Dragons’ Den: The Official Game from DR Studios – under license from 2waytraffic, a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company, for iPhone and iPad is released just days away on Thursday 21st April. In the run up to its release, The Train2Game blog caught up with Lead Designer Mete Djemal to discuss features of Dragons’ Den: The Official Game, and give us an insight into the Game Development process behind the title. Below is part one of a two part interview.
Can you begin by telling us some basic information about the Dragons Den: The Official Game project and the challenges behind its production?
With Dragons Den: The Official Video Game, DR Studios were given the opportunity to take the Dragons’ Den License and create a video game. I think the main challenge was how we’d make a game out of a TV show that offered little in the way of an interactive experience on the face of it. But as we looked into it we actually thought it was a pretty good concept because you could actually play as a Dragon and be an investor; make money, lose money so it has that strategy element to it.
The first challenge developing Dragons Den: The Official Video Game was to create a realistic looking environment and the Dragons. We weren’t allowed to use the real likenesses of the Dragons so we had to create characters and we wanted the player to feel as if they were actually in the Den, so we studied a lot of footage of Dragons’ Den. The final result of Dragons Den: The Official Video Game was the creation of a full 3D Den. At first, it was going to be a 2D environment, with static characters and no 3D models, but after looking at it we decided we want to make the most real looking experience so we decided to go full 3D models and it really came from there.
What were the initial concepts behind Dragons Den: The Official Game and how did they develop during the course of the development?
The initial concept of Dragons Den: The Official Game was to create a game in which you play as a Dragon. As with the TV show, you’re presented with various inventions and crazy business ideas, and as a Dragon you choose to invest your money in some of these ideas. We also decided it’d be better to use real world inventions rather than make believe ones so it’d keep Dragons Den: The Official Game more in fitting with the actual TV show and realistic.
So, one of the biggest challenges during the development of the game was to find enough real world inventions which required a lot of background research. We looked at all sorts of things with some of the inventions being over 100 years old before deciding on the best ones to include in Dragons Den: The Official Game. We then had to write concepts and short descriptions of the inventions. The idea being we wanted to keep these vague, we didn’t want the player to know what the inventions actually were as that’d make the game too easy.
We therefore had to present these inventions in a way that kept the concept real so you could believe in the invention then at the same time keep it quite vague in terms of what it actually was. For example, the names of the inventions; we had to rename all of the inventions to keep it realistic but not give away the actual real concept, the real name of the actual invention. Dragons Den: The Official Game contains 120 inventions – more than originally planned.
Another challenge in the development of Dragons Den: The Official Game was designing the interactive experience in a way which it was fun for the user and made them want to come back and keep playing. We went through various designs before deciding on the idea in which you as a player had a certain amount of money to invest in inventions and ideas. The original idea was for the Dragons Den: The Official Game player to have an unlimited amount of money, but we wanted a bit of jeopardy in there, so we decided to limit the amount of money the player would have so they’d have to think about which investments you want to invest in without blowing their money away on an invention that could be a complete disaster.
Dragons’ Den: The Official Game has a multiplayer mode, can you explain how that works?
When it comes to the social side, the multiplayer side, we felt that Dragons Den: The Official Game would be even more fun to play as a multiplayer game. As we have five Dragons in the game – like in the actual TV show – it can support up to five players in a turn based game. How this works is that each player takes it in turns to invest or not invest in an invention. The idea is that the players hide from the other players whether or not they’ve invested to keep other players guessing.
In Dragons Den: The Official Game – as in the TV show – you can also share the investment. So we decided that as a player, even in single player mode, if you don’t want to invest the full amount you can actually go in with another Dragon and invest a smaller percentage of the money.
Part 2 of the interview will be published later this week.
Dragons’ Den: The Official Game is a DR Studios/2Way Traffic production and is released for the iPhone and iPad on Thursday 21st April. For more information visit www.dragonsdengame.co.uk