Supercell is one of mobile gaming’s biggest success stories. The developer is known for games like Brawl Stars, Clash Royale, and perhaps most significantly, Clash of Clans, but before all those games, it released something less about combat and wartime strategy and more about managing a farm with Hay Day, which recent marked its 10-year anniversary.
Hay Day was not Supercell’s first game, but it was the first the studio published globally. It’s also the game it has supported the longest, as it launched in June 2012, right before Clash of Clans rocketed Supercell into the mobile stratosphere. “I think it’s more than fair to say it’s our first big success,” Supercell chief game lead Eino Joas told us in an email interview.
Hay Day is celebrating 10 years with mangos.
Clash of Clans released about two months after Hay Day, but its success did not change the trajectory of Hay Day. In some instances, a wild success can adversely affect the plans for another game within a studio. Paragon from Epic Games, for example, was shuttered and development resources were redirected to support Fortnite when it began to take off. “Development for each game was not affected by the other’s success as we had independent teams of developers working on each game,” Joas says. “In fact, they actually even helped each other out in critical moments. We’ve always believed that the best teams make the best games; that’s always been the idea at the center of Supercell’s culture and allowed us to work on both games in tandem.”
At the time of Hay Day’s release, there simply weren’t many farming games on the mobile market. Farmville existed and was immensely popular, but it was played almost exclusively in browsers and via Facebook. “Hay Day is the result of a team of Supercellians that wanted to make the best possible farming game on mobile, as there wasn’t a mobile farming game at the time,” Joas says. “They had freedom to create their own game and that was their choice and passion. Clearly this paid off.”
Elements of virtual farming have existed in video games for years, even before the first Harvest Moon released for Super Nintendo in 1996, but the genre has recently seen a resurgence thanks primarily to the massive success of Stardew Valley. It would be easy to be bitter over the success of a farming game arriving years after you’ve released and maintained your own for years, but there is no ill will over the success of other farming games. “I think it’s fantastic! Stardew Valley is such an amazing game that it deserves all the love it can get. We love to see games achieve success and each new success story shows how the community and the desire for games like these continues to grow,” Joas says. There is just something about the concept of maintaining plants in a virtual setting that reverberates with players. “Building and maintaining your very own farm and the wonderful products and recipes you can create as a result of your care and effort give people joy, pride, satisfaction–a sense of achievement.”
Hay Day launched about two months before Clash of Clans.
Outside of the core game, though, Hay Day was never able to branch off and find spin-off success as many other successful mobile properties do. “We actually had a game with a theme from Hay Day called Hay Day Pop, but it didn’t make it to becoming a global game,” Joas says, but that doesn’t mean Supercell won’t try again. “We will definitely keep an open mind around this in the future but whenever we do crossover between our games we want to make sure it feels right.”
As part of its 10-year celebration, Hay Day is marking the occasion with, unexpectedly, mango trees. Why mango trees? “It’s a great summer tree and brings exciting new recipes for players, including mango juice and tropical fondue, which make perfect treats for summer celebrations. Also, mango with sticky rice is my favorite dessert,” Joas says.
Supercell is also using Hay Day’s benchmark to highlight its work with the Rodale Institute, which is working to improve regenerative organic agriculture around the world. “The Hay Day community are digital farmers; as such, we’re farmers–let’s help farmers help people,” Joas says in regard to the partnership. “Regenerative farming is a complex process, but to put it simply, it helps create healthier soil, which grows healthier food, which makes healthier people.” In-game, players were tasked with completing a Global Truck Event (which they did) in order for Supercell to donate to the institution.
Despite Hay Day’s long-term success, don’t expect to see it, or frankly any of Supercell’s games, appear on other platforms in the future. “Supercell is all about small teams that want to make the best possible games, so we need to focus on a chosen platform. Mobile phones have been the right platform choice for our games so far,” Joas says.