Success catches up with Two Men and a Dog
For this Helsinki-based games studio, tapping in to the zombie zeitgeist has come with a comic twist.
Thanks to the likes of The Walking Dead, these days shuffling hordes of the undead are trampling all over our collective consciousness. Yet, in contrast to this typically sombre take on the zombie myth, Finnish mobile game Zombie Catchers is more intent on tickling funny bones than tearing flesh from them.
“We wanted to make the topic more cartoony; it’s more funny than disgusting,” states Matti Kallonen, CEO of Two Men and a Dog, the studio behind the game. “We played around with the idea that what if the zombies were afraid of you and you would hunt them down. It’s more of a Futurama type of universe, not a bloody one.”
Even so, it’s fair to say that the game’s synopsis isn’t for the squeamish:
Two intergalactic businessman protagonists set about enticing zombies from underground, spearing them with a harpoon and eventually placing their catch into a giant ‘squeezer’. Once condensed into liquid form, this substance is eagerly served up to the thirsty public.
Imagination reigns supreme
Back in the real world, gamers have similarly been drawn to what Two Men and a Dog has cooked up, with Zombie Catchers racking up some 18 million downloads altogether thus far. The studio’s fresh approach to the undead has also seen the game accruing 1.7 million euros in gross revenue last year.
Another layer of impressive to this tale is the fact that this is the studio’s first effort.
“Our motto is to create games that no one has ever imagined,” Kallonen says. “Games very rarely do something different and are also fun, addictive and enjoyable to play. That’s a hard place to aim, and is definitely what we want to do.”
It seems that there is plenty more where this came from for the four-person studio.
“We are now finishing the game design for the sequel,” Kallonen states. “We have also started up another team lead by Markus Tuppurainen, the creator of Bad Piggies. The new team is working on a game set in the same universe – a spin-off.”
Not to be outdone, an animation series featuring the two main characters is also in the works.
“It’s a classic combination,” Kallonen admits. “One character is a little bit more quick on their feet, impulsive. The other one is more thoughtful, keeps things on the right track. This creates a lot of good humour.”
The name of the game
And so, with the immediate path ahead seemingly mapped out, the only thing left to contemplate for Two Men and a Dog is the means with which they will successfully achieve their ambitions.
“Right now we are weighing up the option whether we should raise a funding round while we are scaling up,” Kallonen says. “We also have the option to just fund it by ourselves with our profits.”
Needless to say, inevitably this is a dilemma that not many young companies find themselves in. Just another feather in the cap for Two Men and a Dog’s fresh approach, it seems.
Hang on, speaking of different: What’s up with the company name then?
“The first thing people see when they open the game is that it has been made by Two Men and A Dog,” Kallonen explains. “People immediately get a sense of it being playful, and it’s not going to be some super serious strategy game.
“The key factor is we want people to remember the name.”
Text: James O’Sullivan