Novy News | Fall 2014 | Vol 1 No 3 | Novy Unlimited

Novy Unlimited (site)
Welcome to the third edition of Novy News!

This is the most recent quarterly update from your groovy friends at Novy. As always, this little newsletter will give us an opportunity to . . . 
  • provide more background on who we are and what we do (and why you're reading this)
  • brag (ad nauseum) about recent projects from our clients 
  • let you in on a few game industry secrets
  • share some brutally honest advice
  • update you on what's been going on over here during the past three months -- and give you a preview (or just a whiff) of what's on the horizon
Hope you enjoy the news!

- Jeannie Novak & Luis Levy (Co-Conspirators)
. . . and the Novy team
Novy PR (web site)
We're Growing!
Since our last newsletter, Novy has undergone a little growth spurt -- and the team has been scrambling to update our Novy PR site with more client pages and blog posts to catch up! As always, we include links to pages on our site when appropriate throughout this newsletter -- so check them out!

We've also expanded our marketing and consulting services, in addition to PR. Contact us if you want to browse through our new service menus.

We'd also like to officially introduce our team members:

* Drew Utterback (Account Coordinator): In addition to spearheading the development of the Novy PR web site beginning in Fall 2013, Drew has been working with us on media research, coverage reports, and technical support. With a background in marketing strategy and social media management, Drew has been an IGDA Scholar and has worked with IndieCade and SkyVu.

* Cat Wendt (Marketing Coordinator): A multi-talented designer and marketing strategist, Cat has been focusing on creative services (including our own company logos!) -- along with marketing evaluations, plans and campaigns. In addition to chairing the IGDA Women in Games steering committee since 2010, Cat is the co-founder of food and entertainment blog Qwerty Cafe -- and she has created marketing assets for such diverse groups as Playdom, UCLA and Jelly Belly.

* Grace Lim (PR Coordinator): In the short time she's been at Novy, Grace has been conducting media research, content analysis, copywriting, and asset review.
Specializing in media relations, events/conferences, social media marketing, and web content strategies, Grace is also the founder of the game news and events site, Geekly Gaming.

* Aaron Goldman (Tech Coordinator): Our newest team member with just a few weeks under his belt, Aaron has been working with us on playthroughs, game analysis, and technical research. With a diverse background in web design, animation, and QA (Blizzard), Aaron is a great asset to Novy's Consulting division.

For more info on our team, see our Meet the Team section on our site!
Ascent: The Space Game

