Lucky Frame's Yann Seznec Talks Victorian-Era Multiplayer Title Gentlemen!
Lucky Frame has been quite the success story since the developer was founded by Yann Seznec five years ago. In that time, it has garnered plenty of success with software on other formats, won a Scottish BAFTA for Best Game and, surely more importantly, gained a prestigious 148App's Editor's Choice award for Wave Trip. Not bad, eh?
With the recent release of the studio's latest title, Gentlemen!, we took the time to have a chat with founder, Yann Seznec, and learn a little more about Scotland's hottest iOS focused property.
"I founded Lucky Frame 5 years ago, after I made a piece of music software for Wii remotes as a university project [The Wii Loop Machine]. The software got a lot of attention online and I managed to turn some of that attention into a little company! I even ended up on Dragons' Den in the UK," explained Yann, "...[it] was kind of hilarious (I didn't get the money...)."
That didn't deter Yann, though: "Jonathan [Lucky Frame's developer] and I spent a few years working on projects whenever we could, mostly music software and things like Mujik. Eventually we managed to go full time and hire [artist and designer] Sean, to turn us into the three-person studio we are today."
Provided with funding by numerous creative agencies, Yann acknowledged how helpful it has been to have such support: "We have been really lucky to get support from a number of agencies and companies, notably [Scotland's national arts development agency] Creative Scotland, The University of Edinburgh, [UK based TV broadcaster] Channel 4, The University of Abertay Dundee, [innovation focused UK charity] NESTA, and many others." Location is also important as Yann discussed, "Scotland is quite a good place to start a company, partially because of the support you can get if you really dedicate yourself to it. Without a doubt that support is what let us become a full time company, and allow us to focus on creating totally original work."
While previous Lucky Frame titles have been focused on the single player experience, Gentlemen! is, essentially, a head to head beat-em-up, with two players able to participate across the one iPad screen. What inspired the team to pursue such an alternative route? Passion, as Yann explains. "All three of us are really passionate about local multiplayer games," he said. "Some of our greatest gaming experiences come from sitting in a room with friends playing a game on a single screen. I think that on some level the rise of the tablet/phone as the primary gaming device could lead to that experience being lost."
It wasn't a new plan by the team, either. "We've wanted to try and approach that problem for a while," he said. "We even did some experiments like Pyoing which turned out pretty well! Trying to make a local multiplayer game for touch screen raises a whole pile of challenges, which were really fun for us, and the Victorian-era theming really drove the whole design process."
Gentlemen! is also set to be Lucky Frame's first Android release, with Yann explaining that he was initially attracted to iOS thanks to the "accessibility" and "standardisation" that the format brings with it.
With perhaps the best attitude to any walk of life, not just iOS development, Yann wisely acknowledged that the most important thing for the team, in terms of getting noticed, has been to "keep working on projects that we want to produce, and make sure that everything we release is something we can be proud of." Take note, aspiring iOS developers, that's a great way to feel good about future developments.
Thanks to Yann for taking the time to answer our questions. Gentlemen! is out now for the iPad, priced at $4.99. This is also the ideal time to get to know Lucky Frame's back catalogue, comprising of Bad Hotel, Pugs Luv Beats, Wave Trip and more.