Digital Harmony Games CEO Jeff Lujan: Keeping His Chin Up
Studio founder plans to bring more crazy hijinks to the company's latest mobile game.
It's a safe bet that you've never dodged falling cat heads in China, or avoided demons while visiting Vatican City, two "bucket list" dreams you're free to fulfill in the bizarre and oddly entertaining iOS release, Chin Up. Right from the start, you know you're in for something special, as construction worker Mr. Chin attempts to balance on a constantly rising platform while dodging all manner of objects, from Chinese finger traps to bonsai trees.
It's strange to say the least, so to find out more, we contacted Digital Harmony Games' CEO Jeff Lujan to learn about downloadable content and Mr. Chin's future.
Chin Up is kooky. Where did this idea come from?
Glad you got the humor. The initial design was a collaborative team effort. We have these monthly design meetings that allow everyone to chip in their unique ideas, ways to stand out from the competition. Eventually, it materialized into a solid design and Chin Up was born.
The game definitely pushes the envelope when it comes to potentially sensitive material. Why did you guys feel the need to create a Vatican City stage?
We really like the idea of Mr. Chin working in unique world landmarks. Internally, we had (have) some great locations, but after building them out, we really felt that Vatican City was the perfect level to end this initial build of "Chin Up". I think our audience will be surprised and excited to see our first expansion cities.
Did you include everything you wanted in the game, or were there some things just too low brow?
When we were creating the game, there were lots of ideas and gameplay mechanics we wanted to introduce. But we really recognized the need to be focused for this first version in order to get the game finished and released. We've started prototyping out new features and game elements for expansion updates and they are already a blast to play internally. We are excited to release these new features soon.
How expansive is Chin Up? Will we see additional levels in the months ahead? Any thoughts on what those may be?
In the original release of the game, Mr. Chin was just employed in China. After the wonderful folks at Touch Village took over publishing, Mr. Chin became known to the rest of the world for his great work and went to Europe. The world is truly his oyster and who knows...he might end up in the States.
Why release the game for free? Are you just crossing your fingers for success via in-app purchase?
We are big believers in the freemium model, both in the success for the business and the accessibility to the players. My co-founder and I are also from the free-to-play MMORPG space. We're no strangers to the model, and know what it takes to make it work without annoying or limiting free players.
Is this a one-time game for Mr. Chin, or will we see him appear in future games?
We know Mr. Chin has more to him than just construction work. Perhaps he might hang his hardhat for another, less volatile profession.