3_0_ScanMag_66_July_2014_Text_Svetlana:Scan Magazine 1
Scan Magazine | Special Theme | Finnish Gaming
Left: The brightly-coloured animated characters are bridging the gap between hardcore and casual players. Photo: Nina Suokko. Top middle: Seppänen’s son testing Tale of Ninja. Photo: Nina Suokko. Middle: The company consists of graphic artist Matti Kemppainen (left), programmer Tomi Hietala (middle) and CEO and designer Antti Seppänen (right). Photo: Reijo Haukia / Kouta Design. Right: Climbing the roofs and listening to the discussions of guards can bring depth to the story. Photo: Matti Kemppainen / Afterlife Entertainment.
Bringing the stealth genre to tablets with compelling narrative A year ago, three former Supercell employees decided make a stealth game for tablets. Not only has the genre been difficult to adapt to touch screens before, but Afterlife Entertainment also wanted to swim against the tide of free-to-play games by developing a story-driven premium game. By Tuomo Paananen | Photos: Afterlife Entertainment
Tale of Ninja is different. It is a game with a story in the sense that it has a beginning and an end – much like in the good old days when one could not just buy a new level when getting stuck, according to CEO Antti Seppänen. “We wanted to create an alternative to free-to-play games that don’t really have stories. We were keen to bring our exciting narrative experience to tablets.” The game is located in feudal Japan. The protagonist seeks revenge on a Jester Demon that murdered his family, but in order to slay the demon the ninja has to find a fabled sword called Demonbane. This journey is divided into 20 atmospheric levels of action and exploration.
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“Tale of Ninja is a niche game meant for hardcore gamers, but a vast majority of players on mobile just play casually. To bridge the gap between these two groups, our game has anthropomorphic characters and a bright colour scheme,” Seppänen explains. Triple the challenge Story is a challenge in itself, but according to Seppänen, stealth and action games have been difficult to adapt to mobile devices even without it, mainly because they have so many functions and the player does not have any extra buttons available. “With time, we have achieved an innovative one-touch control scheme for all the actions – no buttons are needed.”
An additional, third challenge was funds. The three members of Afterlife Entertainment, all former employees of Supercell, decided to establish their own independent company straight after graduating from Kajaani University of Applied Sciences in 2013. “We started with zero budget but worked our way through. We are soon in a position where we can proudly present our premium game with an excellent story to publishers. I think we handled the challenge of starting up quite well. Now it’s time to grow.” Seppänen has been booked to give a lecture on video game narratives at this year’s Northern Game Summit, where he spoke on the topic last year as well. “The last time, I gave a lecture in a small theatre. There were more people interested than there were seats, so this year I’ll have a bigger venue,” says a happy Seppänen. For more information, please visit: www.afterlifegames.com
Promoting Brand Scandinavia. Featuring interview with Lars Mikkelsen.