Interview: Floodgate Entertainment talks Mo-Pets

Ferrets! They're the future! Honest!

Interview: Floodgate Entertainment talks Mo-Pets
| Mo-Pets

The phones of the Pocket Gamer team are groaning under the weight of all the virtual dog games that have recently come out. So we'd be forgiven for being a bit jaded about the mobile pets genre.

However, the recently-announced Mo-Pets has revived us, not least because it's not just about dogs. You can also nurture cats, monkeys and ferrets. Plus there's going to be connected features so you can go online and have your pet compete against other players'.

The game is being published by Sony BMG Music, and developed by Floodgate Entertainment. We talked to Matt Bellows, general manager at Floodgate, to find out more.

What's the background for Mo-Pets - how did it come about?

You know how they say that every videogame has a verb at its heart? We were making a list of all the game-verbs we could think of – 'jump', 'rotate', and 'bowl' were some of the most common ones from other mobile games. We could only think of a couple games that were based on 'nurture', including the original Tamagotchi game, which a couple of us were obsessed with.

So we started thinking about how we could make a fun 'nurture' game, and we kept coming back to our pets. One engineer kept using his cat as a texture for 3D tests he was running on various handsets. One of our producers would bring in homegrown organic catnip for the other cat owners… so we all gravitated to a 'Nurturing Pet' game.

After several prototypes and the giant success of Nintendogs, we felt like we had something with real potential, and Sony BMG agreed!

The ferret's the animal that got us excited – how did you end up deciding on this, and what comedy animals were considered and/or rejected?

We had a bunch of other contenders for the ferret's spot, including a frog, a cute little bunny rabbit, a mouse with big ears, a bear cub, and a rock. The ferret won out because one of our artists had several at home and kept animating these crazy tricks that they could do. We loved the slinky shapes they make and the slightly nasty/dirty connotations they carry with them.

There are a bunch of virtual dog games on the market – at least over here. Aside from having more animals, what will make Mo-Pets stand out?

Mo-Pets isn't really about the chores associated with keeping a dog. The game is mostly about having fun with your little friend, teaching her or him new tricks, enjoying the mini-games, and exploring new places in the game.

The network components of Mo-Pets makes it unique as well. There's a series of Talent Shows in Mo-Pets where you can show your pet's best tricks. We loved Statler and Waldorf in the Muppets Show, so we even included two smarmy Talent Show judges to critique the competition.

What are the other coolest features in the game?

There's really no 'coolest feature' in Mo-Pets. Its strengths are in the playing, in the experience, in the nurturing and the preparing for the competition. The various features are just technical or design solutions to create that experience.

Any news on a European release? We're signed up and committed to do one, and we're talking with partners now about distribution deals. We'd love to bring it to the EU. Everyone in Europe loves their pet. Why not have one on your phone?

For more information and screenshots of Mo-Pets, check out our original news story.