Jam City has launched Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow on iOS and Android. This game from TinyCo and The Curiosity Company features an original Matt Groening story about the mysterious Hypnotoad. And it represents Jam City’s attempt to move further into the first tier of mobile game publishers.
The L.A. studio wants this game to revive the interest of fans in Futurama, a TV show from The Simpsons creator, Groening. The show ran from 1999 to 2003 on Fox and then returned on Comedy Central from 2010 to 2013. Both Groening and Jam City are hoping the game has enough pent-up demand from people who are starving for more original content, since they’re not getting it in the form of new TV episodes.
Jam City is thriving on the likes of Cookie Jam, Panda Pop, and Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff. It has more than 50 million players a month, and its games have been downloaded more than 800 million times. Jam City has six of the top 100 highest-grossing games in the U.S. on iOS and Android. Jam City CEO Chris DeWolfe said in a recent interview that the company is targeting revenues of $450 million in 2017.
This story is about a galactic adventure that takes players across the universe in search of ancient alien artifacts to restore the fabric of space-time after it is transformed by the Hypnotoad. My kid is very excited about this, but I’m not sure why. Worlds of Tomorrow blends together simulation, combat, galactic exploration, and choose-your-own-adventure gameplay.
“Hypnotoad has always been one of Futurama’s most mysterious amphibians,” said Groening in a statement. “In this game we finally get to learn much more about his bizarre abilities and mating habits. Perhaps too much more.”
DeWolfe is betting that fans of the show miss it and that they’ll appreciate a game that it made with the help of the original Futurama writers. The idea is not so different from what Gary Whitta, a screenwriter of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, maintains games can carry on fan interest even long after TV shows cease.
The Simpsons: Tapped out also relied upon the writing of the show’s writers. It also provided content on a regular basis to get players re-engaged with it, drawing them back. And by drawing them back, the game got people to talk about it more, and that was good for spreading the word and bringing players back and eventually getting them to spend money. It generated enough buzz in that way and generated hundreds of millions of dollars. Jam City’s TinyCo, which is building the game, has succeeded in getting players to come back to its Family Guy mobile game.
That’s what Jam City is hoping for with Futurama, said Josh Yguado, president of Jam City, in an earlier interview. If the game can sustain interest on an ongoing basis, it can generate money on a continuous basis, and that’s the kind of hit that Jam City needs to break into the top tier of mobile game companies such as King, MZ, and Supercell. Each one of those companies has players who are coming back over and over.