Saving Xena is a social puzzle game with “brain training” aspects, which will operate on various platforms including Facebook, once released by Brightmind Studios.
Speaking to HumanIPO, South African Marco-Hans Van Der Willik, chief executive officer (CEO) of the game creating company, said he has been busy with Saving Xena since April 2012 and intends to launch it on a global scale.
“The storyline is about bunnies, [the hero of the game] Tom’s girlfriend gets kidnapped by his evil brother and he needs to save her, but… the actual game is puzzles, so with each stage you get a puzzle,” said Van Der Willik.
The puzzles include obstacles, which the main character of the game has to get through before advancing to the next stage.
The game features 12 chapters and 72 levels in total. Furthermore, it allows players to be able to create maps.
“The maps will go through a mostly automated quality assurance process before being published. After a map has been published users can rate maps,” said Van Der Willik.
Thus far an early demo version of Saving Xena is available.
“It’s… quite difficult to say when it will be finished, because one always tends to… add in more and more functionality, but I’ll definitely say it will be finished this year.”
Van Der Willik said Saving Xena will first be launched on Facebook and will later feature on both Apple, Android and desktop/PC platforms.
Launching the game on the Android and Apple platforms will make the game scalable to smartphones and tablets.
Regarding challenges in setting up Saving Xena, Van Der Willik said the challenges were similar to any challenge facing any startup in Africa.
“It’s always resources. In hindsight I would’ve probably chosen a company that is more cash flow positive. When you develop a product you always invest money upfront and only when the product is finally ready do you start getting cash flow,” said van der Willik.
Van Der Willik added: “For South African startups I would actually recommend they find a business where they get cash flow from the start.”
On the topic of cash flow, Van Der Willik said users will not pay to download the Saving Xena application, but will be monetised through in-app purchases.
In-app products include power ups for the bunny, which will essentially boost the characters chances completing levels.
Saving Xena will come with a payment platform and the purchases will be able to be made through the various platforms’ payment options.
“For Macintosh (Mac) and PC (personal computers), you will have to use PayPal,” as well as through a payment mobile application called Boku.
“The one cool thing is that if you buy something, because you use the same game account across all the platforms, when you buy credits on Facebook, you can get a hold of those same credits on Apple, Android or PC anywhere, and that’s something that Angry Birds currently doesn’t have,” said Van Der Willik, who added a map editor is something Angry Birds does not feature.
“Another great feature of Saving Xena, is that players can compete with each other across platforms. In other words; an iPhone user can compete with his Android friends,” added Van Der Willik
Saving Xena’s development team includes four animation artists, two of which are from Romania, one from the United States of America and the other from Australia.
Van Der Willik noted women between the ages of 35 and 45 seem to play games on social media platforms or “Zynga” styled games the most. He based this on a research study by DataGenetics.
Furthermore, Van Der Willik said he has created an 80 page specification regarding the “server side” of the game, which his developers from the Ukraine have called a “monster server specification”.
The reasons for the complex server specification include “95 per cent lower costs compared with other gaming companies” and “100 per cent less support costs”.
The game architecture includes cross genre functionality, meaning the game can be “reskinned” to feature, for example, robots instead of bunnies.