The story of Lumo Developments begins with an ending; specifically the demise of longtime UK-based game developer Blitz Games. Steve Stopps, who used to work at Blitz and now works with publisher Kumotion, got a text that the laid-off workers now found themselves at a pub across the street from Blitz and were enjoying one last hurrah together. Steve found himself talking to Nic Williams and Jonathan Evans, nicknamed Jogo. And in the drunken haze of Blitz’s last hurrah, Stopps threw out a suggestion: why not come together to form their own studio? Williams had worked on Paper Titans, one of Blitz’s mobile titles that won an Apple Editor’s Choice award. Jogo worked on Kumo Lumo, a Chillingo-published title that picked up similar accolades.
It would have been easy for that idea to just fall by the wayside, but they kept talking. In the weeks that followed, that idea slowly became reality, and now the three of them along with Chris Allen have formed Lumo Developments.
The studio has quietly been working on a new game, Lumo Deliveries. They’re not quite ready to reveal too much about it, but they’re ready to reveal their team to the world and to put their mission statement out there: they want to succeed on mobile with their original vision.
Now, many who follow the mobile scene know that many independent developers are moving away from mobile to go to PC and even consoles. PC might be a ‘dying’ platform in some eyes, but the gaming market is still growing. But Lumo Developments isn’t afraid of mobile and it will be a target for the studio.
Steve Stopps says, “Mobile is our future. I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of touch screens and how tactile that makes gameplay.” Jogo adds, “I think that’s pretty much where my head is as a designer. It’s been waiting for mobile for about 12 years and now it’s happened. I just really like games that come with you and are with you in your life, rather than games that sit in the corner of your room and demand all your attention.”
“I love making games that are sort of with you, and where you are and interrupting you. I enjoy designing games that you actually move stuff around with a directness, you poke at little characters, and other very direct interaction with it rather than clicking on buttons and being abstracted from game experience. Definitely mobile is sort of a big part of what we’re about as creative people and what our next game is going to be.”
And they’re not necessarily scared of free-to-play either. Stopps says, “It’d be foolish to make a game for mobile at the moment without being respectful of what that audience wants. That audience clearly is saying they want them to be free at the point they download them…[developers] aren’t understanding how the majority of people play mobile games. They’re a secondary game, not your primary experience.”
“So the challenge for us is to give something to people they can download as a snack…and then make an experience they can really bite into so they then can choose to spend money in the universe we create for them. Make a game that’s good enough to make them choose to spend money. I think that’s where a lot of developers go wrong. They make games that they wnat to make or they make it purely for a commercial aspect. I don’t think it can be either of those things. You have to make something you believe in as a developer but something for your audience and for your players.”
But of course, even this somewhat pragmatic approach to business doesn’t mean that Lumo Developmentss will try to just copy what everyone else is doing. Stopps says, “I always thought if you got a game universe that looks like nothing else that’s ever been created, and someone who thinks about someone’s experience playing that game, then we’d get that piece of magic. It’s about being respectful to that time playing the game and how they’d play it.”
“From the second players start playing our game, we want to draw them into our world, and get them to understand more about Nic and Jogo’s crazy minds.”
“God help them,” Jogo adds.