Even if you don’t class yourself as a gamer, we’d like to bet that you’ve played, watched or at least heard of Candy Crush Saga from King. At Entertainment Focus, like millions of other people, we’ve spent plenty of hours crushing candy trying to beat our friends and family.
We recently got to sit down with Andra Petrosan, Producer at King. Andra leads the Candy Crush Saga live in-game events team and is responsible for coordinating a team of artists and developers to create new, fun and engaging in-game live event content for Candy Crush Saga players to enjoy around the world.
We were keen to find out a bit about Andra’s role at King, her work on Candy Crush Saga, the role of the game in The Emoji Movie and her experience of working in the games industry.
Hi Andra, thanks for taking the time to talk to Entertainment Focus. Can you tell us a bit about your personal background, your journey to being Producer at King?
I started my career working as a junior online marketing specialist at a digital marketing agency in Bucharest. After that, I continued working in the online marketing sector but with more focus on data analytics and user psychology at an antivirus software Company in Bucharest. The company I was working for at the time offered me the opportunity to move to Germany to take on a different role, which meant I began to transition from away from marketing into a more product focused role.
Ever since Candy Crush Saga launched in 2012, I’ve loved playing the game. I realised at that point that I wanted to make games that were as legendary as Candy Crush Saga, and that people enjoyed playing as much as I did.
I found a role on King’s job website that seemed to match my experience and suited me well, so I applied for it.
Can you tell us what it’s like to work at King?
I love working at King – it’s both challenging and rewarding. We work in a very dynamic team, where things change quickly and often. No day is the same, so it’s difficult to ever become bored. There are two main parts to my day-to-day job. On one side, I spend a lot of time talking with different teams and people from around the business, so that I can update the team effectively. On the other side, I spend a lot of time researching and planning new ways to improve our players’ experience within the game.
Clearly the gaming industry is heavily male dominated, can you tell us a bit about how you find it as a woman within the industry?
My experience of being a woman in the gaming industry has been extremely positive. I’ve only ever worked for King in the gaming industry, and my team and the people around me have been nothing but supportive and open. I’ve never felt as though I’m being treated any differently because of my gender. Everybody on my team works together as a team and it’s a very collaborative environment.
Candy Crush took the world by storm when it was released and its popularity seems enduring in spite of copycat attempts, what do you think is its unique selling point?
Candy Crush Saga’s success is down to brilliant people. Behind the game is a hard-working team of exceptional designers, coders, testers, artists, producers, and much more. We’re incredibly passionate about ensuring it’s the perfect game for all those bitesize moments of fun we seek, and we work to make sure it’s easy to pick up anytime. We’ve also kept our commitment to adding more levels to keep expert level players entertained.
You lead the in-game events team, how do you think the use of events has contributed to Candy Crush remaining the leader within its market?
Live in-game events play a very important role in maintaining Candy Crush’s success. They offer players variety in the game which ultimately makes the game fun and engaging for our audience.
Recently Candy Crush has been included in the Emoji Movie, can you tell us anything about the role it will play?
In the film, Gene, the movie’s main character, gets stuck in the Candy Crush Saga game board and needs to be swiped to freedom. It’s quite an entertaining scene! Make sure you keep an eye out for what happens to Gene as he attempts to get out the board.
How did the opportunity to be a part of the movie come about?
We heard about an exciting project Sony were working on and knew we wanted to be a part of it. We spent time with the filmmakers to work out the most authentic way to integrate Candy Crush Saga in the movie and vice-versa. We wanted it to be seamless collaboration that would benefit our players and enhance their experience in-game.
Have you had a chance to see the final edit of the movie or the section(s) that involve the game?
I did get to see the Candy Crush scene before the movie was released and we worked collaboratively with Sony on which assets were best to use throughout the process.
How did the inclusion of Candy Crush in the Emoji Movie translate into the game?
We created a set of movie-inspired in-game challenges, designed to reflect Candy Crush Saga’s appearance in the film, where Gene, gets stuck in the game board; his friends then need to swipe him to freedom. In the live in-game event, players enjoyed five new challenging levels, helping Gene escape to the bottom of the game board. It’s been really exciting to recreate Candy Crush Saga levels that replicate a scene directly from a movie.
Can you give us any sneak peeks at upcoming events in Candy Crush?
It’s been an exciting year for Candy Crush Saga, and in November, we will also be celebrating the fifth anniversary of its launch onto mobile. We’re always trying and test new ideas in order to create even more great gaming experiences for our players, so watch this space!
Candy Crush Saga is available to download now for free for iOS, Android and Windows platforms.