Chicago, IL -- When popular Seattle-based game developer Big Fish wanted to create new videos for their hit mobile game Fairway Solitaire, they partnered with award-winning animation studio Calabash Animation – led by Creative Director Wayne Brejcha and Executive Producer Sean Henry – to shoot a creative hole-in-one.
“Mobile and casual games like Fairway Solitaire are a hugely competitive market and developers like Big Fish are always looking at ways to up the creative ante, which is why they came to us to help bring the animation to another level,” Henry says. “While we’ve worked in online before, we’re primarily known for our broadcast work, and I think that is the sensibility and creative approach Big Fish was looking for on this project. With its classic cartoon style, this represented a great opportunity for us to showcase our skills in this emerging media sector.”
A golf-infused version of solitaire – replete with snarky announcers, polite applause from the gallery, and one seriously ticked off gopher -- Fairway Solitaire stands out by offering unique course layouts, and daily content, all while telling a story.
“I gave Calabash the storyboards, let them run with it, and they nailed it. These cartoons are everything I had hoped for, and we now have a set of animated stories like no other,” said Jeff Willis, Big Fish Artist and Creator of McDivot Character.
As players progress, they are treated to nine different animated shorts that tell the story of McDivot. Fans demanded more, and Big Fish felt Calabash would be the perfect studio to tell the next chapter. These five videos showcase his romantic misadventures and result in several hilarious sequences.
For Calabash’s lead animator Gary Whitney, the biggest challenge was bringing Big Fish’s concept to life with the right style animation and tone.
“Big Fish provided preliminary storyboards and animatics about how they saw the storyline developing and the specific look of the gopher, which was inspired visually by classic Hanna-Barbara animation. From there, they let us run with it creatively and flesh out the story and comedic elements. Big Fish's hands off approach showed a lot of trust in our work, which I think helped add to the overall quality of the sequences.”
McDivot’s creator Jeff Willis worked with Calabash Animation to ensure that any new animations set new standards.
“With these new episodes, I wanted to raise the bar because our fans deserve the best,” Willis said. “I wanted these new McDivot episodes to pay homage to my Saturday mornings growing up. After an extensive search, we found Calabash had the right people and talent to help us realize that vision,” Willis continued. “I gave Calabash the storyboards, let them run with it, and they nailed it. These cartoons are everything I had hoped for, and we now have a set of animated stories like no other.”
Source: Calabash Animations