Archive for January, 2010

A chat with Gangster City’s producer, Li Maomao!

January 28, 2010

Playfish has set a new tone for 2010 with the launch of its twelfth title, Gangster City. We sat down with the game’s producer Li Maomao, who is based in Playfish’s China office in Beijing, to find out what it’s all about. Enjoy!

What do you do at Playfish?
Hello, everyone! My name is Li Maomao. I’m the producer of Gangster City. I’m based in the Playfish China office in Beijing. My job is to oversee the game from concept to release. I supervise the artwork, the gameplay development, plot and overall design and make sure everything is working well together. Essentially, I make the day to day decisions that drive the project.

So what did you want to achieve with Gangster City?
We were looking to create a really new and fresh game that gave our players something new and interesting to do. We wanted to show people what could be done with the genre. Gangster City is a totally different game than anything we’ve created at Playfish. It’s a role playing game (RPG) with a mafia theme. We hope players will enjoy it, play it with their friends, and experience the honor of growing a family.

What does Gangster City do that is different to other social games out there?
Gangster City is different because it is designed to be a high quality social gaming experience using Flash technology, unlike other games of the same genre. It has many different kinds of story based missions, personalized characters and snappy animations. You can get real benefits from your gangster family and share the honor with your friends. For example, if you hire your friends to protect your properties, you can earn more money in the game. Of course, there are many other things you can do which are revealed in later levels.

So what’s the premise of the game?
In the game, you’re told that your father got involved with the mob and was killed. To avenge him, you take a job as a gangster. You meet some old friends and make new friends and your ultimate mission is to find your father’s murderer and survive in the dark criminal underworld.

What was the visual inspiration for Gangster City?
We decided to give Gangster City a really different look and feel – it has the feeling of a comic book or that of an edgy film noir movie, with lots of heavy shadows and strong, bold lines. Because it’s a mafia game, we used a more realistic and mature style. It has vivid color and uses some of the most impressive graphic art we’ve produced to date. I think it will attract a different kind of player to some of our other games.

How do you progress in the game?
You can do missions from non-playable characters (NPC’s) to get experience and level up, and you can invite friends to be your family members and join you in-game for certain jobs. These same friends can help increase your income. You can rob from other players to get extra experience and money as well. There really are a lot of ways to progress!

How can your friends and family help in Gangster City?
Your friends and family can give you extra power and leverage when doing missions. The more members you have, the better. Each member of your gang ‘family’ has a different role as well. You can invite your real friends and family to become a member, then arrange for them to do jobs for you, like protecting your properties.

How can players give you their feedback?
By visiting our forum. Any feedback and suggestions are always welcome! Also, if you become a fan on Facebook, you can get great updates there and find out who else is playing. 🙂

What was the biggest challenge in creating this game?
I think our biggest challenge was how to make a “hard core” RPG style game suitable for the more casual player on a social network. We decided to create a simple user interface without too many links so that the player wasn’t overwhelmed. We also decided to feature a deep, immersive storyline through different missions using vivid animations and voice-overs to help our players get into the game as quickly as possible.

So what’s your Gangster name?
“King^^”. My English name is “King Lee”. It’s the first word I’ve learnt in English when I was a kid. I put the smile face “^^” after it because I want to be a polite gangster 😛

What do you hope to see happen in the future with Gangster City?
I hope all players can enjoy this game and make more interesting things happened. I hope this game will attract players who hadn’t considered playing one of our games before – Gangster City is really different to what we’ve done previously and I think it’ll really surprise and please new and old players alike.

What do you like the most about Gangster City?
I like the theme of Gangster City; it gives you freedom to be something completely different and something you wouldn’t do in real life. I also like the casual gameplay. You have a lot of choices in the game. I like that you can experience the story or compete with others – it’s flexible.

What do you like most about Playfish and their games?
I think Playfish games are full of creativity and give a really fun experience to all our players – whether they are playing regularly or just pop in every now and then. I like the beautiful graphics our talented artists are always creating.  But most of all, I really like the casual gameplay we’re providing our players. It’s something different and it means we can always have a little bit of time to play a game!

What’s your favourite Playfish game?
Gangster City! No doubt. That’s my soul 🙂

What is it like working for Playfish at the Beijing office?
I’m very happy to work here with a lot of interesting people. We are from different countries and different cultures, but we have a same goal: to make everyone happy 🙂

Any final words?
Yes! To our players: Thanks very much for your passion and love to this game. We are preparing a secret gift for every Gangster City fan and it will be coming out soon! 😉

Greetings from Gangster City!

January 26, 2010

The godfathers at Playfish are pleased to announce an offer you can’t refuse: the launch of Gangster City. We set out to take gangster warfare social gaming to a whole new level with an engrossing storyline, involving graphics and game play and a raft of innovative new features. Have we nailed it? Click here and see for yourself.

And now a word from our sponsor.The Gangster City Tourism Board would like to invite you on a tour of our beautiful city (voted America’s 78th favourite large town*). Take a walk through Little Ireland where drinks are served with smiling Irish eyes at Sticky’s bar.  Sticky Mickey has been running Sticky’s bar for 30 years now, and he’s always willing to tell a tall tale about the dark red stains on the floor. And the walls. And the ceiling.

(Sticky Mickey is just one of many interesting characters you’ll meet playing Gangster City, each with their own personality and a wealth of varied missions for you to try your hand at).

