Developer Seriously‘s Best Fiends mobile game isn’t known as well as its Helsinki neighbor Rovio’s Angry Birds. But Seriously continues to take a page from the Angry Birds playbook by creating animated cartoons based on its Best Fiends mobile game characters.
This is the sort of creative and financial risk taking that has to be done to help a mobile game stand out from its rivals in the $70 billion mobile game market.
The Finnish company is launched the third animated short cartoon in a series today. And like the earlier films, this one pulls out all of the stops on quality. Its Hollywood voice talent includes Emmy-nominee Pamela Adlon (Better Things, Californication), Kate Walsh (13 Reasons Why, Grey’s Anatomy), Mark Hamill (Star Wars), David Herman (Office Space), and Maurice LaMarche (Futurama, Zootopia).
The new film, Fort of Hard Knocks, is based on characters from Seriously’s original intellectual property, Best Fiends, and it’s another example of a “mobile first” brand expanding into other media.
“We have so many wonderful stories to tell in the Best Fiends universe, and we can’t wait to share our latest animation ‘Fort of Hard Knocks’ with our community of players and fans,” said Andrew Stalbow, CEO of Seriously, in a statement. “It’s so much fun extending out the brand beyond our games and we’re lucky to live in an age where we, as creators, get to distribute our content direct to our audience on mobile. Both our brand and our direct connection have the potential to be a significant competitive advantage and point of differentiation for us going forward.”
Golden Globe-nominated Reel FX Animation Studios produced the animation. Reel FX is known for Book of Life and its work on Despicable Me, Ice Age, and Looney Toons.
Augusto Schillaci, who is a part of Reel FX’s newly-launched Strategic Creative Group ATK PLN, directed the film. He has previously crafted short form digital content for brands including recent promos for The LEGO Batman Movie. Produced by Emmy-nominated producer, Claudia De La Roca (Futurama) and music composed by Heitor Pereira (Despicable Me), the animation is supported by top industry talent.
“The Best Fiends franchise continues to be an amazing experience,” said Schillaci, in a statement. “Fort of Hard Knocks pushed our creative collaboration to a new level in character animation, story, comedy, and visual style and I think fans will really resonate with the final piece.”
In 2017, Seriously launched two animated shorts with Reel FX, Boot Camp and Visit Minutia, that brought the Best Fiends world to life. Those videos have more than 12.8 million combined views and helped grow the Best Fiends YouTube channel to more than 605,000 subscribers to-date. Players can enjoy the shorts without leaving the game thanks to Seriously’s in-game Video Center.
Hamill plays Temper, who joins toward the end. The company plans about four to six videos a year.
The Fort of Hard Knocks animated short will be integrated into the Best Fiends game through in-game events and challenges. In honor of the animation, the new challenge is “Minutian Film Festival” themed, where players will collect popcorn boxes and win the Exclusive Fiend Style for Beebert, called Spielbert. Additionally, a mini-game collection challenge will happen around the animation launch.
With 90 million downloads and a daily audience of 2 million active players, Seriously is driving cross-promotion between all products, with the mobile game at the core. Seriously has 75 employees.
Seriously has funding from Upfront Ventures, Northzone, Korea Investment Partners, Sunstone Capital and Daher Capital. Seriously has offices in Venice, California and Helsinki, Finland.