Persistence pays off for Seepia Games
After its first three games clocked up millions of downloads, this games studio aims to duplicate its success.
Besides Helsinki, which Finnish cities would you say are most frequented by tourists? Turku? Tampere? Rovaniemi? Well, kudos to you if your list also contains Lappeenranta. Situated some 30 kilometres from the Russian border, this south-eastern city is a popular destination for visiting shoppers stocking up on a range of tax-free items.
Given its geographical location approximately halfway between Helsinki and St Petersburg, Lappeenranta is sometimes referred to as the meeting place between the East and the West. Yet, for Jani Tietäväinen, CEO of local mobile games company Seepia Games, the city also represents a place where like-minded people come together.
“There is a university here with a focus on international business and marketing,” he observes. “It is a big influence to have the right kind of people around to really start a company.”
A software designer by trade, in 2012 Tietäväinen found himself surrounded by four others who shared his desire to make games. After some time spent tinkering with the concept, Seepia Games was born.
“We have three things that we focus on: free-to-play multiplayer mobile games,” he states. “We love to create these products.”
Seepia Games has since released three games on seven different platforms, with a combined total of 2.5 million downloads. Now, the studio is priming itself for the next level of gamesmanship, building on the success of its most innovative title, 2013’s Permia – Duels.
Set in an original fantasy world, the first instalment of its turn-based collectible card game blended “mechanics from Final Fantasy with rock-paper-scissors elements”. Adding to the eclectic mix were archers, swordsmen, dinosaurs and dragons.
What we showed to the world is only the tip of the iceberg.
“We wanted to create something that is different from the typical ‘dwarves and elves’,” Tietäväinen states. “We are not strict with the usual stereotypes.”
Their detailed work certainly did not go unnoticed.
“It’s always a privilege to be able to play a game when it’s clear that the developers have put a lot of care and effort into it,” observed a review from tradingcardgames.com. Meanwhile, top ratings flooded in from everywhere from China to Brazil, the USA, Europe and Russia.
“What we showed to the world is only the tip of the iceberg,” Tietäväinen admits. “Now, with Permia – Duels II, we are trying to unleash the potential of the game. Almost everything changes. The one thing that will stay the same is the core gameplay.”
Whilst no release date has been locked in, Tietäväinen assures fans chomping at the bit that a second helping of Permia will be available at some stage this year. Whatever the date, the one thing that remains unchanged for players is Seepia Games’ core philosophy.
“We want to be a games studio that our customers can rely on with the content we provide,” he states. “What is common with our games is they are always a little different than other products on the market. We are not producing a direct copy of trending games.”
Offering something new doesn’t extend to altering their free-to-play approach – the Seepia Games crew still refuses to create any financial restrictions to players’ initial enjoyment.
“We are trying to find different kinds of ways for people to interact with the game,” Tietäväinen states. “They should not have to pay because they want to play, but only if they want to make the experience richer, or they want to progress quickly. It should be possible to play as much as they want.”
Text: James O’Sullivan