Arseny Lebedev went over elements a game should have to be fun during his session at Casual Connect USA 2014. “I initially thought that fun is a risk-reward thing, that fun is all about how much you are rewarded,” he explained. “But we’ll figure out that’s not really the case.”
After that, he went on to co-found a development studio together with Ivan Tkachenko who already spent 10 years in game industry. “We have been creating amazing stuff with the talent and energy of our team,” indicates Lebedev, proud of the growth that the studio has experience in the last years, from 2 to over 35 members. “Our team has developed the biggest games and IPS in the world, making us feel proud.”
A Cancelled Dream
But the progress of the company has not been continuously smooth. Over a year ago, they were given what seemed a dream project, a large mobile game with a large publisher. He claims the IP was his favorite of all time. However, a series of unfortunate events, including delays and corporate changes, led to cancellation of the project. He remembers, “I couldn’t sleep for weeks.”
Finally on one evening, he rationalized the situation and woke up the next morning feeling great. He feels this experience changed the way he makes decisions at Signus, simply because there are sometimes too many uncontrollable factors. He admits, “Now I’ve loosened up, and I think the team feels it.”
Relaxation Found in Games
For Lebedev, his idea of relaxing includes philosophy in seclusion, traveling the world, and of course, playing awesome games. Hungry Shark, Bubble Witch 2, and internal Signus projects are his current mobile favorites.
He is also an Xbox controller fan, following controller evolution closely since Sega Dreamcast. He is impatiently waiting for Witcher 3 because he also loves AAA games, especially those with strong story elements.
Finally, he seems excited about new platforms, especially tablets. “The iPad Mini is an incredible device! I’m still amazed something so small and light can exist!” he declares.
Neither Superior Nor Inferior
When it comes to business models for games, Arseny owns his strong opinions affirming that Free to Play (F2P) and Premium games should not be compared with the same criteria.
“F2P can provide amazing short bursts of fulfillment and joy over a game’s lifetime,” adding also “premium can give the same joy for a longer burst, but likely for a shorter total period.” “Neither design is superior nor inferior,” he concludes. Additionally, he points out the F2P empowers a title to reach a huge audience. His challenge is to create a substantial storytelling method within F2P design.
Because indies can develop a hit for almost nothing, on a profit margin basis, they can exceed the success of an AAA publisher. He expects console developers will also try to allow indies to develop content more easily. He claims, “We will see the return of the mods from the PC days.”
In July 2014, Signus Labs launched Hidden Fortune, which is its first hidden object game on iOS that allows play for real-life currency in the United States, thanks to B-Spot. By discovering and unlocking the objects, Hidden Fortune gamers can play just for fun or by wagering real money.