Those Angry Birds just keep on flying, with a new installment in Rovio’s successful pig-bashing mobile game series releasing today.
Angry Birds Stella brings a few new tricks to the series, which has over 2 billion downloads to its name. Lead character Stella has parkour skills that let her bounce off walls, and the avian supporting cast all bring their own superpowers to the mobile title, available on Android, iOS, and BlackBerry devices.
Despite Stella being pink and female, Rovio’s chief marketing officer Blanca Juti says the game isn’t aimed at girls. “Just as I hope people don’t think Star Wars is for boys, I hope they don’t say this is just for girls,” she told the Guardian last week. “We want to challenge stereotypes, both on girls — that they only play easy games — and on boys, that they don’t like anything pink.”
Angry Birds Stella will be getting its own cartoon series, books, comics, and other merchandise, but Heini Kaihu, the head of studio at Espoo, Finland-based Rovio Entertainment, reckons the game is not just for young players. “Angry Birds Stella is going to be super fun for casual players but will also challenge the most hardened Angry Birds veterans,” she said in a statement.
Rovio has always intended to build Angry Birds into a brand that will be around for decades. Its move into animation is part of this plan, with a feature-length Angry Birds movie expected from its own Rovio Animation Studios in 2016.
The 2013 financial year was tough for Rovio as it reported a profit of just $37.3 million, down from $76.8 million the year before. Despite its $215.9 million revenue figure being close to 2012’s $210.6 million, this was in part due to increased expenditure as Rovio’s headcount went from 500 to 800 in its push to expand and diversify the Angry Birds brand.
Rovio announced last week that its chief executive officer Mikael Hed will stand down at the end of the year. Pekka Rantala, who has more than 20 years of international leadership experience in various industries, will replace him. Hed, now the chairman of Rovio Animation Studios, said that Rantala is “known to be a great leader with experience building successful global consumer brands” and will “take Rovio to the next level.”