Being a part of ChefVille from pre-production, through launch, to cadence, I have had an incredible opportunity to be both a contributor to the product and as a director of its creative vision. The collection of work included in this section is a small sample of pieces that I have had a hand in directly or oversaw its artistic development.
The general idea behind ChefVille, much like the other Zynga favorites such as FarmVille, CityVille, Words with Friends, etc., is to socially connect with your friends to build a vibrant restaurant and collaboratively cook dishes that, even though are illustrations, make your mouth water. ChefVille became one of Zynga’s most profitable and largest social games of 2012’s fourth quarter.
CHALLENGE: Social Gaming is a relatively new genre in the game arena and as such struggles, and coincidentally adds to, the growing trend of quick gaming experiences for shrinking player attention spans. Zynga’s game designs continuously try to come up with new, limited-time features for games that only last for a short period of time to constantly re-invigorate their player base. The same challenges existed on the ChefVille team and product - How do we keep players engaged in ChefVille before they lose interest altogether?
SOLUTIONS: ChefVille’s game design and art teams were in a situation that was both more opportune but also more challenging - food porn. Social media has catapulted food exploration; people love eating food, taking pictures of their food, sharing food pictures, which has in turn increased new culinary innovations. ChefVille’s designers centered game play around food, introducing limited-time features based on unique food themes. I proposed tying all the food artwork as well into the game’s Instagram account and hashtagged much in the same way people share their food pictures on social media. The various themes and social media platform connections continued to engage players each week until the company ultimately decided to sunset the game in 2015 to make way for newer game products.