called the “Angel Feather”, which gives you a small boost when you’re in danger of falling to your death and an in-game Store where you can purchase loads of items and upgrades such as extra ‘Hard Hats’, ‘Angel Feathers’, buffs for power-ups and items that nerf the game’s hazards.

We’ve also added three cool new skins to the game for those of you who need a change from watching hungry giraffes and want to try a new animal.

Tony: What are your thoughts on PlayStation Mobile, and are there any updates you would like to see for it?

Brierley: PlayStation Mobile represents an exciting opportunity for companies like us and we were very lucky to be among the first developers to release a PlayStation Mobile title. PlayStation Mobile allowed us to make some of our titles available on several Android devices, while still being able to benefit from the relationship we have built up with Sony who are always fantastic to work with. It also allowed us to bring our games to new countries and – as a fan of Japanese gaming – it was very satisfying for me personally to see some of our games released over in Japan for the first time ever.

Regarding future updates to the platform, it would be great to have the ability to include online Leaderboards, as many of our games involve high score chasing. I’d also like to see PSM spread to include more countries, as it’s always seemed a bit of a shame that our fans in several countries aren’t able to play our PlayStation Mobile games.

Tony: Are you enjoying developing games for the Vita?

Brierley: Definitely. Vita is a developer’s dream in terms of the hardware. Plus Sony’s approach to dealing with indies like us as well as some of our European pals, simply couldn’t be better. They really are offering loads of support, which is incredibly gratifying. Even though we’re quite a small team, I don’t feel like we get any less attention from Sony than the huge publishers out there and we can’t wait to make more games for Vita and the other Sony platforms.

In terms of working on the Vita, it’s been a long time since Cubixx HD shipped on PS3 and it’s great to be able to work on some larger games again, especially when the hardware itself is so awesome. It really is an incredible machine and seems to be gaining momentum with each passing week. More and more of the popular indie teams are climbing on board and it’s a privilege to be among that number.

In terms of the games we’re working on, development has also gone pretty smoothly and it’s been great to get neck-deep in some of the new features the Vita allows us to implement in our games. We hope that our next couple of projects are really going to excite our fans, as well as get lots of new gamers interested in us and our games. ^_^

Tony: How was it working with iOS, and would you like to return to that platform one day?

Brierley: We really enjoyed working on iPhone but the sheer volume of games on the system makes it very difficult for any new product to stand out from the crowd. We therefore took the decision to release Hungry Giraffe initially as free-to-play title in order to gain some traction with users which worked well so we’re certainly planning on revisiting iOS in the future. For the moment though, we’ve currently got lots of Vita projects to keep us busy and we intend to stick with the Vita for at least our next couple of projects. :)

Tony: You were on the list of developers for the PlayStation 4. What is Laughing Jackal cooking up?

Brierley: Hmmm. I’m not sure I can reveal too much about our PS4 plans just yet otherwise I’ll be in danger of someone setting an extremely Hungry Giraffe on me!

What I can say is that we’ve got a brand new title and a whole new IP in the pipeline. And you can rest assured that whatever it is, it will be highly original and an all-new way of playing an established genre. It’s sooooo exciting but I just can’t say more right now. I’m really sorry!

Tony: Any last words you’d like to say to the readers?

Brierley: Thank you for reading. :) We‘re going to be bringing the Vita version of Hungry Giraffe to North America as soon as possible, so keep your eyes peeled for more information on it.

I’d like to thank Ross for taking out the time to answer my questions.

You can check out Laughing Jackal’s site here.

Follow Laughing Jackal on Twitter: @Laughing_Jackal

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Author: Tony View all posts by
Writer and co-host of the COOPBros podcast at CTwisted.
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