Why is there a wizard at PGC Helsinki? | Pocket Gamer.biz

There’s something for everyone at Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki. With publishers, expert developers, and the Journalist Bar hosted by PocketGamer.com, it’s the ideal event for up and coming game developers to showcase their work. One of those developers is Not a Cult Oy, who have created an upcoming mobile RPG called Walkscape. Inspired by Jagex’s RuneScape, Walkscape introduces a unique feature – it uses a phone’s motion sensors to track a player’s activities and fitness, allowing them to progress in the game without compromising their privacy or data.

Not a Cult Oy, led by CEO Sami Pentti, consists of a single developer and a graphic designer. Pentti, a computer science student at the University of Helsinki, explained the concept of Walkscape and their focus on user privacy and fair monetization. He also highlighted the importance of showcasing their game at Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki, as it provides a platform to reach the game industry’s best and brightest.

Tell us about Walkscape

Pentti described Walkscape as an MMO-inspired RPG where players progress by walking in real life. Unlike other games like Pokémon Go, Walkscape respects user privacy and doesn’t disrupt the exercise routine. Traditional fitness games often require frequent opening of the game, interrupting workouts. Walkscape eliminates this problem by not using GPS, which has raised privacy concerns among players. Instead, it utilizes the phone’s pedometer to count steps, allowing users to shut down the game while exercising and fully enjoy their surroundings. This appeals to people who want to exercise and appreciate their environment.

Monetization Strategy

Not a Cult Oy plans to release an initial free-to-play version of Walkscape, allowing players to try the game before purchasing it. The free version offers substantial content for those who cannot afford to buy the game. However, users who want to unlock the complete experience have two options. They can opt for a monthly subscription, which the company aims to keep affordable, or they can pay a one-time fee to play the game offline without the online MMO-style features.

The Experience at PGC Helsinki

Pentti expressed his satisfaction with Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki, praising its organization and affordable ticket prices. As a small company, it was a fantastic opportunity for Not a Cult Oy to showcase their game and connect with industry professionals. The response from attendees has been amazing, and Pentti even had conversations with interested publishers during the event’s Big Indie Pitch. While self-publishing their game currently, the company is open to collaborations in the future while prioritizing their creative freedom and community-building approach.

Plans for Beta Release and Game Publishing

The team plans to conduct a closed beta this fall and aims to launch an open beta in the summer of next year. The full release of Walkscape is scheduled for 2025. Currently, Not a Cult Oy is self-publishing the game. Pentti, with a background in indie and hobbyist development, is keen on maintaining creative freedom and community involvement. While showcasing the game at Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki, he hopes to receive valuable advice and potentially find a publishing deal that aligns with their vision.

The Finnish Games Industry

Pentti acknowledges the unique nature of the Finnish games industry, which heavily influenced his gaming career. Finland has a vibrant gaming industry with numerous mobile and PC game companies. Pentti himself started in the early 2000s, participating in Finnish game-making forums where hobbyists experimented with game engines. This environment fueled his passion for game development, leading him to study computer science and pursue a career in the industry.

Future Involvement in PGC Helsinki

Pentti expresses his enthusiasm for Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki and plans to return next year. By then, Not a Cult Oy aims to have a fully playable downloadable version of Walkscape available, allowing attendees to experience the game firsthand. The event has provided an invaluable opportunity for the company to showcase their game and make important connections.