A group of 17 artists, designers and developers with a shared passion for games founded, in 2012, Game Cooks. Based in Lebanon and catering to the world, the young and vibrant team, creates fun and feel-good adventure type games with an Arabic twist.
The company is focused on producing international games for iOS and Android. So far, it has launched five mobile games (Run for Peace, Déjà vu, Captain oil, Nerds and Scrab it) and is eagerly preparing for the launch of its sixth game, entitled Escape From Paradise. ArabAd talked to the team behind Game Cooks whereby they explained how their company became a reference in mobile gaming in the Middle East.
Lebnan Nader, Co-Foudner, General Manager said: “In the Middle East, the demand for mobile games is high. It is the supply that is still low, making it a very exciting time for aspiring gaming developers in the region.”
He added: “The gaming industry just this past year has seen a lot of changes – some companies have closed their doors while other new gaming companies have emerged. The consensus is that this is a relatively new market, one that has yet to be fully explored. However, the market opportunity is huge; this is evident when considering that the region has some of the world’s most active game consumers. The demand is there - it’s the supply that has yet to catch up.”
As for Game Cooks, the role we play is that of innovators. This is crucial for us and is a factor we incorporate in everything we do throughout the game development process and beyond, he asserted.
As for how they spread the word on Game Cooks and their games, Nader said: “When we were still starting in the industry, we initially relied on our network of peers to act as brand ambassadors and spread the word for us. As we gained more experience and launched our first official game as Game Cooks, Run For Peace, that’s when we really started reaching out to renowned bloggers and the media in general to announce our new game to the target audience. We also rely on discussion forums and social media as platforms to interact with our audiences and get feedback. We do not advertise, restricting our advertising efforts to social media channels alone. In what we do, game development and marketing go hand in hand.”
Arz Nader, Co-Founder, Creative Director at Game Cooks said: “There is no universal design when it comes to developing mobile games. There are many different styles that are being applied; making it challenging to create something new what with the competition being what it is today (here we are talking international competition and not local). Still, we work hard to continuously push the boundaries of our creativity to come up with a game concept that is truly unique and reflective of the Game Cooks standards.”
However, Arz asserted, there is no definitive or set process behind the creation of each character in each one of their games. Instead, each character is the result of numerous creative sessions by members of the design team along with the remainder of the Game Cooks team. “Countless changes and modifications are done to a character based on the evolution of the game feel, concept and story as well as the design team’s creativity and daily inspirations.”
“Our target audience is mobile gamers in general. We have yet to build a game that is truly targeted to a niche market. When we first started, we developed games that were geared to Middle Eastern gamers. But as our games gained global popularity, we shifted our focus to developing games for the international market, making sure to include an Arabic twist that people from the region can relate to and the international market can appreciate. This can come in the form of Middle Eastern elements within the game to creating games inspired by Middle Eastern scenarios,” Lebnan asserted.
We are constantly looking for our next big idea, brainstorming to come up with a concept and a new story for our next game…
Escape From Paradise
A game inspired by the happenings in the Middle East
While reason dictates that Heaven is the place to be, the hero of a new game Escape from Paradise seems to disagree and is desperately looking for a way out! The story of this game closely resembles our situation in the region – while the Middle East has a Heavenly side to it, we constantly seek to escape it!
Game Cooks, have developed this new adventure game about a cute character called Devi who, after eating a magical mushroom, finds himself thrown through a portal and stuck in Paradise.
The main challenge in the game is finding the right path for Devi to escape Paradise. This unusual and fun filled game is a combination of puzzle and action. Game mechanics are simple yet clever - at each level, the player navigates the game by tapping on the left and right hand side of the screen, helping Devi bounce across obstacles to reach the portal and complete the level.
Escape From Paradise is made up of five themed worlds each with 30 exciting and increasingly challenging levels with dozens of creative and fun paradise-inspired obstacles. The objective of the game is to complete all levels. For players who are competitive at heart, there are three objectives – fastest time and most mushroom and potion collected – that collectively contribute to your final game score.
Game Cooks have taken their gameplay to new heights by giving players 10 fun and creative disguises to choose from. Players also have the ability to customise their character by selecting from a large list of items available to them, making their gaming experience much more fun. With incredible game physics, original sounds and trippy sound effects, the player is sure to be immersed in the game and taken along for the ride.
Escape From Paradise was released on January 16th, 2013 (for iOS and Android) and launched in two versions – a free version and paid version.