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'Story Matters' - Lisa Brunette on the ironSource Podcast

 

We're excited to share ironSource LevelUp's latest podcast interview, with Brunette Games Founder Lisa Brunette. Highlights:

Different platform and audiences require different narratives

The first game I worked on was for the DS, and I worked on some other platform games. Those were for families and younger players.

So in the case of that first game for the DS, it was for teen girls. So that's a different audience than when I migrated over to mobile games. That became a new focus for me.

But that's a way different context than when you're in your living room with your Wii. So just taking that context into consideration every step of the way. You know, if you're dedicated to your PC, and this is your me-time, that's different. For mobile games, when I'm on the bus and I might get called for my stop, or I get my notifications coming in, it needs a different kind of storytelling.

Lessons for indie studios

Don’t let the story get in the way. I think especially those indies sometimes come to games with a novel in a drawer that they want to turn into a game. And that's usually a bad way to start. We instead start with the game and then craft a story that's integrated with it.

We don't want to turn anyone's novel into a game. That means that the story was written for passive entertainment, not for the interaction of games. So right off the bat, the first thing you want to do is make sure that your story is in service to the game.

How to write narratives for mobile games

We actually have distinct milestones that we follow on all of our projects with clients. We start with them at the concept stage, and we pitch three high-level story ideas. This is after a conversation with the client in which we understand what the main gameplay is, whether that's jigsaw puzzle or merge gameplay or match three. In our games, often that meta element is decorating or perhaps makeover, or sometimes both. And then we create a story that really attempts to bridge and merge those. 

The number one reason the player is there is to play the game. They're not passive. So we're really working on what is that story that is going to merge all those three things together in this beautiful way. And we carry that through that process with every milestone.

We want things to be very short and very punchy. And, in most cases, while there's drama and interesting conflict that has to occur otherwise it's not interesting, most of what we're writing is jokes and we're really pushing the humor and being kind of meta and fun and just giving players that opportunity to enjoy.

Listen to the full podcast at the ironSource LevelUp website.

We've had a long relationship with ironSource, now owned by Unity, with many of our writers authoring industry articles:

Who Goes There? The Importance of Writing Distinct Character Voices, by Sara Hardin

The top 5 mistakes mystery writers make - and how to avoid them, by Lisa Brunette - Lisa was top writer for LevelUp in 2022 for this piece

Punchline: How to use humor to bridge player connection, by Dexter Woltman

The power of storytelling in blockbuster casual games, by Lisa Brunette

 


New Release! Cook Up Something New in ‘Restaurant Rescue’

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By Jenna Hume

Do you like to cook and travel? Then this new game is the one for you! Brunette Games is excited to announce the release of Me2Zen’s Restaurant Rescue. We put our previous experience on Cooking Confidential and other titles to the test crafting the narrative and writing all dialogue for this game. Players can cook new dishes, travel across the U.S., and renovate restaurants! 

Restaurant Rescue tells the story of the Spatz family--dad and chef Eli, mom and interior designer Zoe, introverted teen Lucas, wild child Winnie, and the loyal dachshund, Basil. In an effort to spend more time together, the Spatz family decides to start a restaurant makeover business and travel across the U.S., helping aspiring restaurant owners achieve their dreams. Will this family business thrive or fail? Play to find out!

Official Description

Welcome to Restaurant Rescue - Cooking Game! 🍔👩‍🍳Got the cooking fever? Join Eli Spatz, famous master chef, and his family as they travel around and help renovate and rescue struggling restaurants! Cook, serve and design--your restaurant story starts here!

Renovate and decorate restaurants in your own unique way, cook dishes, and serve customers with ease. With its beautifully designed 3D graphics and a captivating story filled with love, drama, and danger, this game will offer you a truly immersive, one-of-a-kind cooking experience!

Upgrade your kitchen and decorate restaurants with new flooring, furniture, and decorations to attract more customers. Enjoy cooking food, beat levels and explore a variety of different cuisines as you unlock new restaurants. Plus, you will be challenged by nail-biting time management tasks that test your cooking skills and quick thinking. Manage orders and race against the clock!

🧁This Cooking Game Features:

- Design and renovate restaurants with your own personal touch

- Cook global recipes to impress your customers

- Enjoy stunning 3D graphics

- Discover a captivating restaurant story with twists and turns

- Serve customers and manage orders to test your time management skills

- Unlock various restaurants, such as a BBQ food truck, bakery, Italian restaurant, taco truck, steak house, Thai restaurant, and more.

- Upgrade your kitchen and revive struggling restaurants

- Play offline and for free!

🍳Get ready to COOK, DECORATE, and UPGRADE! Whether you're a fan of time management games or cooking games, Restaurant Rescue: Cooking Games has it all. This crazy cooking game will provide you with endless hours of fun as you progress through its levels and experience new challenges.

Download Restaurant Rescue - Cooking Game today, and let your restaurant story begin!

Restaurant Rescue is available to play today on the Google Play Store.


Brunette Games Makes Final Round in PGC Awards

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We're thrilled to announce Brunette Games made it to the final voting round in PocketGamer Connect's Mobile Game Awards. We're up for the award in two categories:

  1. Best Service Provider - Please vote for us here!
  2. Game of the Year - This one is for the game we designed and wrote with the Jam City team for Netflix Games, Wild Things: Animal Adventures, which you can vote for here!

It's an honor to get the nomination for Best Service Provider, especially as we celebrate seven years in the industry. We've provided narrative, scriptwriting, and voice-over services to clients on 36 released games, many of them topping the app store charts and enjoyed by millions (billions?) of players worldwide.

Our clients range from super-small studios--literally just one guy in Shanghai, for example!--all the way up to major publishers like Jam City and studios backed by big names like Supercell. They all entrust us with the stories in their games, and for that we express our gratitude. We hope we've earned that trust over the years.

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Wild Things: Animal Adventures is a project very near and dear to our hearts. It began with a pre-pandemic, in-person kickoff--when our team was flown out to Jam City's Culver City headquarters--and continued for more than a year as we collaborated with Ryan Kaufman, Jam City's then-VP of narrative, Chris Tremmel, the veteran creative director (both now with PLAI LABS), and their talented teams. The nomination is well-deserved, and we look forward to seeing the title snag the win!

Here's the game in the latest Netflix sizzle trailer. Wish us luck! Voting closes April 6, and we'd love to get your click in our favor. Thank you.