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Mattel partners with Zynga’s Rollic to make Barbie mobile game

Mattel has teamed up with Zynga’s Rollic casual game studio to make a new Barbie mobile game.

So yes, there is finally a new Barbie game coming, and, no, it’s not called Barbenheimer.

El Segundo, California-based Mattel is teaming up with Take-Two’s Zynga/Rollic to launch the game on digital shelves later this year. The partnership represents a significant stride in Mattel’s mission to expand its digital games business, providing engaging entertainment experiences for audiences of all ages, said Mike DeLaet, global head of digital gaming at Mattel, in an interview with GamesBeat.

Barbie film, which launched in July 2023, has scooped in more than $1.44 billion worldwide at the box office, making it last year’s top film. That success made it a no brainer to launch a game based on the franchise. But DeLaet said the company wanted to make a good, authentic Barbie game rather than just quickly slap a brand on an existing game.

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Barbie also had a brief stint inside Activision Blizzard’s Candy Crush Saga mobile game last year during the film launch.

This strategic alliance leverages Rollic’s expertise, as the subsidiary recently surpassed 2.7 billion lifetime downloads worldwide.

Recognized for developing and publishing hit mobile titles in over 175 countries, with 22 titles claiming the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the U.S. Apple App Store, Rollic has solidified its position in the gaming industry. The company’s commitment to the hyper-casual genre, coupled with a data-driven approach and a knack for tapping into cultural trends, makes it an ideal collaborator for Mattel.

Barbie towers over times Square.

The forthcoming Barbie mobile game, set to be published by Rollic, is expected to benefit from the subsidiary’s ability to seamlessly integrate live services and in-game events. This approach aims to ensure long-lasting player engagement, aligning with Mattel’s strategic initiative to extend its iconic intellectual properties into various entertainment mediums.

DeLaet said, “Partnering with Rollic and Zynga enables us to bring a fresh and exciting mass-market Barbie mobile game to fans worldwide. This collaboration underscores Mattel’s dedication to leveraging our iconic brands in innovative ways and propels our digital games division’s ability to deliver best-in-class immersive entertainment experiences for fans of all ages.”

Burak Vardal, CEO of Rollic, said in a statement, “Barbie is beloved by generations of players around the world, and we are delighted to partner with Mattel to bring the latest iteration of this icon to mobile gaming. Our teams’ ability to translate cultural moments into lasting gameplay allows us to provide players with another place to engage with their favorite IP, and we are excited to step into the world of Barbie with this brand-new title.”

The collaboration could mark a pivotal moment in Mattel’s ongoing expansion of its licensed digital games portfolio. As a leader in the toy industry, Mattel wants to continue to innovate and evolve — and make sure its beloved brands remain at the forefront of entertainment across generations.

This brings back memories for me, as my daughters played hours and hours of Barbie Horse Adventures on the Xbox back in 2003.

This new game will be targeted at adults and teens and will be coming this fall. It will use the “merge” mechanic where you put multiple resources together to progress in a game.

“We’ll target a more adult audience,” Delaet said. “It will been teens and up. It’s really kind of going after that nostalgia factor, which is really what the movie leaned into heavily. And so it’s going to be a very exciting project working on with Rollic.”

It will have a complex story that touches on some of the themes in the movie, which was about empowering women and the sensitive egos of men. Take-Two and Zynga leaders reached out to get the project going and they had an interesting pitch, DeLaet said. DeLaet noted that Mattel has more than 200 brands and it believes in the future of gaming.

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