Challenges & Goals
At the start of our collaboration with EA, The Simpson: Tapped Out has already been well-loved. Electronic Arts needed a team that would supply content for the game’s monthly updates; they asked iLogos to handle the production of art assets for them — and we did.
EA dedicated updates to events that happened in the show and real-world holidays like Christmas and Halloween. Taking over art production, then, also meant working within a tight schedule while keeping up with The Simpsons to learn about new locations, characters, items, themes, and plot points that could be referenced in Tapped Out. We had briefs, of course, but knowing the canon still mattered.
Our art assets also needed to be identical to the ones in canon, primarily if they reflected things and characters the audience would recognize & enjoy the most. Our work had to fit Electronic Arts’ intellectual property requirements.
So: we had to draw and animate as the canon show did, and millions of people have already played the game and eagerly waited for those updates. (You know: no pressure.) Luckily, co-production tied to IP rights and the necessity to keep up with the various canons’ art styles is one of our specialties, so our team was very up to that particular challenge.
For years, we took our part in making The Simpson: Tapped Out more engaging, enjoyable, and intriguing with each update. In 2016, the game already had over 900 levels; we drew and animated a lot, in the spirit of the canon, with the player’s joy and comfort in mind. Our assets have often been offered for in-app purchases, so we worked hard to make them attractive, engaging, and fitting for the narrative.
Art pieces we created and new plot points The Tapped Out’s writer team devised made the game more popular. We worked with EA for almost four and a half years, and while we can’t calculate the exact revenue The Tapped Out made during our collaboration specifically, in 2020, it grossed $200M.
We cannot be more proud to contribute to a title that has been started as a passion project and got so adored through dedication to a canon, love for the show, and consistent improvement.
Solutions & Expertise
Our vector 2D artists based their work on a) the client’s requirements in the weekly brief, b) Electronic Arts’ conceptual ideas, and c) the canon itself.
As it usually happens with the development of anything for a licensed product or a product based on someone else’s IP, we needed to communicate a lot. Often, there have been dozens of feedback loops during the creation of asset groups for a single update: everything needed to fit both the canon and the client’s vision. It was especially the case with The Simpsons characters and in-universe buildings. Colors and curvatures of lines in Tapped Out’s character design had to become a reflection of their in-show counterparts, so we regularly had a lot of back and forth with the client, adjusting the graphics, shades, and colors manually and aiming to get everything right.
For every art asset — location, building, character skin, etc. — we first drew a conceptual presentation, a final asset, and then prepared the asset to be put in the game: refined & animated it in Adobe Animate (if the asset needed to be animated). After each of these stages, the work had to get approved both by iLogos’ art lead and by EA — and we did achieve multiple 100% replication of canon in our art: multiple times, in multiple forms.
The team size varied between four and nine people on the project, depending on the scale of the upcoming event or update, but it always consisted of at least two artists, an animation artist, and an art lead who connected the team to the client.