In just a few short years since their inception RatRod Studio’s have managed to successfully carve out a niche of the video game industry and become one of the biggest names in Mobile gaming. The Quebec based developers have focused on a market and a genre that they themselves are passionate about and it has yielded quite the return.
While games come in many forms RatRod Studio have always gravitatde to the extreme end of the spectrum being, known for “hardcore” mobile titles such as Hockey Fight, Mike V: Skateboard Party, and most notably Drift Mania. It’s clear that while the games from RatRod have released span multiple genres, but they all share the same “edge of the knife” brand of gameplay that the studio has become famous for. I got a chance to ask the Founder & President of RatRod Studio Pat Toulouse about his inspirations behind, and experiences working on these hit mobile franchises.
Creating the Drift Mania franchise as well as naming your studio after a breed of hot-rod, it is obvious someone at the team has a love of cars. Where does this passion stem from?
I always have been a huge car fan. Growing up my family was into sports cars, then there was the Fast and furious tuning era. In the early 2000′s, I was operating one of the largest body kits and aftermarket performance parts distribution company in Canada until 2008. Meanwhile, I was working as a 3D artist in the gaming industry in tandem and had the chance to work on several racing games. Combining two passions together on an everyday basis is pretty awesome.
Mike Vallely is an icon in the skateboarding community, what has the experience been like collaborating on a game with a skating legend?
Growing up during the Bones Brigade era, I have been a skateboarder myself for over 20 years. It was definitely a dream come true to collaborate with a skating legend such as Mike V. It was a great experience! Mike is awesome and easy to work with. He was very involved during the development process – from approving all the assets and animations to recording voice overs and creating a promo video.
Never shying away from the extreme, in 2011 you released the game Hockey Fight. What influenced you to make a game based on ice level combat?
Whenever my brother and I get together, we always end up playing a game of hockey on the console. And then it seems like all we ever end up doing is fight on the ice! So I figured, why not make a game where I can combine the two; hence Hockey Fight was born. Also, I am a huge fan of old school fighting games from the arcade era (MK, SFII, etc.) so the idea of making a game where the focus is fighting was something I really wanted to do.
By bringing modern elements found in current fighting games (stamina, combos, etc.) and mixing them with hockey fight mechanics, we were able to come up with something pretty cool. That was also an untapped market and due to the popularity of the sport, it just made sense to get started. The game was downloaded by over 4 million fans worldwide so far.
You have found success on a myriad of platforms with games that span vastly different genres. What makes Ratrod Studio games so universal?
During my career, I worked on many projects that I had little interest in. This is one of the main reasons why I started Ratrod Studio back in 2009. It‘s very important to find a niche market. Then, it’s just a matter of incorporating what you love and you have a recipe for success.
We have seen a lot of great games come from Quebec recently. With your studio being based in Gatineau, what makes Quebec such a great place to develop games?
Being based in Quebec, we have access to great government programs and tax credit incentives such as the “Multimedia Tax Credit” from “Investissement Quebec”. This has been a huge help which allowed us to invest more in our own IPs and pushing our games further. It’s important especially for a start-up company but it’s also the reason why many of the AAA studios are based in Montreal. These programs really help keep the industry alive and growing while stimulating the economy with more jobs.
You have just released Street Outlaws, could you give us a sneak peak as to what the game is all about?
Our Drift Mania game series have been extremely popular in the past few years. Our titles have been downloaded over 30 million times on all platforms. One of the main requests from our fans was to allow them to drift in the streets and not be constrained to a circuit. Since the two first titles were done in collaboration with DMCC (Official Canadian Drift League) we couldn’t really do that. However, for Street Outlaws, we really pushed that aspect and focused on a more street-based drift game combining our ideas with all the feedback received.
Where can people get their hands on Street Outlaws?
Drift Mania: Street Outlaws launched on October 10, 2013. The game is available on many platforms including: iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Windows store. Street Outlaws launched less than a week ago and already reached the Top 30 of all games in the US App Store and is currently #2 in Racing (Update* Drift Mania currently sits at #1 in the Racing category on the US App Store).
Where can people find out more info about Street Outlaws?
Official press release: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/10/prweb11198983.htm
Game page: http://streetoutlaws.com