Her Interactive President and CEO, Megan Gaiser, was gracious enough to accept an e-mail interview request. You will get her take on Nancy Drew, Her Interactive, women in video games, digital distribution, social networking and much more.
How did Her Interactive get started? Where did the idea for a point-and-click Nancy Drew adventure game come from?
From the very beginning, we recognized that girls want to be challenged, entertained and engaged with high quality, sophisticated video game play. They appreciate smart, strong characters they can relate to. We chose the point and click adventure game style because it enables exploration and discovery opportunities to play the game at your own pace. We also made the decision early on to enable the player to be Nancy Drew, so the player gets to experience what it is to be brilliant. We were fortunate to align with Simon & Schuster and the Nancy Drew brand early on. We’ve remained committed to creating high-quality entertainment that not only entertains, but inspires, teaches and ignites the imagination. We also have been very fortunate to attract a very smart, creative and eclectic team. We as a team have mastered the art of creative collaboration to make the very best games through thoughtful and creative approach and solution-oriented philosophy. We’ve evolved over the years, but we’ve never strayed from our core expertise and values.
What are some of the successes and failures you learned from in developing the Nancy Drew series?
Successes – Won 23 Parent’s Choice Gold Medal awards, pioneered games targeted towards females, learned the retail market and became successful retail publishers, established a unique niche in the mystery category, targeted an underserved market of girls, established ourselves as the #1 PC Adventure Franchise in units outselling Harry Potter, Myst and Lord of the Rings for six consecutive years.
Learning- With our Wii game, we learned that a straight port with only minor redesign will not result in a great game. We will port/re-design games moving forward to ensure a better result in the future.
What is the toughest aspect of developing a series of games like Nancy Drew?
After 14 years with this series, we have a well-oiled machine so to speak. Our team has mastered the art of creative collaboration so it works well. Our opportunity is to cleverly adjust the way we create these games to respond to the current price and business model changes.
How do you keep the ideas fresh for a series with 23 games released since 1998?
We use the Nancy Drew books as inspiration and we have an extremely talented creative staff who helps develop story lines and characters. For example, with just launched our first “gamebook” for the Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch called Nancy Drew Mobile Mysteries: Shadow Ranch. We used the Nancy Drew book, The Secret at Shadow Ranch for setting the story, but came up with the story line ourselves. Part game, part book, we have created a new way of telling a story in a more immersive and interactive way. Play the Story!