Earlier this year my house was over-run by winged monkeys. Of course I don’t mean literally, but the influence of this endless-runner game genre had everyone…and I do mean EVERYONE in my house, under its spell. Including my tween daughter.
Over the next few weeks and months I watched her look for more games like this…games that combined action, adventure and her, well, girlie, interests. We really couldn’t find any. What we did find were alluring games dedicated to dressing up and creating characters—some were absolutely fantastic (more on that topic coming in another post)—and games about making cakes and serving food. There’s even one about making sushi. Some of my findings were absolutely fantastic (more on that topic coming in another post)I had to believe there was another message to send to girls—mine included. This, coupled with what appeared to be a need (and an opportunity) in the market sparked an idea: create an action game that was challenging and still feminine.
At the same time, our team was tasked with planning for 2012. One team member, an engineer, was championing a game project and had been doing some research on the Unity platform. When I came back and told the group we would in fact be exploring a game, but one for a young female demo, perhaps he felt he should have been a bit more specific in his pitch, but nevertheless, a game it was…or might be.
As with any project, first we had to decide if there was a market for us to enter. Clearly the gaming economy had exploded, but for us to standout, we needed data to substantiate this gut feeling we had, that there was opportunity to create excitement within a demo we knew well—namely girls and young women—and leverage interests they are already passionate about—the world of fashion, models and fashion shows—and develop a new kind of entertainment in the form of a game that would be engaging and fun. As it turns out, there was a market. I won’t go into the math too much but of the 80+ million mobile gamers currently in the market today, a substantial percentage are young and female and they are just as active as their male counterparts.
As much as we believed this was an underserved audience, we also felt this audience was unique and so we looked at other forms of entertainment influencing young women and girls today. We didn’t have to look much further than the latest movies, books and TV shows. Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, Twilight and, even to a certain extent for older audiences, Fifty Shades of Grey have all become multi-media entertainment brands for this audience that have roots in character development and narrative. This is why an important aspect of Fashion Hazard includes this mash-up of gaming, storytelling and character development that focuses on the characters’ relationships to each other and their place in the world at that time.
Without spoiling too much, Fashion Hazard adds style to everyday gaming while testing the player’s agility and poise on the runway. Players begin as a model new to the world of high fashion and at the bottom of Fashion Week’s totem pole in New York City. Her goal is to make a runway round-trip before the clock runs out without tripping, losing her balance, or taking the ultimate spill. She advances by earning achievements, dodging flying objects, fending off photographers and trading her bling for special powers. Like the real Fashion Week, once she’s made it through New York she moves on to Europe, where the game gets harder and the stakes get higher. After players complete all four cities as one model they move on to become a new more advanced model and the process begins again.
Fashion Hazard game features include:
- 3-D graphics and animation with simple tilt, acceleration, touch and swipe gesturing for anytime play.
- Ability to unlock up to 6 characters, playable in all 4 cities with signature sounds, illustrations, and story vignettes about their lives, romantic struggles and professional intrigue.
- Special power-ups such as immortality, coin magnet and more.
- Compete & Share: Players can opt to compete with other players using Game Center leaderboards, or share achievements with family and friends on Facebook and Twitter…it’s completely up to them.
- The Boutique: Offers players the opportunity to purchase additional model packs, bling bundles to add more to their game bank and Fashion Hazard themed digital goods like wallpapers and ringtones.
- Universal App – Get the initial download for iPhone and iPad, all for one price.
- Sound track override: Players can use songs from their iTunes library as the catwalk’s background music. And more…
So when people ask me what I did on my summer vacation, I can honestly say I played games all summer…Ok, A game all summer. It just happens to be one we made, and it’s the first one we’ve ever made here in house, or using Unity—a platform no one in this group had any experience with just 8 months ago—so suffice it to say I’m incredibly proud of this group. There will be updates, new characters, stories and news to come and it will be posted here, on Twitter and Facebook so Follow and Friend us. And of course, please download the game and let us know what you think in the comments and on the App Store. We are all ears…
Special Thanks – One of the primary operating principles in the iPG group is that collaboration is a skill. We have been exceptionally lucky to have been able to collaborate with some of the best, both inside and outside our organization. Special thanks to our Conde Nast colleagues: Bane Hunter, Louville Moore and Susan Portnoy for all their fierce dedication and tireless efforts to help bring Fashion Hazard to life in what felt like a short period of time. Also, many thanks to our friends at Sonic Union. We owe you one…ok, maybe two. To see a complete list of all the fantastic folks who made Fashion Hazard happen find the game credits here.
For more information about the game, go here.