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21 June, 2014

Interview: Kuuluu Interactive on Linkin Park's LP Recharge Wastelands

A few days ago, we posted our review of Linkin Park's first foray into the iOS scene with LP Recharge - Wastelands (grab the game here). In short, it's an excellent top-down action game that treats gamers and Linkin Park fans alike with respect. It's a title you can get behind with confidence rather than the cheap cash grab one usually associates with a game with some band's name affixed to it. 

With Linkin Park rightfully stealing the limelight, it can be pretty easy to forget the talented developer - Kuuluu Interactive Entertainment - sitting quietly in the wings, working away to make this fantastic game. We caught up with Juidth Greife, Head of Marketing & PR, to get her thoughts on what it was like to work with such a phenomenally popular band.

How did your relationship with Linkin Park come about?
Kuuluu was founded in order to create social games on various platforms for celebrities, leading stars and communities. Some people in our founding management team have excellent ties to the music industry, it was just a matter of finding the right project.

This is your second game in the Recharge universe, with the first being the Facebook-only title, LP Recharge. Why did you decide to branch into the iOS scene with Wastelands?
It was a natural fit considering what’s happening in the games industry and seeing how the world is changing. Because of the recent consumer focus on mobile devices, we had a lot of our players and fans asking for a mobile version. But, most importantly, LP Recharge was always been designed with a touch-based mobile device in mind.

What did you learn from LP Recharge that you incorporated into Wastelands?
We found that our players liked the general style of the game, but were missing a sense of character progression. This is why we added a completely new loot system where you can now find uncommon and rare items by venturing through the wastelands. We also made sure that players can customise the attributes of their character to fit their playstyle. Both of these changes completely altered the way the game progresses. Based on the feedback we have received so far, our players really like it.

Were there any particular games that inspired you when designing Wastelands? I’m getting a Borderlands-esque vibe here...
Our team consists of several experienced developers who are also avid gamers. At Kuuluu we are always iterating on our ideas and have weekly play sessions where the whole company – from assistant to CEO – come together to play the game. So in essence the game is inspired by all the great games we like to play, with a focus on fast and frantic action and a twist of light RPG elements.

Wastelands offers a little bit for everyone – it’s easy to play, difficult to master and, obviously, has  Linkin Park's music backing it up. Did you have a particular target audience in mind when designing Wastelands?
We were not only aiming for the Linkin Park fans, but also for people who just want some good clean action. Moving away from a F2P game experience [with the Facebook title], we felt much more comfortable with addressing the players who don’t want to be lollygagged or face artificial waiting times. As soon as you pick up on how to keep your combo alive, you are in for a good time. We think this is what makes the game interesting for anyone who wants a challenge, without being forced into a pay-to-win situation.

You’ve noted that the band members were quite involved in the development process, such as coming up with gameplay suggestions, the story and, of course, the music. How did you find working with the guys?
It was a pleasure to work with them. They are very smart guys that, of course, have the best knowledge of what Linkin Park stands for. But besides the knowledge of their own brand, they have had many creative ideas for the story, graphical design and gameplay. They are of course very busy, but they have a very strong opinion on most topics. In the end that only helped make it a better game.

Releasing such a high profile game must be doing wonders for you. What sort of opportunities could this open up for you as a developer? Do you have any projects in the works that you could share with us?
No game is ever finished. That’s also true for LP Recharge – Wastelands! We will keep on adding content and updates during the coming months, as long as people want to play the game. Aside from that, don’t forget Kuuluu was founded to make games for celebrities. We already have the right people and team in place. Thanks to the whole team we have come this far. We are looking forward to presenting you guys our next cool game soon... it’s going to be an endless runner based on the character of a very famous woman.

Stephen Mitchell 

     - LP Recharge - Wastelands

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