Happy Volcano is a videogame studio located in Leuven, Belgium. They are currently working on Winter, a narrative exploration game in collaboration with author Joost Vandecasteele. Winter won Best Mobile game in the 2016 Belgian Game Awards. The company previously released Lava Fever a twitch action game for iPhone. Next to development of their own games, they also do work for hire for Belgium’s biggest brands.
In December 2013 David Prinsmel, Peter Maasen and Jeroen Janssen decided they would rather make videogames than keep working in the advertising business. Not that there is anything wrong with advertising, making games is just way more fun. A first step towards this goal was taken. The trio started working after hours on Lava Fever, a twitch action game for iPhone.
In May 2015, Lava Fever was released. While not successful as a product, the game was rewarding as a project. It showed the team that they could come up with a fun concept, develop it and release the game without bashing in each other’s skull. At least not with a lead pipe.
In the Summer of 2015 Happy Volcano applied to an open call by the Dutch Stimuleringsfonds to pair established authors with videogame studios to explore literary games. It was part of the shared Flemish/Dutch guest of honourship at the Frankfurter book fair. The team paired up with Joost Vandecasteele and started working on Winter, a narrative exploration game about a little girl in the second before she dies. They won the grant out of 47 selections.
Happy Volcano was formally established as a company in September 2015 and got awarded a subsidy for Winter from the Belgian Gamefund in December.
They start showing development builds of Winter to the public in late 2015. Earning them a nomination for Best Art and the award for Best Mobile Game in the Belgian Game Awards.
Winter was invited to several showcases in 2016: the first Made with Unity at Unite Amsterdam and the first Indie Cade Europe in Paris. The game was also shown at A Maze. Berlin, indigo Utrecht, Wordplay London and of course the Frankfurter Buchmesse.
To be able to go to these international conferences, they spiced their funds by doing work for hire for brands like the national broadcaster’s children channel Ketnet and made games for the tv series My Knight and me from the Franco-Belgian 3D animation studio Thuristar.
In December 2016, they were finally able to quit their advertising job and started working full time on Winter and the occasional work for hire project.
Winter - Teaser (2016)
Lava Fever - Official Release Trailer (2015)
Lava Fever - Official Teaser Trailer (2015)