House Flipper 2 has been officially announced. A few days ago, I went to Frozen District's HQs to talk about House Flipper 2 with Jakub Bujas, the producer of HF2, and Maciej Knot, the CMO. We talked about AI-powered cockroaches, Gaben's hands, fixing walls with ramen noodles, recreating our offices in the game, and why you should unscrew the flap on the back of the washing machine when moving it. But also, for example, about how long the team still intends to support the first part of the most famous house flipping simulator.
What you're about to read below is one of the funniest interviews we have ever had. Our interlocutors turned out so open-minded and friendly, it was difficult not to laugh and digress. We wanted to present to you the unabridged version of the interview, just to show you how hard the devs at Frozen District are vibing. One thing's for sure: you don't have to be afraid that House Flipper 2 will turn out an uninspired copy of the original.
The headquarters of the Frozen District studio, whose logo is a huge glacier, is found about a quarter mile away from the Krakow Central Refrigeration Center, which sports a large, blue ice mosaic on the facade – coincidence? I don't know much about numerology and horoscopes, but these circumstances, combined with the immense power of numerological portal 222 – a high-frequency, angelic number – can only be attributed to lady destiny. Trust me, I read it on the web.
Gaben's godly hands
Julia Dragovic: Are the hands that do all the work in House Flipper the hands of Jesus used to fight the demon in PlayWay's I am Jesus Christ?
Jakub Bujas: No, no, we made the hands ourselves – or at least their next iterations. The first ones, featured in House Flipper, were indeed assets. At the very beginning, when a few people were still working with us, creating such a model simply wasn't feasible.
Maciej Knot: The hands of Jesus look better than those in House Flipper, though.
Well, they are divine.
JB: I'm quite certain these are Gaben's hands. 100%.
Who's playing House Flipper more? Guys or gals? Are real plumbers, renovators, roof workers, designers, or house flippers playing the game?
MK: There's more men playing it, but there are also quite a few women. Girls actually wanted to be able to identify with the game more, so we introduced female hands. As for the professionals – it depends. We got e-mails like "I do house flipping for a living and when I come home, the first thing I do is play House Flipper." I do marketing, and when I get home from work, the last thing I want to do is play a marketing simulator. Promote your non-existent company in a game, and spend 20 hours on it.
JB: But you said that if there was a marketing simulator, you'd give it a try.
MK: I would, yes, but it's not like I would be crazy about the idea. In any case, we have people like that playing the game. They wrote to us saying they liked the way we approached the subject – a plumber wrote that the assembly was fun, that we omitted a few details, but in general everything is correct. Nevertheless, most of our players are casuals.
JB: A player once wrote to us saying that when he comes home and starts playing House Flipper, his wife gets really pissed because he's cleaning virtual rooms instead of tidying his own house.
I admit I really got into watching carpet cleaning on YouTube and therefore I would like to ask, a little in my own interest: will there be carpet cleaning mechanics in House Flipper 2?
JB: Will there? It is definitely a good idea.
Has the subject of house flipping gained popularity in Poland after the launch of your game?
MK: Maybe in part. The game certainly made Poles realize that there is such a profession at all. Because in Poland, many people didn't even know about it. There's also the question of scale. It may have risen some awareness among players, but are they really such a significant part of the society to influence a 40-million-people nation? We don't know.
JB: We've definitely been seeing some changes since the premiere. When we talked to people about the house flipping game, it totally meant nothing to them; we had to tell them the whole story. That it's like the The Sims, but without Sims, and in first person; you had to explain everything that was going on. So, this has definitely changed – now we hear "Oh, I know that, I watched it on YouTube," or "I played your game, but I didn't know it was yours." So, you can clearly see a trend; it drives itself and grows every year.
Well, even Kourtney Kardashian's ex did house flipping.
MK: Oh, I thought he was playing House Flipper.
Exactly, have you thought about sending the game to someone who does it IRL, a celebrity for example?
JB: Kourtney Kardashian, write it down.
And Scott Disick – that's the name of her ex.
MK: Scott Disick. Sounds like a DC character (laughs). Maybe you want some water after all?
Regarding programs – is someone from the company watching, for example, Property Brothers or other TV series like that?
MK: Not us. But we have some avid fans of that show in the company, and there has even been an HGTV add-on.
JB: When developing that content pack, our designers actually had to watch the HGTV shows to get the essence of it and be able to transfer it to the game. For example, we have one designer who goes to IKEA every other day to browse the furniture and update his mental catalog. And these people are genuinely passionate about it and just want to be up to date.
Have you thought about an IKEA collab?
MK: To everyone from IKEA who reads this great interview with the creators of House Flipper: We wanted to establish a cooperation with you for three years, but no decision-maker is ready to take this challenge, apparently. So, if you are reading this, we can work together and earn some... Pardon, make both your clients and our players happier. Get in touch with us. Best regards, Frozen District.
JB: We tried to contact them. It turns out to be a very complicated process. We kept hitting a stone wall, but we are very eager to work with them anyway.
So you go to IKEA, or DIY stores, watch interior design programs – is this what your research actually looks like? Have you completed any courses, or had meetings with experts? Learning about screws, how to connect a washing machine, or why you should unscrew the plate on the back of the washing machine...
MK: Exactly. Do you know why you have to do that?
MK: When you transport a washing machine, the drum inside has to stay fixed. You have to unscrew the lock and screw the plate back on, without the locking screw. We watched many videos on YouTube about mounting various devices. We've also contacted specialists, but not always. If we had our own experiences, found something solid on YT, or someone did some renovation and got a major in it, we just went and implemented it. With some simplifications of course, because it is a computer game after all. If we stayed super realistic, people would have been bored after 30 minutes.
JB: After House Flipper became popular, the content creators started to publish more material related to HF on YouTube. Videos in which professional house flippers commented on our game are very valuable to us, because it confronts our creation with reality, and we're able to get very valuable feedback from it.
During the last Poznan Game Arena [one of bigger gaming events in Poland – ed. note], a professional flipper played our game. The feedback from him was very positive and at the same time very detailed; we made notes and it was a very useful experience.