270 Billion Star Systems . . . and Counting!

"Kicking off" less than a week ago, our most recent project is a Kickstarter campaign for Ascent: The Space Game -- a highly ambitious space MMO created by James Hicks, an Australian indie developer who worked with us several months back. At the time, James was interviewed by both Massively and Stratics about the process of developing his "massive" game -- along with issues faced by indie PC developers. James and partner Chris Mitchell have created an impressive Kickstarter campaign that has already garnered more than half of its $35,000 AUD funding goal after only 7 days. The goal of the campaign is to hire an artist and UI designer to complete the graphics and interface overhaul that began earlier this yearAscent is also on Steam Greenlight, so be sure to cast your vote! Read more about Fluffy Kitten Studios and Ascent: The Space Game (PC) here.
Create Worlds and Feed Them to Your Creatures
Sounds appetizing, doesn't it? Etherlords is a 3D turn-based strategy game that involves breathtaking battles that can be as short or as long as you like. The game has a unique world-building game mechanic -- inspired by none other than the classic tile-based board game, Carcassone! Not only can you assemble decks, manage resources, and fuse your creatures into powerful behemoths, assemble decks, you also get to rebuild your world piece by piece while battling other players for resources and glory.
 In addition to being featured in the App Store, Etherlords has received quite a bit of press attention -- including reviews and news items in Touch Arcade, 148Apps, AppAdvice, Inside Mobile Apps, and Pocket Tactics. The game was the "iOS Pick" in and scored 8 out of 10 in Pocket Gamer (receiving a Silver Award). Read more about Nival and Etherlords (iOS) here.
Faster (and Infinitely More Adorable) than Sonic?!
Spotcos, a two-person development team, managed to pull off a great feat: to make a mobile game that was faster than the beloved Sonic The Hedgehog (a Novy co-founder's childhood obsession). Of course, we had to ask: "How is this possible?!" This deceptively simple game centers around a group of adorable puppies who must escape from your "not-so-friendly" neighborhood cat robots. While moving your pups through windy tunnels and jumping around precarious ledges, you begin to realize that although the game looks like a childhood romp, it's really a hardcore game in disguise. You realize that this is indeed a game that pays homage to that famed spiny mammal -- yet it throws in many twists and turns of its own. Shiny Yang of Spotcos was featured in VentureBeat (GamesBeat) and GamesIndustry International -- and the game was reviewed or featured in 148 Apps, NineOverTen and Shoost. Read more about the Spotcos and SpeedyPups (iOS/Android) here.
Battle for the Galaxy
Corporate Warfare . . . in Space!
If you've ever hungered to band together with others to form a Corporation and turn it into a "mega empire" while competing with other Corporations for key resources, Battle for the Galaxy might just get your "corporate warfare" juices flowing. The 
brain child of AMT and Ninja Kiwi (from Russia and Australia, respectively), the action strategy game has been characterized as sinister, brutal, and beautiful. With 50 single-player missions and the ability to recruit an army with Space Marines, Rocket Troopers, Giant Mechs and Battle Cruisers, Battle for the Galaxy can get deep (and make you lose sleep)! Battle for the Galaxy has been featured in Inside Mobile Apps, Bio Gamer Girl, NineOverTen, and Pocket Gamer. Read more about Ninja Kiwi and Battle for the Galaxy (iOS/Android) here.
The Great Prank War
The Brazilian Invasion
Considered "one of the best Unity studios worldwide" by Unity CEO David Helgason, Brazili's Aquiris went "global" this year and solidified its presence with The Great Prank War -- in partnership with Cartoon Network and based on an episode of the network's popular series, Regular Show. In a Gamasutra blog post, Aquiris co-founder, Mauricio Longoni discussed the process of working with Cartoon Network on the title: "Coming up with the plot and making the game was awesome because it allowed us to iterate and create every day. By the end of the project, it was as if Aquiris and Cartoon Network were one, which was incredibly satisfying." During their latest visit to the US, Aquiris met with VentureBeat's Dean Takahashi -- and the company will soon be creating a contributed piece for a major game trade. Perhaps the Brazilian invasion has truly begun ;) Read more about Aquiris Game Studio and The Great Prank War (iOS) here.
Letter Hero
Spell Like a Superhero
When we first got our hands on this game in its early stages, it was all about the takeoff on Guitar Hero -- where letters are used instead of colors (and they get delivered horizontally instead of vertically) . . . and quick word building was the goal instead of patterns translating into "music to your ears." We then began to realize that with its quick, no nonsense gameplay, Letter Hero might actually move beyond this. Nick Tylwalk of App Trigger said it best: "Look, Weird Al is right: People don't know how to write or spell these days. I'm not suggesting that a mobile game can solve that problem all by itself, but there's one out now that might at least be able to provide part of the solution." Letter Hero received features or reviews from several outlets -- including AppAdvice, Inside Mobile Apps, iDownload Blog, and a Silver Award from Pocket Gamer. Read more about Multiple Codes, Kwesi Buabeng and Letter Hero (iOS) here.
Crack the Code
Mix a clean interface, a pleasing color scheme, relaxing music,  handcrafted icons, and what do you get? A truly unique pictogram puzzler that blends quiz gameplay with graphic design sensibilities. The idea behind Iconic is that we're all faced with icons, signs, and symbols of all kinds throughout our daily lives. What if we were to create simple icons could represent movie titles, band names or even celebrities? Playing Iconic involves successfully translating these clever icons and "filling in the blanks" with the correct associated answers. Iconic has been featured or reviewed in several outlets -- including Modojo, Indie Game Mag, Shoost, iDownload Blog, App Advice, Maxi Geek, Apps Zoom, 148Apps . . . and the game received 4 out of 5 stars from Touch Reviews. Read more about Flow Studio and Iconic (iOS/Android) here.
The Swapper
Cloning & Consciousness
Novy had the thrill of promoting one of its first console titles -- a port of Facepalm Games' The Swapper (originally developed for PC) to PS4, PS3 and PS Vita by Curve Digital. The game itself received accolades when it was first released, but the PlayStation ports blew the original coverage out of the water . . . with more than 155 features and reviews! Here's just a sampling: The Swapper received 9.5 out of 10 and an Editor's Choice commendation from PlayStation Lifestyle, 4 out of 5 from Twinfinite, 5 out of 5 from Video Game Writers, and an A minus from Technology Tell. Read more about Facepalm Games, Curve Digital, and The Swapper (PS4/PS3/Vita) here
Archmage Rises
Coming Home to PC
Thomas Henshell of Defiance Game Studio has started something interesting. It just so happens that his first-ever Gamasutra post was a thoughtful, insightful, and somewhat controversial discussion of why he decided to abandon mobile development in favor of PC -- and it definitely got him noticed. Not only has the post received more than 200 comments to date, it also resulted in more than 700 views of his mobile game's trailer, 1,000 views of his new PC game's teaser, 200 sessions on his web site, 100 new subscribers to his newsletter, and oodles of Facebook likes and Twitter followers. Thomas' blog has also caught the attention of a major PC manufacturer who is interested in supporting the development of Thomas' upcoming game, Archmage RisesThe post catalyzed a weekly Gamasutra ritual in which Thomas shares updates on the development of Archmage Rises, and thoughts about development in general. (Topics have included everything from inspiration and "interface magic" to how playing games helped him cope with his parent's divorce.) To read more of Thomas Henshell's updates, see his Gamasutra blog here
Sharing the Wealth
Novy clients had the opportunity to wax nostalgic and sound off on the new iPhone 6 in VentureBeat (GamesBeat) and GamesIndustry International, respectively. VentureBeat's Evan Killham asked retro developers to  go back in time and share their most difficult experiences playing classic games. Samuel Jensen of Epiphany Games and Shiny Yang of the Spotcos both appear in Part 2. In James Brightman's piece for GamesIndustry International, several Novy clients were asked to comment on possible iPhone 6 development hurdles--including Don Synstelien of Extrafeet, Shiny Yang of Spotcos, Paul Simon of One Thumb Mobile, and Dominic Hamelin-Blais (creator of the upcoming Bunnies' Empire). Read more about Novy clients here.
Indie Stash Cast
From the Team Trenches
We've got some new stories to share:

