Angry Birds is one of the most played games worldwide, having somewhere around a billion downloads. While the franchise is on almost innumerable pieces of merchandise now, Rovio’s EVP of games Petri Jarvilehto acknowledges that Rovio still feels obligated to make sure the brand stays relevant.

“I think it’s our responsibility and duty to keep the brand fresh,” said Jarvilehto. “If you look at how, earlier this year, we launched Angry Birds Space, where we introduced a completely new gameplay mechanic and environment to play with. We need to be constantly reinventing our games and ourselves, bringing new gameplay experiences, new experiences for the fans out there around the Angry Birds franchise.”

“If we were complacent and didn’t do that, that would be dangerous. Complacency kills. There are several great examples of that in the gaming sphere, as well as the wider entertainment industry. Look at how Nintendo has managed to keep Mario fresh for over 20 years – they keep bringing new types of gameplay experience to the players, that’s something we feel we have to do with Angry Birds as well – we need to always surprise and delight the player.”

“I’d say that we’re fairly confident that Angry Birds has become such a mainstream brand and phenomenon that we can’t foresee a future where can’t base a very solid and sustainable business on Angry Birds. Especially as we’ve also diversified to so many areas,” adds Rovio CEO Mikael Hed. “In addition to that, the business that we’ve built around Angry Birds means that it’s very easy to build up new franchises as well.”

The Angry Birds games have built a certain level of expectations for Rovio products, and Hed says that they’re keen to make sure that their upcoming game Amazing Alex also “caters to the entire family.”

“We certainly have a very clear vision on what we feel is right for a Rovio game, how we approach games” notes Jarvilehto. “With Alex I think you can see a lot of common elements with the way that Angry Birds was presented. We aim to have extremely high accessibility, anyone should be able to pick up and play the game instantly, yet there should be more depth to the experience than first meets the eye. Then, as you can see with what we did with Alex – we spent a huge amount of effort thinking about how we could make that sort of game with the minimal use of text. That’s one of the components which affects accessibility in a big way, especially when you’re operating in a global market.”

Moving forward, Angry Birds has plans for 30 theme parks around the world, showing an ambition for the company that goes far beyond toys and games. “We have big ambitions. We’re constantly thinking about what, from our starting point, is the biggest thing we can do. Who knows how far we can take that I don’t think Walt Disney knew, when he created Mickey Mouse, just how popular that would become. I think every company should have very high ambitions,” concluded Hed.

Source: GamesIndustry International