The "Lean Startup" approach has gained wide adoption in game development today, but how it is carried out varies. Not many game studios will open their early prototypes up to game testers. We started with a fairly basic question: why do we need game testers? Can't we develop our game without needing to include a variety of groups sharing their ideas? The answer was simple: we wanted to learn as much as possible as early as possible, without making too many assumptions about what our customers might like. So, while it is very scary to put a very basic product out to the public and open yourself up to easy criticism, we closed our eyes and just did it.
We invited kids, students, gamers and wildlife enthusiasts from all over the world to play with our first prototype and get to know the world of Amelie the elephant, the main character of the game.
By means of real GPS data, they followed Amelie's tracks, played with her, learned about her daily life and guessed where she would go next. And they shared their insights through surveys, social networks and a facebook group.
And the results are in... Playing with a real elephant is compelling and test gamers want even more data to understand Amelie's daily life.
In a next stage, we want to engage more directly with our audience and give test gamers even more freedom to interact with Amelie. We are now introducing an Augmented Reality demo which will be implemented into the game at a later stage. Test gamers get even closer to Amelie, bring her into their own world, take photos of her, cuddle her, make her move.
We want to thank everyone participating so far as well as our Ambassadors for supporting us in finding over 700 test gamers. Thank you for making it happen!