Interview – TV Show Release the Hounds Becomes a Mobile Game
How d’you fancy trying to collect all the swag whilst escaping from some vicious hounds that’d love to catch you?
This is the premise of TV Show Release The Hounds, a game show that’s been showing up over on ITV2 where contestants navigate some rather spooky quests in search of a hefty cash prize. Whilst the UK variant has been making high-roads, the concept’s been used for localised versions across the world.
This same show just got its own new localised version. It’s not for a different country or area though, it’s a different medium. Yep, Release The Hounds is now a mobile game that you can play on Android or iOS devices.
Here’s the trailer:
Here at GGS, we got talking to Mat Steiner, managing director of Gogglebox Studios, to find out more about the TV-to-gaming transition.
So first, about the game. It’s developed by Just a Pixel, who you might recognise as the developers behind the Team 17-published game, Light.
Release the Hounds is a runner game that puts you in the role of one of the contestants of the show. You have to collect as many coins as you can in a level, before attempting to escape with the loot in the finale of the show. The ‘dog run’ is designed to replicate that of the run that happens in the show, Mat explained, with the gates lifting up at the end and so on.
“The dog-run in the game was designed to mirror the show as closely as is possible”, Mat said. From the threat of the dogs to the night-time environment, it’s all done with a view to giving that impression of being in the show.
In terms of levels, there are three rooms and three environments to explore. Each of these are unlockable through the collecting of coins that you accumulate in-game. Each room has its own dangers that could reduce your odds of success when it comes to the dog-run, so it’s important to keep that health bar up!
Next, I asked Mat about what it was like making a transition from TV to Video Games:
“It was a great experience. There were lots of ambition from the guys at Just a Pixel and it allowed us to pour our hearts and souls into the game. We really wanted to make sure that fans felt like they were in the show, so it was important that our first attempt was done right in satisfying the fans world-wide.
It was quite a challenge, especially with maintaining the suspense of the show. But having a clear vision from the start helped set a clear goal for the game’s development.”
On the subject of past experiences that proved to be useful in the game’s development, Mat reflected on his work in making game shows for TV. “It was pretty easy to translate across to a video game format”, Mat said, although he did clarify that although things like emotional punctuation have to be maintained, there were lots of things that the folks at Gogglebox didn’t know so much about when it came to video games.
“There were some things that we didn’t quite know so much about, like collection rate for coins and so on. But the guys over at Just a Pixel helped so much with the calibrating of things like that.”
On my first glance of the game, the dark and grim atmosphere made it seem like it was a runner game with a good dash of horror for good measure. Mat clarified that the game actually goes down a different angle.
“It’s very much about adrenaline, where you’re trying to collect coins whilst there are lots of things coming at you to dodge and avoid. So yeah, it was the adrenaline that we really wanted to carry across.”
Lastly, I rounded off my interview as I always like to do with a fun question. This time round, I asked Mat which video game he thinks would make for the next great TV game show.
His answer? Call of Duty!
“Call of Duty would be pretty amazing! A TV show could be made where you’re air-dropped into a conflict zone and being hunted. One of the reasons that Release the Hounds succeeded on TV was because of its atmosphere and colourful world. Imagine using a similar style of setting but in a massive warzone!”