With the launch of UNO! for iOS and Android, we decided it was a good time to speak to the developers about the release of the game. We were lucky enough to have the chance to speak with the CEO Amy Huang-Lee.
So, to get started, please can you introduce yourself and give us a brief overview of Mattel163?
My name is Amy Huang. I’m the CEO of Mattel163, the developer and publisher of the new mobile game, UNO!
Mattel163 is very young and very old at the same time. We’re about a year old as game studio. It’s a joint venture of development muscle from NetEase and IP power from Mattel, thus the name Mattel163. Our mission is to create world-class mobile games and educational apps with Mattel’s iconic brands.
Very nice to meet you, Amy Huang, So before we delve into UNO!, we want to know about you, so please tell us about yourself, where does your passion come from when it comes to creating games?
I have been in the game industry for over 5 years. I worked in business development and the investment side of gaming previously. Having met with hundreds of talented developers from around the world, I continue to be inspired by the passion, creativity and labor that goes into the creation of a great game.
As a kid growing up in the US, UNO! was the first board game I was introduced to. I remember playing it at church or on school trips with my friends. I remember the fun colored cards, the excitement of putting down a Wild +4, slapping the table and yelling UNO. It’s so endearing to me personally that the first game our company develops and presents to the world is UNO!
Craig – Going, to be honest here, never played UNO! I was more into playing on the NES and other game systems as they got released. The first time I played a board game was actually rather recently with Monopoly, maybe ill give the digital version a whirl one day.
So please tell us what games and genres do you enjoy playing and have these had some influences in your game?
I grew up in the era of Nintendo Super Mario and arcade games like Mortal Kombat. Playing those levels over and over again with my cousin, or watching older boys make super cool combos on MK was a big part of my childhood. These days I’m a big fan of casual games on mobile. I love match 3 games or any skilled based games.
Craig – I Remember those days, I used to go to Butlins with my folks, and I would spend more time that I like to admit playing Mario Bros and R-Type in the arcade. I would also spend hours on my SNES playing Street Fighter and Mario Games, I also remember the controversial first release of Mortal Kombat. Recently though I have been stuck to my Nintendo Switch, just playing anything that comes my way.
So for anyone that has not played UNO! like myself Could you please describe the game to us?
Our mobile game UNO! is the classic card game with a LOT of new twists. We’ve got team-based 2v2 mode, where you can see your partner’s hand and help each other win. You can choose your own rules in Room Mode and play with your friends. You can go into high multiplier games to win big or go home with nothing. We also run tournaments to let players from around the world compete for the top spot. UNO! is fresh, fun, and more exciting than ever!
Craig – I am unsure if its something I will enjoy, but I did enjoy playing Monopoly, so I might give this game a go.
I understand that you released UNO! on Facebook if they were to check out the mobile version what can they expect?
We run slightly different events on the mobile version. The mobile version is 3D, while Facebook version is 2D; both offer similar game modes. We will be introducing a lot of new features later this year on the mobile app version. Stay tuned — I don’t want to spoil the surprise right now.
Craig – That’s good to hear.
I know many gamers around the globe do not like micro-transactions, so how are you making your money back on this game?
We like to keep the game experience as enjoyable as possible for our players. You can play the game for free. If you’re skilled, you can rack up a lot of coins quickly. However, if you’re down on your luck, you may watch ads for reward coins, complete daily tasks for even more coins. It’s a completely fair game of skill, strategy, and a little bit of luck.
Craig – Wicked, so no real need to throw any cash into the game, just what I like to hear, I do not mind advert.
I used to run Invisioin every day, now I work Full Time and help run Invision from time to time, What is it like working on UNO!, day in day out?
Our game has been in soft launch since mid-2018. Our team is 200% committed to creating the best game experience for our players. We listen to our players’ feedback from our Facebook fan page and through customer service and make changes quickly. We’re constantly trying to get better, whether it’s the UI, a new medal, a new character, or a new game mode, the development never stops. UNO is an evergreen title. We want to make this game last many, many years.
Craig – Its good to know that you listened to your fans and altered the game to suit them, games need to keep there fan base happy.
Invision has Volunteers mostly students and we find it hard to cover all the products we get sent, how many people were involved in the development?
We have a 30+ development team working on UNO.
Craig – A lot more than us, Invision is a small team now, even where I work there is only 4 of us and one boss.
Games take some time to complete, how much time have you spent on the development process?
It took us 12 months to take the game into soft launch. Then we spent another 6 months polishing the game before launching worldwide.
Craig – 18months is not to bad when it comes to game development, that’s impressive.
So we down to the final questions, and we like to know what advice would you give to young game developers who want to break into the gaming industry?
Making games is fun and can be highly rewarding, however, it is a hard profession. There are no shortcuts to success in the gaming industry. A lot of overnight successes you hear are usually accompanied by many years of unseen hard labour. If you love games, you have to stay on the path, find a good team, and keep at it!
Craig – Thanks a lot for that I know the Students we speak to when I head to Schools will appreciate the advice.
And final question, do you have plans to bring your version of UNO! to any additional platforms?
We would love to be on all platforms with UNO, as it’s such a popular game with so many people around the world. Right now, we’re focused on making the best experience on mobile. We still have a long to-do list of fun features and enhancements for our mobile game. Hopefully soon, we will be available on more platforms to reach our fans everywhere.
Craig – Thanks a lot for your time Amy Huang-Lee, It was great talking to you. I hope UNO! does will on mobile and you can keep improving the game to keep the fans happy. UNO! is now officially available to players worldwide in the App Store and Google Play.