Backflip aims to be choosy with the mobile games it publishes

Backflip Studios' newly formed publishing house, Backflip Publishing, aims to be selective with its partner choices, rather than cast a wide net, CEO and founder Julian Farrior told Polygon during a recent interview.

According to Farrior, the company's publishing work actually started about a year ago, after it was approached by LightBox Interactive president Dylan Jobe and HandCircus founder Simon Oliver. Farrior said that the company is seeking partners who have interesting products and ideas that aren't quite in the mobile space already. Backflip agreed to publish recently announced titles PlunderNauts and Seabeard.

PlunderNauts, LightBox's upcoming title, is a deep space pirate game; the developer is best known for titles such as Starhawk, a third-person shooter released for PlayStation 3. According to Jobe, the developer is working to make PlunderNauts easily approachable while still providing a deep experience.

"Going into the mobile space, we wanted to bring in our action genre DNA, but repackage it for mobile," Jobe said. " ... We want to have epic space battles in the palm of your hand, essentially."

The game, which is already available in select territories as part of a soft launch, allows players to cruise around space while engaging in battles and upgrading their ships. Each battle will last anywhere from 60-90 seconds, Jobe said, and each ship in the game plays a little differently.

"We want to partner with people who push the envelope."

HandCircus' cross-play title for iPhone and iPad, Seabeard, meanwhile, combines adventure with trading. Players visit different islands to collect items, explore and tackle monsters. Oliver said the developer is trying to convey the idea of a "living, breathing world," that will include pets and events depending on the time of day, similar to Animal Crossing.

"I think there's some things that Animal Crossing does really well, and there's definitely some things we want to have a similar feel to the game," Oliver said. "That sense of intimacy with the world, that sense of visiting a real place. I think it lends itself really well for sessioning. We want something people can just dip into for five or 10 minutes each day."

According to Farrior, both games fit the publisher's portfolio for being "enormously approachable" and high quality products. Additionally, they match Backflip's philosophy for its customers.

"Our approach is to not extort the user, to not put in any steep paywalls, to provide content on a bi-weekly basis ... and to do a quarterly gameplay update," Farrior said. "I'm constantly bringing new content to the games, and that will be our expectation working with these two partners."

Farrior added that Backflip is more interested in pursuing the next big thing, rather than replicating what's already out there.

"I think to evolve the studio, we want to partner with people who push the envelope," he said.

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