November 16, 2016

Rathamn City spreads its sewers around the globe

The rats seen adventuring in the sewers of Rathamn City are drawn by Sandra Kangaspeska.
The rats seen adventuring in the sewers of Rathamn City are drawn by Sandra Kangaspeska.

Despite having zero experience in the field, the Kangaspeska sisters decided to go for their mobile game idea anyway – and now there’s a whole PeliClan team behind Rathamn City.

Publishing a game is a walk in the park. One click, and it’s out there in the digital wilderness.

However, if you want your game to stand out in the vast sea of competitors and succeed, you can’t just let it out of the door and hope for the best. Sandra and Lina Kangaspeska, the creators of Rathamn City and founders of PeliClan, are going to launch their game country by country, preferably travelling to the spot in person.

“Pushing the button isn’t a big deal. The big deal is to see how far we can go if we do this as well as we can,” the two sisters say. “We have ambitious plans to make Rathamn City succeed. If we didn’t put as much effort into marketing as we put into making a great game, that’d mean all the hard work goes to waste.”

Rathamn City, a game in which the player’s task is to save rats and eventually the whole city of Rathamn, has already been released in Finland, and it’ll soon be available in the rest of the Nordic countries. After that, the two sisters are planning on focusing their efforts on India and South America – and eventually their rodents will be unleashed on the rest of the world.

Thankfully, they are not alone in their sizeable quest to spread the ratty love. Peliclan has a pool of people helping with localisation, translations and general things needed in entering new markets. Currently there are team members based in Canada, India, Spain and the US.

After its launch in Finland, Rathamn City landed over 2 000 downloads within the first 24 hours. Once all possible countries enter the rat race, the figure should be much higher.

“A million downloads. That’s the goal,” Lina and Sandra say.

Payazzo led to the birth of a city

In the male-dominated field of gaming, being inexperienced or a woman hasn’t hindered the Peliclan duo. If anything, other Finnish gamemakers have been of huge help.

Sandra (left) and Lina Kangaspeska are the masterminds of Rathamn City.

Sandra (left) and Lina Kangaspeska are the masterminds of Rathamn City.

Rathamn City

“The atmosphere and team spirit are really good in the field of gaming,” Lina says. “Others aren’t seen as competitors, as we all want to see Finnish games do better and better.”

Developing a mobile game was initially just a caprice. Sandra wanted to get creative with graphic design, music has been a hobby for Lina all her life, and a game seemed like something where both of these passions could be put to use.

Then the idea of rats came about, and things quickly got serious. The rats seen adventuring in the sewers of Rathamn City are drawn by Sandra, and the music is composed by Lina.

Initially the Kangaspeskas wanted to create a rat version of the traditional Finnish game payazzo. Very little is left of the original idea, however, as the new Peliclaners joining the team meant that the idea was developed further and further. With the expanding team and the help of skilled coders, Rathamn City was born.

“Our WhatsApp group is still called Rat Payazzo. For old times’ sake,” Sandra says laughingly.

Catchy and nostalgic

A lot of ideas have been flying around the game, and some flushed down the sewer. Its core strengths, if you ask its makers, are its catchiness – you cannot stop playing – and nostalgia. It’s simple and quick to learn, and get a little addicted to, say on a bus journey or in a doctor’s waiting room.

Lina Kangaspeska points out that Sandra’s handwork has received praise from players. Her sketching skills were inspired by the Disney films the sisters saw as children, when things were still two-dimensional and hand-drawn.

The game is free for players, and some extra features can be purchased. The sewer’s revenue stream comes from adverts, which have been made voluntary to make sure they don’t annoy users.

Although a hit game could eventually turn into a source of income, both Kangaspeskas plan to finish their studies. Sandra is studying architecture, and Lina studies medicine.

Even so, Rathamn City won’t for sure be the last game to come out of Peliclan teamwork; especially considering how much has been learned in the creative process and how much smoother and faster things will be next time.

“We get new ideas all the time and hear ourselves saying ‘should we do this next?’”

For now, the focus is fully on bringing Rathamn City from the sewers to the surface.

Text: Anne Salomäki