Merge Magic interview: Eren Yanik discusses the puzzler's ongoing success alongside the newly added social features

Merge Magic interview: Eren Yanik discusses the puzzler's ongoing success alongside the newly added social features

Gram Games' popular puzzler, Merge Magic, has recently begun rolling out several updates that the developers hope will elevate the game above its competition. Some of these new features include added social connectivity, new creatures and Clubs, which feature their own exclusive events. 

We recently had a chance to chat with Eren Yanik - Chief Product Officer at Gram Games - about these updates and what he hopes they will bring to the game. On top of that, we discuss Merge Magic's future and the contributing factors to its ongoing success.  

Could you provide a quick introduction about yourself and your role for our readers, please?

My name is Eren Yanik, and I am the Chief Product Officer here at Gram Games. I oversee everything product-related in our Istanbul and London offices. It’s a wide-ranging role, but this includes the whole game development process – from conceptualization to launch – as well as Live Ops and monetization.

The new update introduces social connectivity for the first time. What do you hope that being able to chat and send gifts will bring to the game?

Merge Magic! already had a thin social layer through a feature called Friends, which allows players to visit each other’s gardens and give each other gifts. But now, with Clubs, we’ve taken it to the next level, as we have established a two-way communication and a common goal to align club members around. Players are now able to create their own clubs with their friends, or join others, and play together! This update also adds chat functionality, which allows players to discuss everything having to do with the game.

An exciting part of this update is also the Club Chest events. These allow players that are in a club to take part in ultra-special weekly events and have the chance to win rare items as well as our exclusive, adorable bee creature for Clubs, Clubee.

Additionally, what measures – if any – do you have to prevent abuse? e.g. Have you implemented parental controls to keep children safe when playing?

We’re just as concerned about this as many of our players are, so we’ve developed a special Customer Support tool to help players report and prevent abuse and other bad behaviour while playing. We’ve added features like “mute” and “ban” to help our players and our Customer Support team counter poor behaviour by players. Our Customer Service team is well aware of these risks and is paying special attention to ensure our players stay safe.

The newly added Club features allow players to work together to unlock puzzles and earn rewards. Can you explain how this co-operation plays out in the game?

Of course. Every single player who’s in a club contributes to that Club’s “Club Chest.” First, players need to earn 25,000 points on their own in order to be eligible to claim that Club Chest. After that, players can level up the Club Chest by increasing their magic power.

Members of a Club can claim their Club Chest each week. Once claimed, the chest will go directly to players’ gardens, where they can collect incredible prizes like premium eggs and Clubee.

Presumably, the Club Events available at the moment are only the beginning. What other content can players expect in future updates?

These exciting events are just the beginning. In the future, players should expect a variety of new, exciting Club events to play along with their friends. We’re also going to make the Clubs even more collaborative – players will soon be able to ask other Club members for gifts that they need in the game.

In what ways do you believe the latest update elevates Merge Magic above other games in the genre?

The world Merge Magic! creates and inhabits really sets it apart. We believe the engaging social feature we’ve introduced with this update enriches that world and the experiences that players can have within it. The addition of Clubs creates an immersive, exciting experience for players that’s very unique.

How has the game continued to grow since launch and what do you believe are the main factors in its success?

The world of Mythia has grown exponentially since we launched Merge Magic!. We’ve introduced dozens of unique new Creatures for our players that they can collect and foster in their gardens. We’ve also created tons of new content for players to enjoy, including levels to play and items (rare and otherwise) for players to collect. Not only that, we’ve also focused on creating new and exciting events for our players to experience. We want to make sure that every week, when players open up Merge Magic!, there is something new and exciting for them to play, like a Chest Rush event or our weekly themed events.

I think this, along with the magical world and narrative Merge Magic! exists within, has allowed players to immerse themselves into the game.

You also oversee the rest of the Merge franchise. Is it difficult to make them feel distinct from one another whilst also maintaining the feel of the series?

Not at all. While these games do employ the merge mechanic, they are each overseen by distinct teams and rely on distinct narratives, characters, and worlds. Merge Magic! and Merge Dragons! are totally distinct experiences for our players, and we’re proud of all the work our teams do to keep them uniquely enjoyable. That said, we are sure to encourage collaboration and thought-sharing between the teams when working on new features – like Clubs – to make sure that both games learn from each other and are as fun as can be.

Merge Magic is available now over on the App Store and Google Play. It's a free-to-play game with in-app purchases.

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