What's the connection between Jacksepticeye and House Flipper?
I understand. Let's imagine that we're playing, and we get an order: "Could you help me tidy the garden?" Signed, for example, Kourtney Kardashian. Do you consider working with famous people? You would design a house, they would live in it, and on the way, for example, some funny easter eggs would be added. Have you thought about something like this?
MK: We did.
A celeb from Poland? From the USA?
MK: We were thinking about bigger names. I can say we wanted to work with jacksepticeye. He's a fan of House Flipper, with large output game-related materials. We haven't achieved this yet. Maybe if we reduced our expectations, we'd find someone, but we don't want to do that.
Maybe this interview will be groundbreaking?
MK: Maybe, you never know!
JB: Jacksepticeye may read this interview. After the first part, we have many YouTubers, and other kinds of recognizable people who are fans of the game. We offered featuring their entire homes in the game; we will definitely try to do something similar.
MK: Sooner or later, it will happen.
JB: You're not a Youtuber, are you?
I have 2.5k followers on Instagram.
MK: Ok, post our photo there, let's take it after the interview! [We didn't – ed. note].
JB: I hear your new offices will be in the game.
Would you do that?
JB: We're open to suggestions. You know, the sky is the limit. Since it is possible to build these houses from scratch, the chances of transferring any building to our game have increased significantly.
Will there be pop culture references in part two?
MK: Sure thing! We already have some in the first game and we will want to continue this trend, i.e. add some well-known apartments and other pop-culture references.
Will it be possible to lay tiles on walls faster in the second game?
JB: Even faster?!
MK: You can develop those skills in the game.
I already have everything maxed out.
MK: So, what? You probably cheated.
No, I just became addicted.
JB: We're aware of this problem in the first part. We redesigned every mechanic that was transferred to HF2 and they should work much better.
Are there any mechanics you have not decided to transfer?
MK: A-ha! Someone's pulling teeth! There will be no cleaning, no hammers and no building. Besides that, we're transferring everything else.
JB: Yes, we mainly focused on cockroaches.
MK: People said they liked them best. Some people are scared, but there just will be more glass.
JB: I can't say what kind of mechanics we will definitely not be transferring. We have a certain set of mechanics that we'll surely include. And there are some that we're still discussing. In a month or two, especially once we establish contact with the community, it may turn out that, for example, we need something that we don't aticipate. No options are off the table.
Were there any elements in the first game that didn't really click? Something that was an overkill, that the community didn't like it too much?
MK: [Whispering] Garden contests.
JB: Their rules are very vague to players.
MK: And I think some people find buyers problematic as well.
JB: They do cause some confusion. This is one of the mechanics that will be thoroughly reworked.
MK: You never know what will come of this reworking. We shall see if it was the best idea.
Who has packed the most hours into the original?
MK and JB: Ziomek [one of the people working on the game – ed. note]. Currently 8144 hours.
Because he wants to, or because he has to?
MK: To be honest, when you're using Unity, the engine that powers HF, Steam counts it as game time. Every working hour is an in-game hour. So, sad news – none of the players will ever beat it.
And do you see who from the community plays the most? If so, do you plan something like writing to them "Hey, we see you, you are great?"
JB: Members of the community often share their game times with us, and it often goes into the hundreds.
MK: Yes, but due to GDPR, we cannot disclose who exactly those people are, unless they decide to open their profile. If you are reading this, open up your profile, maybe you will get a nice surprise! You never know.
You have House Flipper, you have The Tenants, you are clearly comfortable in the residential theme – will you ever go beyond that?
MK: We would like to make an RPG. Everybody would.
JB: We target mostly players from our community. It's already so extensive that we are able to ask them if they like something, if the direction we are following is right. If we suddenly started making another Far Cry, a lot of people probably wouldn't know how to feel about it. And we would probably lose many fans, too. Like we said, a very large part of this is female fan base, so flipping, selling flats – it remains our niche.
MK: So not yet. Just as Larian makes great RPGs...
JB: Cheers, Larian! If you're reading – feel free to release the full version of Baldur's Gate 3.
MK: It's due 2023.
The question is which 2023.
JB: Exactly, the question is which 2023.
MK: Let's hope they don't launch on the same day as House Flipper 2.
Why are you announcing House Flipper 2 on this particular day?
MK: Because it's 22.02.2022. It sounds like destiny. Another date with so many twos won't be around for another 200 years. Then, we will also announce something with a two in the title.
Any anecdotes from creating House Flipper 1?
JB: Few people realize that the initial cockroach system that existed in the game was an RTS minigame. Each cockroach had its own artificial intelligence, moved around, made decisions and what not – 600 cockroaches waged real battles. Total War Rome is a piece of cake. But over time, we had to simplify it and found that the players didn't notice the difference at all, unlike their processors. You just can't notice it. We were proud of what they could do, but it turns out we were the only people in the room laughing.
MK: As for cockroaches, there was also a funny bug...
MK: The cockroaches grew larger and larger every second.
JB: Our level designers do not work on cockroach nests, but on a large mother cockroach. And they place it in various places on the levels. There was this bug that displayed no cockroach nest, but the mother of all cockroaches instead for a moment. Needless to say, when players saw a huge cockroach like that, it was impressive.
As for cockroaches, will there be flamethrowers in the sequel? I know parents can't be particularly happy with all this content.
JB: The controversial content is included in an add-on called the Apocalypse DLC. It's free, you can disable it, and there are no flamethrowers and shotguns involved.
MK: On April 1, we replaced the hammer with a shotgun. Instead of smashing it with a hammer, you shot the wall and it would fall apart. If you set the date on your computer to April 1, the shotgun will be enabled.
Before the release, did you expect House Flipper to be such a success?
MK: Yes, but no. Steam used to have the greenlight system. For those who don't remember, it was basically a voting system for the community, where people could decide whether they wanted the given game or not. We recieved a lot of feedback after House Flipper. I think you had to be in top five? If I remember right, it was divided into a couple of rounds... I may be talking nonsense, you can check it and correct me later…
JB: What a quote.
MK: Well, House Flipper soared to the first place in the first 24 hours after release. And then I got hundreds of e-mails to my marketing inbox: "Oh, House Flipper, I want be part of it, I want to play it, what will it be." It was a sign that there was a sense of anticipation. It was a total niche, there was no such game before.
JB: We expected the project to be successful. We did not expect to sell over 3 million copies on PC and consoles, though. All this just kept on growing every year and we were more and more surprised.
Thank you for the interview!
Julia Dragovic | Gamepressure.com