Ridiculous Fishing creator reeling from Apple Design Award, talks TU

Ridiculous Fishing creator reeling from Apple Design Award, talks update

Vlambeer founders Rami Ismail and Jan Willem Nijman didn't think Ridiculous Fishing would win an Apple Design Award. Sure, it was in the running, but it was a long shot, and they had other places to be during the ceremony at WWDC on June 10 (E3, anyone?). Just in case, they asked Ridiculous Fishing collaborator and indie extraordinaire Zach Gage to go to the show, and he did. In flip flops. And shorts. And Ridiculous Fishing won.

"Holy shit," Ismail laughed during our chat at E3. He was still getting over the fact that Ridiculous Fishing won an Apple Design Award, and that Gage collected it in what's commonly considered summer beach attire.

So far Ridiculous Fishing sales have hit the "hundreds of thousands," Ismail said, and after the Design Award, sales spiked again. Even Elijah Wood got hooked on Ridiculous Fishing – or, as Ismail put it, "The Hobbit played it!"

"We had hope that it would do well and that it would send a strong statement about how creative games are the right way to makes games, and it did that in every perceivable way," Ismail said. "It did that."

There's still plenty more for Ridiculous Fishing to do – Vlambeer submitted the first Title Update last week, and if all goes well, it should go live in three weeks or so. Title Update one will include "a bunch of new fish" and a new item that players can pour money into, for bragging purposes.

"And it's a pretty weird item," Ismail said. "It's kind of a surprise. It's actually a pretty mundane item; it's just a really funny thing. I like it."

One major addition in the update is a knife to cut the fishing line. This one surprised Ismail – it came at the request of people who finished the game, collected all the items, and just wanted to catch one specific fish. Currently, these players have to throw the line all the way down, and if they miss the fish, they still have to ride the hook all the way back up to restart the level. The knife allows them to cut the line and immediately start over.

"That's one of the largest pieces of feedback we've gotten," Ismail said. "We didn't expect people to all get that far into the game. We expected them to get to the credits and then be like, 'OK, I beat the game.' But so many people are playing to 100 percent, and we didn't expect that. Pretty much everyone plays until the credits, and then a pretty high number at least get all the items in the store. And at that point, that's where the knife issue happens."

Ridiculous Fishing creator reeling from Apple Design Award, talks update

Title Update one is large, but as with Ridiculous Fishing's fish, there's a bigger one on its way. A lot of the tweaks in this Title Update will set the stage for a "really huge, super update." Ismail didn't go into specifics, partially because he didn't yet know the details himself.

"The next update, we just don't know yet," he said. "We know sort of what we want to do and we sort of have this narrative arc that we want to explore, but we don't know how we're going to do it. I'm looking forward to what the gamers will say and see if that sort of aligns with what we're thinking."

One thing it won't be is a port to Vita, because that's never going to happen. The screen is simply too small vertically, and Vlambeer has a mission to make games, and then put them on platforms – not create games for platforms, Ismail said. As for hungry Android players, he reassured me that's still a possibility.

"We're still not sure if it's going to happen, but we're working on it," he said. "We do really want to. I've always had an Android device, and it would be such a shame to not have it on Android. It's a good game; I want people to play it."

Luckily for Ismail, it seems that people want to play Ridiculous Fishing, too. And give it awards.

"It's a video game: If people aren't playing it, it's not worth anything," Ismail said.