Piecing together what Puzzle Chasers on Facebook is all about [Interview]

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Puzzle Chasers interview
When Zynga revealed that Konami would soon be a publishing partner for the social gaming giant's proprietary gaming portal, Zynga.com, it was admittedly surprising to see the creator of Contra embrace social games in the West. Yet here we are, staring at not the first, but the second Facebook game from Konami since that announcement, Puzzle Chasers by Hibernum Creation.

The first original property on Facebook from Konami since it revealed its deal with Zynga, Puzzle Chasers is officially live on the network and ready for play. (And no, the puzzler is not available on Zynga.com.) While we scored some time with Puzzle Chasers during E3 a few weeks back, we still had some questions. That's where Konami social games producer Frankie Kang comes in.

How did you come up with the idea for Puzzle Chasers?

We looked at what was popular on Facebook at the time--hidden object games, word puzzles, match-3, poker, simple games that didn't require much instruction or rules. So we knew we had to create a game that stood out amongst a sea of "me-too" experiences out of pure survival. The real question was what was left?

After a few months of hanging out at toy stores, brainstorming with my team, and playing an endless amount of social games, we came to the realization that the jigsaw puzzle experience hadn't yet been fully realized on the Facebook platform. That was our "aha!" moment.
Piecing together what Puzzle Chasers on Facebook is all about [Interview]
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Why such a heavy focus on story?

People love Angry Birds, not only because of its simple, fun and engaging game play, but because each character has a personality. There's a personal affinity towards the red bird, the green pigs, and everyone else. That doesn't happen by accident. This is where Hibernum Creation, the developer of Puzzle Chasers, really shined.

So, it's easy to talk about the game mechanics of the Puzzle Chasers, but a completely different experience when you talk about Blake West, his relationship with Roxy, and his ongoing adventures with Austin. That's when fans decide to dress up like Blake at Comic-Con, drawing pictures of Austin and posting them on DeviantArt, etc. A truly engaging story is required for that kind of fandom and respect. Besides, there haven't been many great stories written on Facebook, so let's give it a shot! Who doesn't like mystery, romance, and little globe trotting adventure?
Puzzle Chasers screens
Were there any other inspirations for Puzzle Chasers other than the gap it fills on Facebook?

We knew from the start that Puzzle Chasers had to be a jigsaw experience different from what you or I grew up on as children. The idea of opening a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle set, spending the first 30 minutes separating the border and corner pieces, then slowly working around the frame, until you finally have some semblance of an image that was recognizable from the front of the box, that just wouldn't appeal to your average Facebook gamer who had a few minutes in the morning or afternoon to feel like they accomplished something.

Personally speaking, the most rewarding part of working on a large jigsaw puzzle are the last few minutes when everything falls into place. There are no more frustrating screams, fists pounding a piece that won't fit, or digging through a sea of jigsaws looking for a particular piece. That's what we wanted to recreate and Puzzle Chasers is the end result.
Puzzle Chasers sneak peek
Where do you see Puzzle Chasers going in the future?

I'd love to introduce more adventures, more characters, and more story arcs. How did Blake meet Austin? Why did Blake leave the altar? I'd tailor these new adventures with new game modes and new power-ups, so it's not just a rehash of what we've already introduced. I've love to expand Puzzle Chasers to even more platforms and even consoles. The future is unwritten, but we have plans if it goes well.

Click here to play Puzzle Chasers on Facebook Now >

Are you excited to give Puzzle Chasers a shot? Are you a fan of jigsaw puzzles or puzzle games on Facebook? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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