We continue our series of interviews with developers and game industry experts. Bakir and Mia are co-founders of the Cool Bears Game Studio from Baku, Azerbaijan. Bakir is a game designer, and Mia is a 2D artist in the studio. But, of course, this is just one of their roles, along with dozens of others. The founders of indie studios will understand what they are talking about:)

Could you tell us how it started and how you entered the industry?

We founded Cool Bears in 2018, but entered the industry even earlier. We started this journey because we believed we had all the qualities necessary for this business.

Bakir had knowledge and experience in programming and game design, as he had worked on flash games as a freelancer since 2007. Mia has experience in the field of art and psychology, and she speaks several languages. Together they had a vision, a creative approach and a desire to create their own business. Despite the lack of opportunities, resources and mentors in their country, they have the courage to become pioneers of the game industry in Azerbaijan.

Why did you decide to develop your own games? What game/idea has inspired you?

There was no specific game that inspired us in the beginning; there were many games that influenced us and our vision. We decided to create games because we were driven by our ideas and the desire for success. Our first game was “Boxing Physics“. The motivation was to create a game with fun physics that players could play on the same device with a friend. Since Boxing Physics has an audience of more than 3 million players worldwide with zero budget for marketing, we can say that the goal has been achieved. 

Cool Bears

Let’s talk about Cool Bears; where are you located? What is the size of the studio? What is your focus now?

Our studio is called “Cool Bears” and is currently located in Baku, Azerbaijan. We have a core team of 7 people and permanent outsourcers we can bring in when needed. We were founded in 2018; at that time, we were mainly engaged in mid-core and casual games. But now, we focus primarily on the hyper-casual games market. We believe that having a background in flash games, casual games, and virtual reality games gives us enough experience and perspective to succeed in the hyper-casual games market.

Could you tell us about your projects?

We are currently working on “Truck Wars” and improving the game daily. “Truck Wars” is a game in which the player builds his own truck out of blocks and fights the enemy. It is very dynamic, juicy and has excellent physics, which, in our opinion, makes the game stand out. The game has good metrics and huge potential. There are already many clones of it in the Play Store, but no studio has been able to replicate the physics of Truck Wars, so we’re really proud of it. This is thanks to our experience in physics from creating the Boxing Physics series.

What are the results in 2022 for your company so far? What are the key milestones?

At the beginning of each year, we develop a growth plan and vision for the coming year. So, by mid-2022, we released Truck Wars in partnership with “hoopsly”. 

Highlighting the results in 2022 of Cool Bears so far:

  • created many prototypes, some of which they have tested themselves and some with partners;
  • moved to a new office;
  • new vacancies are available, and guys are glad to welcome talented and motivated people to their team;
  • begun to cooperate with new publishers and continue to receive new exciting offers;
  • expanded their team to be able to work with many publishers at the same time. 

We plan to open a new branch in Turkey by the end of the year. Of course, we plan and aim to release new hit hyper casual games. This year, we plan to create our own tools to speed up the production process. We are full of energy and inspiration and believe we will create genuinely outstanding games and achieve all our goals by the end of 2022.

What essential news or events in 2022 would you highlight in a gaming market so far? And what were they last year?

We can highlight a few observations from our point of view that deserve mention.

  • Firstly, we can mention many leading publishing companies opening their offices in Turkey. Of course, this attracted our attention because Turkey is our neighbouring country, and we see a good potential for the entire region in this event.
  • The second thing we could emphasize is that the genre of hyper casual is changing. It is moving towards what is called hybrid casual. This means that hyper-casual and minimalism will combine some features of mid-core games to enrich the game.
  • And one more thing we can note is that there is no longer one but several publishers at the top. It creates competition and healthier conditions for collaboration between developers and publishers, since developers have more choices with whom to collaborate.

What 3 pieces of advice you could give to people who dream about developing their own game or opening a studio?

We believe that personal experience is more valuable than any advice. But still, there is some advice that is useful to remind from time to time.

  1. Be flexible. This is a perfect strategy because the industry is changing rapidly, and it is important to have many plans and options. If something goes wrong, you can easily switch to your backup plan.
  2. Deliver high quality. Especially in the hyper-casual genre, most studios focus on quantity but not on quality. We believe that this cannot bring success and satisfaction to the players in the long run. And also, to be able to compete, it is important to focus on quality.
  3. Be consistent. It’s excellent if your games immediately become popular, but this is not common for many developers. So, staying consistent and expanding your knowledge and experience is good, eventually leading you to success.

We were all beginners once. The main advice we would like to share with beginners is to enter the community of game developers and surround yourself with like-minded people. This way, you will expand your network, finds a mentor, make new friends and keep up to date with interesting events/news. This will help you see the surrounding opportunities!

What are your top 5 favourite games?

This is an interesting and hard question 🙂 We will answer this question individually.

Bakir’s top 5 favourite games are:

  • Assassin’s Creed
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • Counter-Strike: GO
  • Rope Slash
  • Horizon Zero Dawn

Mia’s top 5 favourite games are: 

  • Limbo
  • Monument Valley
  • Overcooked
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  •  Super Phantom Cat 2

Thank you for your answers!
You can check out the company’s games on the official Cool Bears game studio website.

Help Ukraine