Hello everyone and welcome once again to Patch Notes, CG Magazine bi-weekly column covering updates, patches, and DLC. This week I’ll be talking about on of my favorite iOS titles Jetpack Joyride by Halfbrick Studios who also make the insanely popular Fruit Ninja series.
Last September I went on vacation to Cuba, and one of my favorite things to do while on vacation is to read. At least that was the plan until I downloaded Jetpack Joyride for my iPad. Within minutes of starting up the game my plans for some leisurely beach reading blew right out to sea. Before long I found myself completely addicted to this simple side-scroller and played it every day for a week, never getting tired of the unique vehicles, tight touch controls and frantic pace as I pushed myself further and further along the game's track. Recently, had a chance to speak to James Schultz, Community Coordinator at Halfbrick Studios about Jetpack Joyride's biggest update yet.
CG Magazine: What's new for Jetpack Joyride in update 1.3?
James Schultz: We've got a huge free update coming out at the end of this month for Jetpack Joyride. The game is doing really well, I think we've hit about 20 million downloads so we've got a lot of fans and that means that we want to give a lot of content to those fans. We're adding a whole new feature to the game called Gadgets. Unlike the Jetspacks and clothing which were only cosmetic this is all game changing stuff. We're introducing 15 new Gadgets you can use two at any one time and once you unlock them you can mix and match them and you'll be coming back more and more depending on how you play the game.
CG: What can you tell me about some of these new Gadgets?
JS: Well, the “Nerd Repellent” is a really specific one we released to help people with the “Germphobe” achievement which requires players to fly really far without touching any coins, any tokens, or any scientists and I couldn't do it without this gadget. So basically it gets rid of all the scientists in the game and then helps people get that achievement. The other ones are more long term things, depending on how you like to play I’m pretty sure we've got you covered. If you like collecting coins you can use the “Coin Magnet” which turns Barry Steakfries into a magnet like the vehicles. We've got the “Flying Pig” which explodes into coins when you hit it and some others will allow you to mess with missiles. There's also the “X-Ray Specs” which help you see the next vehicle drop and also what's inside it. So yeah, we've got heaps of stuff.
CG: Are there any new vehicles in this update?
JS: No new vehicles, we're basically focusing on the Gadgets. There are new achievements though, there's are five new achievements all based on the Gadgets.
CG: How are players going to get their hands on the new Gadgets in game?
JS:This is not an in-app purchase, this is totally free. You just use the in-game coins and none of the Gadgets are too expensive. We just everyone to play and everyone to mix and match and have fun.
CG: Now Jetpack Joyride has been out for a while and Fruit Ninja is doing really well, but what's next for Halfbrick Studios?
JS: Right now we're really focusing on Jetpack Joyride and Fruit Ninja, we're going to keep releasing free updates for those games. We're actually already working on the next update after this one. Now that we have Gadgets in the game, we can keep adding more and we're going to keep doing that. With Fruit Ninja we're looking at expanding the universe a bit. I can't really say what that's going to involve, but you're going to be seeing a lot more in the Fruit Ninja universe. And then on top of that, we're definitely trying to come up with new IPs. So, we're actively prototyping ideas and we encourage everyone to submit ideas. We could actually have over about 15-20 prototypes right now that we're trying to polish and who knows what will happen to them, but we are actively trying to come up with new ideas.
CG: What can you tell me about the prototyping process at Halfbrick?
JS: We actually have a really good system, where we set aside time and nobody is allowed to do any normal Halfbrick work. And as I was saying anybody can submit an idea, it doesn't matter if you're like me who's never done any coding any designing or any art. Everyone has to get involved and basically, people get up and pitch their idea and you can have a team of five people max. If you can't get at least three people to work on your idea you can't do the prototype. So the good ideas rise to the top and the not so good ones they go to the bottom and we take it from there, it's really fun. People get super excited about it, you have no idea how much people want to pitch their ideas and make the games that they want to play. I love seeing it and it's pretty cool.
That's the skinny on the version 1.3 of Jetpack Joyride and as James said it should be available on the AppStore around the end of April. Thanks again to James Schultz for taking the time to answer my questions. I can't wait to try out the new Gadgets in Jetpack Joyride and see what Halfbrick comes up with next.