The Danish studio SYBO is behind the enduringly popular Android and iOS game Subway Surfers, and it was in their busy Copenhagen office that a very special meeting took place last week.
Marco Masri, a YouTuber from Vietnam, considers himself to be the biggest Subway Surfers fan in the world, and he has been livestreaming and exploring the game for years. He's never left Vietnam, until now at least, because SYBO recently decided recently to fly Masri to Copenhagen to show him the studio.
It's not just a holiday, however, as Masri is also giving the team crucial feedback about the game, helping shape it for the future. Gamereactor was invited to bear witness to this special meeting, and we even asked both Masri and founder & president of SYBO, Bodie Jahn-Muliner, some questions, which you can read below.
GR: Obviously, this is a tale of passion, both from the creators of the game, and for passionate fans willing to spend hours playing. We, and our readers, would like to know exactly which elements make Subway Surfers stand out, both from the creators, and the player's point of view?
Bodie: Subway Surfers as a universe and game is a passion project of ours. With the authenticity of skating and street, bright colours, global appeal in character designs - we really wanted to make a world that was grounded in reality with a twist of something futuristic, techy, unknown. Our fans can relate to the universe and come back for our World Tour updates. We visit a new city every three weeks, so we keep the content fresh. Kiloo, our publisher, is working on cool stuff from their end as well.
Masri: For me, the components that make Subway Surfers stand out is the gameplay and monthly updates along with new characters and hoverboards. The game takes you to every country and city around the world to discover the culture in that particular city. Also, this game teaches me a whole lot of geographic knowledge. When an update comes and brings a new city, I search that city on Google to know where's that city on the map, how is life there and to see more about the people and culture. There are also a lot of characters that players can choose and they have different styles. The hoverboards with different designs and special powers are great for making play more interesting.
GR: With those mechanics in mind, how has Subway Surfers remained popular after all this time? Is it a continued dedication to supplying the game with new content, or simply the love and passion of fans? Or perhaps a combination of the two?
Bodie: The Subway Surfers World Tour is really keeping the crew fresh. As they go to new cities, we get to meet more characters from the universe, and visit places you might not have been to yourself. We care for our players and their passion for our universe and game, therefore we put a lot of resources into making each city a tribute to their history, hallmarks, and unique features. I wish we could go to all cities in the world, but we started with the most iconic ones. And we keep the content coming.
Masri: I think it's a combination of the two. The creators always try to bring something new in every update and players respond with their love, passion, and they want to see one day that Subway Surfers has travelled to all countries and famous cities in the world.
GR: So, Marco [Masri], this is not only your first ever trip out of Vietnam, it's also your first visit to a game developer. How has your visit to SYBO changed your perspective on Subway Surfers, and Bodie, how is it seeing your studio and your game through the eyes of a passionate fan?
Bodie: We love Marco, and all of our fans. The passion and commitment from someone like Marco is a great way of showcasing the billions of fans for the brand out there. Marco has some good ideas for the game and we love meeting our community eye to eye. We share his passion for Subway Surfers wholeheartedly and will keep making it the coolest brand out there.
Masri: Not much is changed with my perspective on Subway Surfers after I visited SYBO Games. I just want to say people in SYBO Games are so friendly, nice and will welcome you wherever you come from. Everything is so perfect and I love the office space! If I had a chance to work here and live in Denmark, that would be awesome!
GR: Subway Surfers has thrived, but the premise is purposefully simple to ensure accessibility. So Marco, how does one continuously cover that kind of game this extensively, and to Bodie, was the game designed for that kind of exposure and deep coverage?
Bodie: Subway Surfers presents itself as a simple and accessible game. We always wanted that to be the case. But as true fans know, a lot of effort goes into the characters, cities on the World Tour, and animations to make it all come to life. As we are also developing Subway Surfers, the animated show, and our consumer products, we unveil the universe bit by bit. Marco and his fellow fans will have plenty of content to cover and discovery to do in the coming months and years.
Masri: I always wanna find something new for my videos by playing every new update, playing with music, asking my viewers about what they want me to do for them, doing some crazy challenge with other YouTubers and get some stuff that not many players could have because it's so expensive in the Store or it's not in the game anymore (except in Halloween and Christmas).
GR: How can both of you see Subway Surfers go forward from here?
Bodie: Subway Surfers is a one-of-a-kind property. In its sixth year, it remains the most downloaded game on the app stores. We keep developing content, we explore the world through animated series and will soon offer products to our fans. With more than half a million downloads each day, the power of the game and brand is still really strong. We will never stop developing the universe and are eager to tell more, but you will have to wait for now.
Masri: Because we're gonna have a TV series about Subway Surfers, people are going to see the character doing stuff and talking more (not only run and crash in-game). They wanna see the story of every character, so yes, I think after the TV series will air, some people wanna come back to play this game and fall in love with it
We also filmed an interview with Marco, which you can see below.
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