Luis Levy was interviewed by Blane Humphries for his TwoDashStash podcast known as Indie Stash Cast. The interview covered everything from indie game PR to game testing, development . . . and the occasional segue into classic games and things that wil kill you in Australia ;)

Jeannie Novak was interviewed by Fernando Souza Filho of EGW (Entertainment & Game World) Magazine. Since it was translated into Portuguese, we’ve included the original interview on the Novy blog. Topics include everything from the Game Development Essentials series and even Jeannie’s first book (Creating Internet Entertainment – written with Pete Markiewicz) to Indiespace, Novy PR, MOOCs, and music :)

Drew Utterback has also posted Part 3 of a series on how to build your own game marketing plan.

Check out the Novy blog for these and other tasty treats!
What's Next? We've got some very cool Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight campaigns on the horizon -- along with some impressive and quirky mobile launches focusing on food, fear, and female heroines. Brace yourself for juicy news from Novy. Enjoy the fall season . . . and we'll see you again in the dead of winter ;)
Novy Unlimited, Inc. and its divisions (including Novy PR) is a product of Jeannie NOvak and Luis leVY, its co-conspirators. Launched in 2011, Novy PR is the first marketing and public relations firm to focus exclusively on indie game projects. Novy News is written and edited by Jeannie Novak. Thanks for reading :)

Oh -- and in case you missed it: Our Summer 2014 issue (featuring E3, InSomnia, Warfare Nations, Ekon the Cyborg, The Breakout, and Pixel Press Floors) is available for your perusal here!
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