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Dev Inside Look: HalfBrick (Fruit Ninja Team)

February 4, 2011 1 Comment

We here at WP7connect love WP7 and Apps. It would be difficult to have a discussion about these two things without mentioning the Fruit Ninja Xbox Live game created by HalfBrick. What's not to love about this game? As soon as it was released on Windows Phone 7 it went straight to the top. Recently we had a 'virtual' sitdown with our friends out in Australia and asked them a few questions about the game and their company…

1.)    How did you guys come up with the concept for Fruit Ninja?
At Halfbrick we do a lot of conception and prototype work and we dedicate time to working on new IPs and looking into new ideas and directions. Fruit Ninja was spawned from this concept work and via a basic flash game that was used to pitch the game to the company by our now super-famous game designer, Luke Muscat.
After extensive market research and playtesting the best and most successful mobile games, we were confident that Fruit Ninja had major potential to be a huge hit. We worked for weeks nailing everything about the execution and tweaking the gameplay – and thankfully it ended up being even better than we could have hoped for!

2.) How long did it take to port the game to the Windows Phone?

It took us around two months to port Fruit Ninja to WP7 in total. Though, this was not exactly a direct port as we had to rewrite most of the code base for XNA.
3.) Fruit Ninja is one of the top games on the windows phone right now. What's the secret?

I don't think that there is any secret about this. Fruit Ninja was originally released in April 2010 and in the space of 10 months, it has become a well-known brand. We believe that the success that we are seeing with Fruit Ninja is based on a few key principles: anyone can pick up and play Fruit Ninja, everyone likes fruit, everyone likes games that represent good value for money.
We are absolutely dedicated to ensuring that when someone purchases a Halfbrick game that it is great fun, it is accessible, it is technically sound and if there is a problem our fans know that it will be resolved quickly.
4.) Recently, Halfbrick launched Raskulls as an Xbox Live Arcade game on the Xbox. Any chance we might see a mobile version in the near future? Any future?

That would be great, wouldn't it? We certainly believe that Raskulls is a great game, but as it has only just released on XBLA it is a little early to tell if we will be taking it to the mobile market. Raskulls is a game that Halfbrick poured the love into, and the characters and style are certainly something worth taking to another platform.
5.) From my experience, people really seem to enjoy earning achievements on the go. From your end, does that bring another layer of entertainment compared to other mobile OS's?

Absolutely, the Xbox LIVE Achievement system is such a great incentive for players and developers alike. It is a key point of difference from other gaming platforms and gives the player clear goals in-game and it allows the developer to plan how we would like the player to get the most from the experience. The fact that you can now earn achievements while you're away from your 360 is very cool and something that we plan on taking more advantage of in future updates. There is enormous potential here.
6.) Are you guys biased towards certain kinds of fruit? Where's the grapes?

Yeah, you know we really do have a thing against grapes in particular. They're so small and what's with them being green or purple and notice how they only hang around in a bunch? Well, I've noticed. In all seriousness, we love fruit (yes, even grapes) and the aspect of this game that we never considered would be so much fun is of course the Fruit Facts. Who knew that there were so many fun and interesting facts about fruit? One of my favorite Fruit Facts that we could not actually implement (because we did not want to be responsible for messy microwaves the world over) is. "Grapes explode when you put them in the microwave."  *disclaimer – Halfbrick takes no responsibility for the mess you make, the destruction of your microwave or the injuries that occur if you do try this at home!*
7.) Any future updates/ upgrades planned for Fruit Ninja on WP7?

Yes, we have lots of cool updates planned for Fruit Ninja on WP7. Our first update which will be out very soon will take care of the technical aspects of the game, which will be performance improvements and getting the most out of the Windows Phone, graphical improvements and resolving two tech issues which have our complete focus to resolve. Our goal for the first update is to get the game running as good as we possibly can and improve stability and visuals across the board.
Once we have improved performance and have everything looking sexy we will then be looking at adding new content. We have some very exciting news coming over the next few months, so stay tuned as one of the main reasons that Fruit Ninja has done so well on other platforms is that we support our games post-launch. We love to breathe new life into our games and we love giving our fans more of what they want and more of what they never even knew they wanted!
8.) What's your favorite Windows Phone 7 feature?

Personally I love the ease of use, everything about the WP7 is simple yet intuitive. The other thing that I love are earning achievements on the go and pumping up my Gamerscore while I'm away from my 360. I'm a big fan of the Facebook integration where my Facebook friends automatically get added to my contacts and really the LIVE Leaderboards, Avatar and Profile integration are all standout features for me.
9.) Any other games in the works for WP7?

Yes, but if I told you anything about it.. Barry Steakfries would have to come around and punch you in the face.


You can check out our review of Fruit Ninja here. You can also visit HalfBrick here.

That's it! thanks to Halfbrick and their Fruit Ninja team for the interview…. wait a sec…Why would Barry Steakfries want to punch me if they told??? Only if maybe – just maybe their next game for WP7 is…..  Let me not say, Barry Steakfries looks very intimidating.


Addicted to WP7, 360 and tech in general...

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