Rumpus Animation: Bringing British Games to Japan

Meet Bertram Fiddle, the British Explorer working his charm on Japan's gaming fans. 

Rumpus Animation Have Found Their Niche in the Japanese Market

Rumpus Animation is a young company, having been started in 2011 as a place to make funny, character-based short films and animations. Since then the company has worked on music videos, commercials and title sequences, and has made animations for CBBC, Cbeebies and Google Japan. They have recently started making games as another way of telling funny stories. They all have character at their heart. Their adventure game “Bertram Fiddle” can be found in the App Store, Google Play and Steam Store.

Britishness Appeals to a Japanese Audience

Their products seem to be a perfect fit for the Japanese market. Seb Burnett, Creative Director and Illustrator of the company explains, “I've always had a fascination with Japan and the proliferation of characters that are used as mascots for companies. I've exhibited in Osaka and Tokyo before and we work with AirsideJP, an agency in Tokyo, regularly. With our game I was actually approached by a publisher who specialises in bringing Western games to the Japanese market. He really liked the design and story of Bertram Fiddle and thought it would appeal to a Japanese audience because of its Britishness. The game is almost like an interactive animated film, in a way, and Japan has a huge tradition in sequential story-telling.”

Attending Trade Shows in Japan Helps Gauge Interest 

Rumpus Animation first gauged interest from gamers Japan to see if it was the right market for them to expand into. “We attended the Tokyo Game Show in 2014 so we could see if there was an interest and we were really surprised how well we did,” says Burnett. “Our game is very different from a lot of the high-action, shooty-shouty games out there and is more focused on story and humour. It was great to have a queue of people waiting to play! On release we were featured by the Japanese App Store and have had some really good reviews from the press. It's really nice to think that a small, independent game about a British explorer is being played in Japan.”

While their future plans include promoting the brand beyond games and releasing other products, they are also currently working on the next episode of the game. “When that comes out we'd like to try and create an event that gives us more exposure,” Burnett reveals.

Tips for UK Companies Dreaming of Doing Business in Japan

Although this company has just gotten started in Japan, they are clearly doing things right! Burnett has tips for UK companies who like you, dream of doing business in Japan.

“We were lucky in that we got a great partner who has helped with localisation and promotion, as well as having a large number of industry contacts, so I would recommend that,” he advises. But also I think be true to your product. Our game is possibly the most British thing ever and we haven't tried to copy or mimic Japanese styles or games as they can do that better and are saturated with that. The fact that we are so different is what makes us so interesting.”

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Bertram Fiddle Case Study2.23 MB