Every week, ILQ features a different Qatari startup in our ‘Startup of the Week’ segment. Qatar has some of the most creative, unique, and impactful startups in the region, and we cover them all across a variety of industries in Doha—from fashion and beauty to food and dining, health, education, technology, and more!
This week, we're featuring a mobile game by a Qatari-based game studio - Jumbo! The action-platformer adventure game made its first debut in Ajyal Film Festival 2019's Geekdom event and has been evolving ever since.
When you play Jumbo!, you'll get to embark on an adventure where you'll discover Blooming Valley and the mystery of the Jewel of the Realms. You'll also meet unique characters and formidable foes throughout your quest.
Originally a co-op competitive game about collecting the most points, "Jumbo" was a high school project in 2017 of the game developer, Khalifa Al-Kuwari.
He recounted that the game started its development in August 2019, then made its debut in the Ajyal Film Festival 2019, as part of their Geekdom event. Visitors of the event helped shape the game where it is today through their thoughts and feedback. Jumbo! came out July 23, 2020, on iOS devices after a period of further development, and has recently come out on Android as well.
Khalifa shared that so far, the response from players has exceeded expectations - with downloads from major countries around the world, not just Qatar. He has also received a wide array of valuable feedback which he hopes to incorporate into the game in the future.
"Jumbo! is a game that will constantly evolve over time, the Jumbo! you play now will not be the same Jumbo! you’ll play a year from now," says Khalifa Al-Kuwari.
Jumbo! players can look forward to an exciting announcement soon. The biggest update on the game is currently in the works which will involve a new story, new player-requested features, and much more. The update will be available for free early next year.
"In the future, I hope to bring Jumbo! to PC and consoles. Nonetheless, my focus right now is building upon and expanding the game that is already available on current mobile platforms," Khalifa Al-Kuwari shared.
We also asked the game's founder/game developer a few questions regarding his experience in developing Jumbo! and for his advice to young people who want to follow in his footsteps. Read his answers below:
What really motivated me to learn about game development and design was the growing game development presence in the Middle East. I set out to create a world that players can immerse themselves in and explore to their heart’s content. Of course, I wouldn’t have gotten where I am now without the overwhelming support of the local community, my friends, and family.
Getting into mobile game development wasn’t easy, especially when coming up with the specific game design and figuring out what works, and what doesn’t. Another aspect is the programming, which has been one of the difficult stages of development - but eventually became easier after self-learning and attending online courses.
During the experience, I felt like I have massively developed not only my programming, game design and art skills, but my storytelling skills. Although I still have a lot to learn, I am hoping to inspire other individuals in Qatar to leave their comfort zone and try something new.
My #1 tip for entrepreneurs in the field would be to think big, but always start small - quality always comes first during game development. Alongside that, always be open for support whenever it’s needed, and find opportunities, no matter how small or big, to learn and expand your skill sets.
I like to settle into roleplaying story-driven games, like the critically-acclaimed Fallout series, or perhaps the Elder Scrolls series. Worlds where you can do whatever you want, whenever you want has been my main inspiration for Jumbo, and I will continue to build upon that in the future.
What do you think of Jumbo? Let us know in the comments! Don't forget to hit LIKE and SHARE! For updates straight to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter!
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