Then it’s just a short walk to Broken Hill and the Pantheon nightclub which is always willing to go the extra mile for its clients. Meanwhile the bright lights of Lower East are just a bus ride down the hill where you can find a hot meal at Mom’s Diner — best maple syrup pancakes in town — and the Klondike Casino which is open all night and happy to accept most forms of real estate as collateral against a chip loan.
(The Gangster City map is broken into several sections and you’ll need to increase your level to see them all. Each location includes properties for you to invest in, missions for you to tackle and gangsters and hoodlums for you to meet).

Head north to Upper Grove and while away some pleasant time browsing through the wares on sale by countless cheery fences selling stolen goods.

(Power comes at a price in Gangster City. Once you’ve made it big you’ll be able to buy some pretty special hardware, from muscle cars to rocket launchers. Whatever it takes to bury your rivals for good).

If your idea of a vacation is sun sea and surf look no further than Gangster City’s very own Black Beach (open in time for Summer!), earning the title of Best Beach In Town by the Gangster City Tourism Board since 1978 when the only other beach was closed indefinitely due to lethal levels of pollution. Any bodies found washed up on the shore should be reported to the Gangster City Police Department immediately.

(Gangster City has a unique and immersive storyline which unfolds as you play. You’re not just clicking the ‘Attack’ button until your stamina runs dry, you’re a real person whose father was killed by the Mafia, and you want revenge. There’s even some twists turns and surprises in store for dedicated gangsters).

Have a pleasant stay in Gangster City!

* In 1954.

Announcing the winners of our WWF Ice Animals Competition

January 15, 2010

Another day another set of competition results!

This time we’re announcing the winners of our WWF Ice Animals Competition where we asked you to create a piece explaining what endangered animals would want to tell us if they could speak.

WWF have kindly judged this competition for us, with the following 12 entries being selected by WWF for a prize. The prize for each winning entry is an exclusive full size Ice Animal in Pet Society. Unlike the normal Ice Animals these won’t melt away; you’ll be able to show yours with pride.

A big thank you to WWF for selecting the following winners, and congratulations to you all on your stunning entries! Just click the images to see the original threads:

Announcing the winners of our Festive Decorating competition!

January 8, 2010

Yes please Tami, we’ll take 10! In fact make that 20!

And if you don’t know what we’re talking about, boy you’re in for a treat!

So last year we asked you to take the inspiration of Playfish to make some festive decorations. We don’t like to restrict you too much — we love seeing what you achieve when you take some simple guidelines and run with them — so we kept it simple: show us some festive decorations with a Playfish twist. We gave a few examples, like greetings cards based on Playfish games, or re-creating your family holiday decorations in a Playfish games, but the sky was really the limit.

We could carry on for several paragraphs about how much you blew us away once again with your creative skills but in truth, we think you guys know how good you are by now. And my word are you good. No, let’s just put our prizes where our mouth is and get onto the good stuff: the winning entries! Everyone listed below wins a Playfish 2010 calendar, a goody bag of Playfish and EA merchandising, plus:

The 20th to 11th runners up below each won 50 PFC. Well done everyone!

11 Bevypoo – If this cake tastes half as good as it looks… boy, what a cake!

12 x-nick-x-86 – We loved this card because it managed to include all our games in a very original style, well done! The Word Challenge font was a plus!

13 Kee Ping – Definitely the best Festive farm decoration received, we know it takes a while to re-arrange your farm in Country Story, great job!

14 BreakbeatTiki – We received lots of gingerbread restaurants but this revised version of Jingle Bells was spot on!

15 Thanks to Claire for her entry which represents the Filipine festive tradition: different and interesting!

16 kdgalaxy – These cards are amazing, so creative and detailed. With little envelopes too!

17 Meerkat – These tiny pet tree decorations are so pretty, how did you make them?

18 Dira Dudi – Your pet’s house was decorated with fantastic taste; one of the best entries for this category!

19 Isham – We loved this restaurant and the way you presented it, and clean bathrooms too — hygiene first!

20 prezrickard – This greeting card is truly special: so different and captivating. You have a talent, keep working on it!

The 10th to 4th placed runners up each won themselves a cool 100 PFC. Congrats all!

4 ericc – This veggie tree was definitely the most original festive tree we saw in the competition!

5 Ana la Rana – We loved this story; who would have thought the Gourmet King could be so cheeky with our pets!?

6 Cruzi – the whole restaurant staff gathered together to welcome customers with Christmas carols: how nice!

7 Kokori79 – A candy train to the North Pole: what a sweet piece of engineering! We love the sparkling animation too! :0)

8 thegreysheep – this entry must have taken ages to knit; the result was awesome!

9 Rodrigo Villanueva – this is the first time we’ve seen our characters like this, how about you come to the Playfish office and paint some more?

10 3Designer – Your 3D work is so realistic, definitely one of the best greeting cards in the competition!

And now, drum roll… in 3rd place winning 250 Playfish Cash, here’s droby5’s festive hotel! That luxurious selection of suites would be the envy of any 5 star hotel, although we’re dubious about the health and safety aspects of the toilets being located in the bedrooms!

In 3rd place…

Next up is chemicalsmile’s Pet Society Christmas. chemicalsmile put an astonishing amount of work into replicating her festive Pet Society home in her actual home. The attention to detail is incredible, right down to the tiny snowman on the piano- wait a minute, where’s the tiny snowman on the piano in Pet Society? Only kidding chemicalsmile, enjoy your 500 Playfish Cash!

In 2nd place…

Finally, as you may have guessed from the first sentence, were absolutely bowled over by the sheer awesome put into Tami’s Robot Candy Dispenser. I mean this thing is absolutely amazing. Just check out the step by step guide to making it… Tami, you’re a genius! Your Apple iPod Touch is on its way!

Finally in 1st place!

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