360 Q&A: The Creators of ‘Fetty Wap: Nitro Nation Stories’ Break Down How They Turned a Rap Star into a Mobile Racing Game
Fetty Wap is living the dream right about now. In addition to scoring major success on the Billboard charts with his breakout singles “679”, “My Way”, and the seriously catchy “Trap Queen” — his self-titled debut album where all three songs can be found also debut atop the Billboard 200 — he’s now getting into the mobile gaming scene as well, with a little help from two young urban entrepreneurs Keegan Carter and Davon Robinson. Oh, and all three dudes are putting on for Jersey!
We got a chance to experience the game firsthand — Fetty Wap: Nitro Nation Stories, to be exact — at the official launch party last week at Slate NY. It’s a super fun experience when you really get into it, so we had to know more about how this all came together. So, how does one turn Mr. 1738 into a full-out animated racing character? We spoke with both Keegan and Davon, co-creators of Moor Games, to get the full rundown on how it all came to fruition, why age really is just a number when it comes to building business, and where we’ll see Fetty next — 2K17, perhaps? Read on to find out, while also checking out some images we shot at the party.
(L to R) Keegan Carter and Davon Robinson of Moor Games (Photo: NorthJersey.com)
How did you guys get started with developing Moor Games?
Davon Robinson: The idea was conceptualized in the summer of 2013. I essentially had the idea of using high profile celebrities in the mobile gaming market. It’s a booming market, however it is quite difficult to stand out amongst the masses. That’s why the idea of attaching a celebrity brand to it would help us stand out in the sea of apps that are developed daily.
I gave Keegan a phone call — we were high school classmates and ran track together — since we’re both into the same things, like music, parties, and entrepreneurship. Keegan’s had experience with mobile apps, and he saw the validity in the idea [for Moor Games]. We just took it from there and that’s how Moor Games got started.
Keegan Carter: That’s pretty much the bulk of the story. The only thing I would add is that we both had prior experience in the entertainment world, so we both saw a deeper level to it. It wasn’t just as simple as throwing celebrities on products; we knew there was a specific way you had to execute. We definitely built the company off of that [business model].
We’re not exactly aligning ourselves with the Moors, but the name came from the Moors that are not usually talked about in our history. Most of what we’re taught is built on European influence, but the Moors were a set of people from Northern Africa that ruled Spain for over 400 years. They brought a good amount of literacy to Europe before what we’re even taught, so that influence is where the name came from.
“People will let things such as age and lack of resources hinder them from starting anything. We wanted to highlight the fact that we are two young black males from the inner city with not a lot of resources, but were still able to create something. It takes time and persistence.”
— Davon Robinson, Moor Games
Very dope history lesson! Let’s bring it back to now, though: How did you guys get Fetty Wap to be down with doing this game?
DR: We were looking for our first celebrity partner and, similar to what Keegan alluded to earlier, we didn’t want to just get celebrities and throw them on just any product. You see that a lot with other celebrities where you can tell it doesn’t really fit but they’re just using the celebrity’s likeness to make a sale. We understood that, for starters, Fetty loves to drive. There was a whole process where we studied Fetty Wap himself. After a few engagement metrics, we realized that he had the strongest engagement compared to practically all celebrities at the time [of development]. He makes great music that resonates well with fans, but he has this other side to him; his brand image is very distinct. He loves to drive cars, ride bikes, and is very much into that street racing culture. [Racing is] one of the most profitable markets when it comes to mobile gaming. That’s what clicked with us, honestly.
We searched for the best development partner to take on the idea, so we linked with an Eastern European company called Creative Mobile. They’ve created a mass of racing games that have garnered over 250 million downloads. They saw the opportunity in working with an A-list like Fetty Wap, and it came together from there. With our company values, we’re really big on aesthetics and making sure we can create a game that’s fun for an avid gamer or someone that’s into the culture of hip-hop lifestyle. It’s dope, put together well, and its not too difficult.
KC: Essentially, we targeted Fetty Wap based off our interest in his brand and engagement. We actually had the concept before we went to him, so when we presented it to him it was all based off our research from interviews where he discussed what he loved to do and who we really was outside the music. After getting him on board, we reached out to development partners we’d already vetted since we knew they already had the right things to bring to the table for the kind of game we were trying to build.
How long did the process take, from conception of Nitro Nation Stories to the actual launch event?
DR: We had a base of the product with Creative Mobile, so we mainly focused on the inclusion of [Fetty Wap’s] brand — making sure we got the right music in there, making sure his character really looked like him, and making sure it was an interesting storyline all came into play. That process took us about four months or so to get all that together. If we didn’t have that base code in place though, it would’ve taken a much longer time and process. We definitely didn’t want to take over a year to release a game with Fetty.
One of the biggest things worth noting about this whole process is that you guy’s are both only in your early 20s. How important was it to show off that sense of young entrepreneurship?
KC: We’re definitely young and very driven — we’ve always seen ourselves in that light — but we like to put a spin on it by not really focusing on the age aspect. One of the most interesting comments that people give us is that we’re doing something really amazing “for a 23-year-old or 24-year-old.” Internally, our response is always that this is just amazing, period. We’re just trying to transcend the industry and do things that aren’t done whether you’re 25 or 50.
For us, one of the biggest things about it is that we realized we’re targeting ourselves: the millennials. That generation has the biggest spending power. When you’re looking at big companies and large corporations make decisions for consumers, these are people who are still trying to understand who exactly is buying their product. When it comes to us, it’s just [looking at] ourselves and asking ourselves. That’s where the beauty of it is. Our business acumen and desires for the industry all play into that.
DR: That’s literally 100% what our train of thought has been. In addition to that, we definitely want people to understand that we’re not a funded company. There aren’t any investors behind this machine — we’re bootstrapping [Laughs]. Even with putting out an amazing product and working with an A-list celebrity, there’s still a way to innovate the approach when starting a business.
People will let things such as age and lack of resources hinder them from starting anything. We wanted to highlight the fact that we are two young black males from the inner city with not a lot of resources, but were still able to create something. It takes time and persistence. I read a quote not too long ago from Winston Churchill that said, ‘Success is experiencing failure after failure without the lack of enthusiasm.’ It’s something that we embody and highlight, especially for two people that are young and look like us.
We’re super big on sports lifestyle here at DUNK, so if you guys could choose another theme outside of racing for the next game — preferable something sports-related — what would Fetty Wap be doing next?
KC: The one I’d probably throw out there is the NBA 2K route, only because, if we’re taking about something that he’s presented to the world, we’ve seen him play ball before. Based off a concept of something that already defines him, I would definitely say 2K. On another note, through the gaming world we could introduce people to ideas that they didn’t realize fit them so well; it doesn’t just have to be things that they already do well.
Ok, so outside of dream game collabs, what does the actual future of Moor Games hold for you guys?
KC: Moor Games is a flagship brand of Moor, which is kind of like a holding company. You have this holding company that targets the multicultural demographic, and the flagship brand that is more about the game. We’ll be introducing Moor clothing and Moor social on the event side. Moor is essentially synonymous with culture. We built it from the ground up with that idea in mind. That’s really what drives the world forward (culture) and it’s rooted in our methodology. In short, the future of Moor is definitely to become more of a household name in all cultural touchpoints.
To hear more about Moor Games and to purchase the Fetty Wap: Nitro Nation Stories game, head over to Creative Mobile’s official website.
Images: Keenan Higgins/DUNK360