is the original videogame created by Amanita Design
, released a bit over a year ago on PC and then on mobile platforms.
Amanita Design are some of my most favourite people in the games industry because they represent the best qualities of an independent creative team: they are the sort of dreamers who get things done.
With a team that’s less than ten people working out of a small office in Prague, they manage to consistently produce highly rated original cross-platform videogames that sell millions of copies across the globe; and not only that, but they are also able to produce plush toys
and vinyl soundtracks
and all sorts of other merchandise based on their IPs – and ship it worldwide!
On top of this, Amanita Design also displays an incredible integrity when it comes to ethics: some time after CHUCHEL was released as a character with a black body color, a number of users felt that this image is too close to “blackface” and found it disturbing. The response of the studio? They have re-drawn the whole game, changing the color of the main character to the current orange one, and re-done all of their marketing materials, as well as the plush toys. And when hundreds of users on Steam gave the updated game negative reviews for that, saying that they find Amanita’s position"weak", the studio held strong and remained committed to their original decision.
For all of the above reasons, we chose CHUCHEL as this year’s Summit Mascot, representing the following:
- that a small team of game developers can continuously create original properties that sell millions of copies;
- that such a team, based in Prague (and not Los Angeles, or London, or Montreal) can create games that successfully sell all over the world;
- that such a team can produce in-house, and directly ship cross-platform products;
- that such a team can successfully collaborate with a wealth of outside talent – musicians, artists, game designers – in a model that is fair to both parties and builds strong and lasting relationships;
- that such a team can successfully run operations – producing merchandise and setting up a direct store as well as handling communications;
- that such a team can start and grow without external investment, bootstrapping itself on the back of its founders and their commitment to stay focused throughout the years;
- that such a team can, despite its strict work ethics, remain a family-friendly place with everyone having kids and having the time to take care of them properly rather than lay their personal lives on the altar of the creative aspiration;
- and, finally, that such a team can remain finely attuned to the needs & feelings of its international user base to the degree where the studio would re-do the whole game to address a possible discomfort.
The example set by Amanita Design represents, in my opinion, the ideal client of any law firm: you know that by helping the studio get stronger and grow with your specific expertise, you are enabling a fair and sustainable creative model that enriches the cultural space of the videogames industry. And indeed, it is possible to bootstrap a studio out of a non-major location and produce top-quality content without compromising one’s integrity!