At Comic-Con in San Diego last week, ZeptoLab announced a partnership with Ape Entertainment to bring the character “Om Nom” from the Cut the Rope game to digital comics. While there have been many video games based on comics, it’s uncommon to have a video game character do the reverse and make the jump to comics.
I had a chance to ask Misha Lyalin, chairman of ZeptoLab, a few questions about the move, and why they decided to make Om Nom a comic book character.
Why did you choose to go to comics, rather than, say, a movie like Angry Birds?
We are always looking for ways to extend the Cut the Rope brand and give our fans more original content. With our first game, Om Nom didn’t have a story — so when Ape Entertainment approached us about the comic book, we knew this was a great way to start telling Om Nom’s story. Both ZeptoLab and Ape Entertainment are looking to take Cut the Rope to unprecedented levels of popularity and create entirely new ways to interact with the work — whether that’s a movie, toys, cartoon or TV show — we are exploring opportunities and will pursue those that make the most sense for the brand and our audience.
Is Om Nom as a brand going to be expanding to merchandise as well? Plush toys are in the works. Will there be anything else?
Yes absolutely. It’s an important aspect to growing our business and feeding our fans. We’re looking into a variety of ways to merchandise Cut the Rope. We will have plush toys available starting in September and we have several styles of t-shirts available now. This is just the beginning. Stay tuned for more.
What can we expect from future Cut the Rope games? Will they be entirely new games, or will they update in place?
Both. We just released an update to iOS (v1.4 Toy Box) on Friday, and we will bring the same update to Android soon. We also have an entirely new game in development and you can expect to see more of the same great gameplay, as well as experiments with new animations, music, gameplay mechanics, Facebook sharing — and you will meet new characters. You won’t have to wait long for this one — it will be out within the month.
Did the idea of an interactive comic come up in your discussions?
Not at this time. We are doing this because we want to build the story for Om Nom using comics, and Ape Entertainment is awesome at it.
What can you tell us about new characters in the game? Will they get their own games?
You will have to wait for the story to come up. The characters will make appearances in the game with graphics and voice overs but that’s all we can tell you right now.
Any thoughts to expanding beyond handheld? Will there be a console game? The Wii seems like a natural fit.
Of course, we are looking at every platform that makes sense for this kind of game. We agree the Wii and Xbox are natural fits, as are computers and social networking sites. We don’t have an exact timeline for releasing on other platforms just yet but this is definitely something that is on our roadmap.
What other channels are you exploring for Om Nom? Is the goal to drive people to the game, or is it more than that?
We want to drive people to the game — of course — and we want the people who play our game to be engaged with our online/social community. Om Nom is a loveable character and Cut the Rope is a phenomenon for its gameplay. We have this amazing character that we can build a brand around and extend it in any number of directions. The opportunities are limitless — ultimately the success of one product will contribute to the success of another, as consumers look for more ways to interact with Om Nom. The comic book afforded us our first opportunity to develop a complex storyline around Om Nom. It will offer fans an opportunity to get to know the character better, understand where he comes from, why he’s here, what his personality is like, and why he loves candy so much. We’re really building a universe and filling in all the storylines around Cut the Rope. It’s been a lot of fun.
Special thanks to Misha Lyalin for taking the time to chat with us.