Posted Mar 25th 2008 by

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An interview with
MIKAEL FORSGRENwords by , March 2008

North Kingdom are one of the hottest multimedia studios around. With a mightily impressive client list including Coca-Cola and Toyota, they’re the agency of choice for anyone looking for a Flash site which goes above and beyond the usual user experience. Having just launched their new creation, The Coke Zero Game, we were able to catch up with one of their designers, Mikael Forsgren, to find out a bit more info.

Hello and welcome to Thunder Chunky. How are you today?

I’m fine, a bit cold and snow outside though! I like the sun better…

For those few out there who aren’t familiar with North Kingdom, could you tell us a bit about the studio and your role there?

We are based in Sweden, have two offices, one in Stockholm, and our main office way up north in a town called skellefte?•. My role in the company is Designer, AD, Flashanimator.

You guys have recently released the Coke Zero Game, which has been mentioned as being one of North Kingdom’s biggest projects to date. Have you been involved in the project, and if so what has the process been like?

Yes, I’ve worked with this project as a graphic designer / flash animator. The process is basically we come up with the idea of what we want to do, then we figure out how we going to do it and who is going to do it. We don’t call it “WHAT HOW WHO”, but maybe we should.

Mikael Forsgren Coke Zero Game

The Coke Zero Game

The “Making of” site for the Coke Zero game shows that a hell of a lot of time, money and creativity must have been put into the game. Did the concept for the game come from the client or were you given a lot of freedom to come up with something special?

Well, the client knew that they wanted an online game, and that there would be a raffle for UEFA UERO 2008 tickets but how the game would work or look like they didn’t know. It was for us to come up with a concept that we all liked.

Mikael Forsgren Coke Zero Game

The Coke Zero Game

The production of the site is as slick as a Hollywood movie and it seems that there’s no limit now to what can be done with Flash. Was there anything which you guys wanted to be in the site but you just couldn’t figure out how to do it?

The initial idea for the game “Powerball” was not to break down a wall, instead it was breaking a lot of big windows of glass, and we wanted to shot that for real not to make it in 3D with a high-speed camera, but that wasn’t possible to fit in the budget. Also we talked about to use an actual water tank in the “Extreme Mega Ball” game, but that was also something that we had to cancel.

Another NK project which has had huge critical acclaim was the Get The Glass website. What were some of the things you were involved with on the job?

On Get The Glass I worked mainly with the “mini games”, there is four of them, driving a car, put flowers in a girls hair, keep the mom from losing it and finding your way through a map. Actually there were five games, but one got cancelled just before launch, and that was about chewing a gum without breaking your teeth, it was a good game, I don’t remember why it didn’t make it online. I also worked with the playing cards that pops up during the game. I also did some flash animations and graphics along the way.

Mikael Forsgren Get The Glass (1)

Get The Glass

The game must have needed 3d artist, flash experts, illustrators, designers… just how big a job is it to create a site like that?

There’s a lot of stuff going on at the same time, the Get The Glass took about 3 months to make, that includes everything from building the model of the island to make the screensaver. It was a hectic project so the last weeks was pretty much work around the clock to get it done in time.

Mikael Forsgren Get The Glass (2)

Get The Glass

For both the Coke Zero game and the Get The Glass game there must have been huge faith from the clients to invest in such a large project. What do you think it is about North Kingdom that clients love so much?

Well we have been fortunate to get good publicity for some previous sites, that is always good and gives faith to new clients that they are in good hands. We try to make the extra details in our project s that lift it up the next level. That’s important for us.

You’re based out of Sweden, what are the best and worst things about being based there?

I like Sweden, but the cold is the worst thing, it would be nicer if we had the weather they have in Florida except for the hurricanes.

What would a normal day in the North Kingdom studio include?

Mikael Forsgren Coke Zero Bottle

Inside the NK studio

We start up on Mondays, we have breakfast together and go through which projects are up and running, which projects are about to come in, which ones are about to be finished.

After that we start working to 11:45, and then some of us go to the gym and work out (me, Daniel and David.) after that we eat lunch, and continue to work. Other days it’s just pretty much normal, work and meetings and lunch and so on…

What’s lined up for the rest of 2008 then?

Oh, I really don’t know.

Finally, what’s the one thing everybody should do today?

I think they should grab a golf club and work on their swing.

You can find more of North Kingdom’s work by visiting their site or you can check out Mikael’s personal portfolio. Whatever you do, try to find the time to have a go at the Coke Zero Game and the Get The Glass game, you won’t regret it!

POSTED BY Jon

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