Rovio has unveiled its newest wing of game design/publishing and has unveiled the first title to arise from the program.
In a recent interview with Pocket Gamer, Jami Laes, Rovio's executive vice president of global games operations, announced that his company has opened a new branch of its company, LVL11. LVL11 will be an area of Rovio where its developers will be able to experiment and make games that are outside of the box in terms of what fans expect from the main company (aka Angry Birds). Just as we were jesting about the company's association to its flagship series, Laes stated that he doesn't want Rovio to simply be known as the makers of Bad Piggies and the Angry Birds. He explains that his developers are working on brand new IPs, new physics mechanics and various forms of entertainment that branch outside physics games, such as cartoons and web animations.
"While we have people making Angry Birds, in the next room there are the guys dreaming completely new things," Laes said.
In order to properly experiment, Laes claims that Rovio needed its own proper place where it can express more freedom without being confined to the market's expectations of what the makers of Angry Birds should be making. The projects do not have to properly mesh with Rovio's pre-existing franchises and can appeal to indie game fans instead of the Angry Birds' widespread audience that spans across multiple cultures and ages on a global scale.
"Some of those things are so different that we wanted to package that in a different way and come up with a publishing title for it, a publishing label if you will. We decided to call it LVL11," Laes claimed. "We just want to make fun, we want to do things differently, and maybe disrupt ourselves, and disrupt the market a bit, so we want to come up with something funny, something to kind of set it out apart from Angry Birds a bit more."
Retry, the debut title from Rovio's LVL11 spin-off company, has already debuted early in Finland, Canada and Poland. It features the simple-yet-difficult, addictive gameplay that the Angry Bird series is known for, mixed with a retro aesthetic that looks straight out of the mid 1980s, with a little bit of Flappy Bird mixed in for
frustration fun. In Retry, you fly an old stunt-plane that has a single propeller engine in the front. You need to master loop-to-loops in order to proceed, but Retry offers a ferocious level of realism in terms of the plane's physics and how it is affected by gravity, especially when its engine is aimed towards the ground. Getting used to doing circles in the sky while avoiding boxes and obstacles, all in a side-scrolling runner, is going to take some getting used to. LVL11 already describes the game as "Fly. Crash. Repeat," which could also be said of the Angry Birds series. Adhering to its 80s style of 8-bit graphics, Retry will feature a funky, synthesized soundtrack. A global release on the app store should be coming out soon.