General Studio Manager Philipp Lanik
Every day, millions of people all around the world play your insanely popular Candy Crush Saga games – as well as hundreds of other franchises. How does King keep coming up with new successful ideas, especially with a bar set so high by Candy Crush?
At King, we believe that diversity and inclusion are crucial components behind the success of a business. In the same way our fans and players are a diverse group of people, our teams behind the games need to be equally diverse. We have extremely creative and open minded employees who are constantly trying out new ideas. But the user feedback is a probably the most important source for inspiration.
Building a pipeline of franchise titles that can attract new, existing and lapsed players, like the Berlin studio’s hit title Candy Crush Jelly Saga, is a huge priority for us. Candy Crush's performance is really strong, and we're going to continue investing in making this an enduring franchise over the long term. Nevertheless, we do invest in new content and experiences that can be equally iconic and beloved.
Since 2014, one of your studios is located in Berlin. In what ways did King profit from this location and its booming developer scene?
Berlin is an exciting city for game developers and the studio offers a creative and invigorating work environment. Berlin as a city is very attractive, and has a vibrant gaming industry and culture. It is international, with a young and creative audience including a strong startup scene. The gaming scene is booming in Berlin, which is something we at King want to take advantage of by looking for talented people to join our team and to expand our location in the capital.
More and more gaming companies choose to locate their German studios in Berlin, and so the range of exchange opportunities is increasing. With networking events and conferences like Berlin Games Week for example, King has an opportunity to connect and learn from various aspects of the gaming industry and gain valuable insight from other gaming companies.
King is the leading company in mobile gaming, which means that the knowledge we can offer will be valuable to those who have an interest in the development of mobile gaming, especially within casual. We want to give back to the community and share that knowledge by inviting both players and the industry to our events inside and outside of our studio. Berlin is also a great city for us when it comes to supporting our ambitious goal in recruiting 50 % women by 2020.
You have studios and offices all around the world, from San Francisco to Barcelona. What makes the Berlin studio special?
If you compare the studios in Stockholm and London with ours in Berlin, it is still relatively small in terms of space and the number of employees, which probably makes it more personal and familiar. Each studio, however, has its own quirky characteristics and different titles that they’re working on – here in Berlin for example we have a very international workforce - and of course you can take a slide from the second floor of the studio into the lower one.
The Berlin studio has approximately 90 employees spread over several teams that work on productions in different phases of the life cycle. We're working on prototypes, pre-production, production and live games and our biggest title is Candy Crush Jelly Saga, completely supported by King Berlin. As part of the Candy Crush franchise, Candy Crush Jelly Saga is one of the greatest King successes.
What areas of the company are growing fastest at the moment? What are your plans for 2018 and beyond?
Speaking for the entire Kingdom, we continue to make progress on our company-wide mobile pipeline. We are hard at work on initiatives across a number of our franchises. We plan to see some early results later this year, and for the bulk of our new mobile opportunities, such as entering new genres, to help drive growth in 2018 and beyond.
For the studio in Berlin, one of our main focuses for the year is to look for talented people to join our team and to expand our location in the capital.
Imagine a “Berlin Saga” game came out of your studio – what would it be about?
A Berlin theme for a saga game? A city like Berlin provides enormous amounts of inspiration for never ending saga games. An obvious theme would be the never ending construction places creating an architectural landscape filled with history and modern elements. The amount of hidden and unusual places in the city and the mix. The diversity of the people in the city means you can enjoy curry wurst for lunch and phở soup for dinner. Pink and blue pipes. And last but not least, a never ending techno beat, like the one coming from my neighbors’ place.