“Don’t push us, we’re still dating”: SEGA & Rovio on Sonic & Angry Birds crossover

At Rovio Con Google 2023 in Helsinki, we learnt more about the Sega-Rovio merger, twentieth anniversary celebrations, new games and crossovers.

After the acquisition of Rovio, which we know as the producer of Angry Birds, by Sega in the past months, it is well known that the expectations for RovioCon Google 2023 have increased considerably. Although there were twentieth-anniversary celebrations, different topics, different events, and keynotes throughout the day, of course, it was Shuji Utsumi, President of Sega’s Consumer Games and Transmedia divisions, and Ben Mattes, Head of Rovio’s Angry Birds operation, who stole the show.

First of all, the 20th anniversary of Rovio, which began in 2003 under the name Relude Oy, was one of the event’s main topics. The company, which took the world by storm in the first half of the 2010s with the Angry Birds series, has studios in Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Montreal, and its headquarters is in Espoo. It employs more than 500 people. With a purchase price of 776 million dollars, many wondered how Sega would utilize Rovio after the acquisition. We got some clues about the path to follow during Utsumi and Mattes’s speeches.

Of course, if Rovio has Angry Birds, Sega has Sonic, and crossover between these two IPs has been in the spotlight of the gaming world for a while. Utsumi answered a question by saying that the IPs mentioned are still in the “dating” process, which was met with laughs in the hall.

Of course, Sega’s IP catalog is quite thick, and Utsumi had some words about it. Talking about the massive size of the mobile game industry, Utsumi stated that Sega and Rovio are developing new games on IPs that Sega already owns, and somehow gave us hope that we can see new mobile versions of IPs such as Bayonetta, Yakuza, Persona and Megami Tensei.

Another moment that had the room burst into laughter was when Utsumi admitted that they messed up the first trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog Movie while discussing Sega’s roadmap on transmedia and the “Segaverse.” “People asked me if we did it on purpose,” Utsumi said, adding that Sega is committed to transmedia and that they are continuing to work on animated Angry Birds projects.

Sega’s acquisition of Rovio seems to not only bring Angry Birds into the fold as some people initially worried. After Utsumi and Mattes’ panel, we can say that Sega and Rovio continue on the basis that aims to utilize each other’s strengths as much as possible.

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