Having fun is a serious business

The gaming company Seriously put together a veteran team and released a critically acclaimed game for both mobile and Apple smart watch. They credit Finland as the fertile ground for their success.

Normally a journalist visiting an office will attract some polite attention, but that doesn't happen here. Only one person gives a quick cursory glance at the stranger while everyone else ignores the interruption and continues working. Here at the new gaming company Seriously the staff is, well, serious.

A literal dream team of gaming professionals are gathered in Seriously. They have experience at companies like Disney, Fox, Rovio, Remedy and Digital Chocolate.

"We were able to hand pick everyone we wanted for our team," says CCO Petri Järvilehto.

Järvilehto says that game developer skills in Finland have grown amazingly in recent years. He explains the improvement is built upon the firm foundation of the past decade and a half of hard work.

"Some years ago we used to make jokes about how we should turn Finland into the 'mobile gaming capital of the world'. Nowadays that's pretty much a fact and Finland is globally perceived as one of the hottest game development locations in the world," he says. "I think the level of talent, the breadth of experience and the amount of high quality developers in gaming puts Finland clearly into the top percentile globally."

Seriously's team of veterans shipped their critically acclaimed mobile game Best Fiends remarkably quickly. In it, your team of fiends battle evil slugs in a puzzle game which includes both social and strategic elements. You can compare your progress with that of your friends', and diverse characters have different abilities which can influence the play. Seriously has already attracted USD 10 million in funding, which will help them continue to develop the next games in the Best Fiends trilogy.

Finland and funding

"Finland is a great place to run a company," Järvilehto continues. "The infrastructure works, the amount of highly educated high-tech talent is incredible and the work ethic is generally very strong. When we Finns commit to something, we like to see it through."

Järvilehto says that people in the game developer community stay in touch with each other, exchange ideas and wish each other success because "a rising tide lifts all boats." Additionally, he cites the public sector's strong support as one reason for the success of Finnish gaming.

"Tekes has been instrumental in enabling the gaming sector to grow as we are seeing today," he concludes. "A large part of the local games industry has been able to strongly invest, grow faster, and develop better technology and content with Tekes' support. Working with them has been a pleasure."

See how Seriously did in 2015. It did great.

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Text: David J. Cord

Image: Seriously

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