Following the release of a maiden branded title in the Hugo: Up & Away crash game, CasinoBeats has been getting the lowdown on a FunFair Games introduction which came about following a partnership with IP holder 5th Planet Games.

In the first of a two part special, Mark McGinley, CEO at FunFair Games, elaborates on the importance of partnering with well known brands, ensuring correct representation and if we can expect similar such moves going forward from the studio.

CasinoBeats: How did the collaboration between FunFair Games and 5th Planet Games come about?

Mark McGinley: We first met in Malta during the SiGMA conference in November 2021. Mogens really liked the ideas that FunFair Games had and the creativity the company showed in our existing product portfolio.

This led on to speaking about the Hugo IP that 5th Planet Games had access to, and we eventually started talking about its suitability to the crash genre and it all kicked-off from there. It started off as a curious discussion and evolved into an exciting collaboration.

CB: How important is it for a game studio to partner with a well-known brand such as Hugo? 

MM: Partnering with 5th Planet Games’ established brand Hugo gives us the opportunity to create a unique and immersive crash-style game that allows us to tap into a valuable new audience, boasting a wide fan-base from around the globe.

The Hugo brand itself is also very popular as the 90s interactive live TV game show aired in more than 40 countries and produced several video and mobile games which had great commercial success and received global recognition.

“This Hugo game is a serious door opener for us”

People are always looking for ways in which they can remain invested in their favourite content, and this is the case with the loveable troll Hugo. A reimagined Hugo product gives the brand an entirely new experience and offers viewers more ways to stay connected. 

This Hugo game is a serious door opener for us, creating real differentiation to our product offering, which we expect will secure more and better distribution in a crowded marketplace. Hugo: Up and Away! is an immersive crash-style game, which sits within the non-traditional gaming vertical, a space that is attracting a huge amount of very positive interest, appeal and excitement, and differs immensely from the online slot market it has been in for a while.

CB: How did you ensure Hugo was correctly represented in the title while ensuring the game offers maximum entertainment and thrill?

MM: At the beginning of the project, we were not as familiar with the character and were surprised to discover it had a considerable following with a range of backstories and adventures. From here we knew the direction we could take it, and this inspired us to create a fresh update to the way Hugo was represented, adding to the characters’ evolution.

One of the direct inspirations was an iconic scene in the hit TV show, which was an ideal fit for a crash-based game, as it featured a vehicle that gave the feeling of progression and the chance of failure at any moment.

For this adventure we wanted to reinvent Hugo’s story, which is why we’ve put Hugo in the driving seat and allow him to get some revenge on his old foes; Scylla and Don Croco. This time he’s the one causing pain and anguish by stealing their prized jewels!

“Branded titles are a fantastic acquisition tool”

CB: Did you work closely with 5th Planet Games throughout the whole process?

MM: From the very start and throughout the entire development process, we had an excellent and close relationship with Mogens at 5th Planet Games. Regular Skype catch ups were essential to ensuring a smooth turnaround time for ideas, showcasing the state of a playable version and streamlining the creative approval process, so Hugo, and his world, were represented in their best light.

Mogens and 5th Planet Games were very supportive and happy with where we took Hugo, and fans – both old and new – will hopefully enjoy jumping onboard with the adorable troll in his latest adventure.

CB: Can we expect to see additional branded games from FunFair Games in the future? 

MM: Working on branded game titles is a very exciting avenue for us, and this is something we would definitely like to continue into the future, and who knows what the future holds, but we are not ruling out anything! Working with 5th Planet Games on our first branded title, Hugo: Up and Away!, has been a fantastic experience and one that we hope will be received well in the industry.

Branded titles are a fantastic acquisition tool that can be used to attract more than just regular gamblers. Those that had an emotional resonance with the brand itself, be it a TV show like Hugo, comic book or cartoon, can now enjoy a new truly immersive game experience.