The high energy, foul-mouthed chef worked with Glu to put unique touches on the iOS and Android title, which has gameplay that resembles the Diner Dash series that Glu also publishes. It’s part of a bid by Ramsay and Glu to reproduce the magic of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and create another celebrity hit in the $34 billion mobile-game market. The title was two years in the making at Glu’s San Francisco headquarters.
In the game, players can cook dishes, battle it out with star chefs, earn ‘Wichelin’ stars, and build their culinary empires under the watchful eye of Gordon Ramsay. It’s a time-management experience where you create your own chef avatar and start out small. You can build your restaurants around the world and trade ingredients with other players in the Farm Market.
“We’re delighted to be working with the most-recognized man in the world when it comes to this,” De Masi said in an interview with GamesBeat in March.
Ramsay has more than 10 million followers across all his social-media accounts, and he is also regularly on television with his Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, and MasterChef shows. When he’s seeking out a subject for a project, De Masi tries to pitch the popular celebrities who can share or tweet things about the games to get players re-engaged in the content. Glu has lined up celebrities like Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, and Nicki Minaj — with a total following of more than a billion followers on social media. That adds up to a lot of free advertising for Glu’s games, a very important element in a world where user acquisition costs are skyrocketing.
“This is a partnership that will break new ground because we have never done something this deep in a genre like this with someone like Mr. Ramsay,” De Masi said in the March interview. “We have built a game that we believe will persist for many years to come. This is a unique, living, breathing partnership.”
Becky Ann Hughes, GM at PlayFirst, said in March that the game is built on top of the Cooking Dash 2016 engine, but it is not a reskin. It’s an all new game with all new assets that Ramsay himself has scrutinized. Tom Hall, one of the original creators of Doom, is part of the team putting together the game.
“We’re adding social to a Dash game, like chef duels and a farmers market,” Hughes said. “We [are] also adding a mechanic that Gordon himself came up with: an inspector mechanic with ‘Wishelin’ stars.”
Ramsay said that the Wishelin inspectors will keep you on your toes to make sure that your restaurant is in great shape. He said that he wanted to “keep it real,” and to get your “adrenaline pumping” as you cook things under pressure. You can also design your own chef’s outfit.
“The chef’s role, what you look like, even before you turn on that gas, is insane,” he said. “I want fans to feel that. It’s an ever-continuing excitement.”
De Masi said the game has an authenticity about what it’s like to feel the emotions of someone running their own restaurant.
“It feels personal,” Ramsay said. “Chefs are competitive. The duels. That’s where it is a bit of a chef off. It feels like I am building a restaurant.”
Ramsay’s plentiful insults and curses add to the authenticity. He said he isn’t proud of them, but he often says things like “fucking doughnuts” and “idiots.” He once put two pieces of bread on a chef contestant’s ears and asked her what she was. She replied, “An idiot sandwich.”
Ramsay noted that part of the fun is starting out as a poor and young chef, as he did in Paris in a neighborhood bistro in 1994. The china plates are lackluster, and the restaurant is drab. Over time, you have to upgrade everything about the place, train the staff, and oversee the production of the ingredients.
“This is a first, and I’m putting myself out there,” Ramsay said. “You start with humble gravitas and build your reputation. When I started, it wasn’t about becoming famous. It was about becoming the best local restaurant. Today, it’s a glamorous environment. It’s international.”
Asked what he liked to play, Ramsay said his kids drew his attention to the Kardashian title.
Asked why he did a game in the first place, Ramsay said, “I don’t think there has been a chef-tailored game out on the market yet. I started to cook for love, not for money. I’d like to see this game start exactly the same and lead to building an empire.”