Toronto game developer launching sequel to worldwide hit

Alto's Adventure hit the #1 spot on Apple's sales charts around the world. The developers behind the sequel to that critically acclaimed game are hoping to repeat their success.

Alto’s Odyssey, sequel to 2015’s bestseller Alto’s Adventure, is set to launch Thursday

A sandboarder does a back flip while attempting a jump in the new Alto's Odyssey game. (Snowman)

Ryan Cash doesn't expect to get much sleep before Thursday morning. That's when Alto's Odyssey, his company's latest video game, goes live on Apple's iOS App store.

"Launch day is probably going to be a bit crazy," he told CBC Toronto. "We're hoping we can make this launch bigger than the first one."

Three years ago, Cash partnered with Harry Nesbitt, a U.K.-based artist and programmer, to release Alto's Adventure. It was a side-scrolling game where a snowboarder does jumps and tricks while trying to catch runaway llamas.

A scene from Alto's Adventure. (Snowman)
The simple gameplay quickly struck a chord with mobile gamers, but it took some time for Cash to realize he had a hit on his hands.

"It wasn't until six months later we could reflect and realize we had something that wasn't showing any signs of stopping," he said.

Alto's Adventure has been at the number one paid spot on the iOS App store in almost every major country at one point or another, including Canada, the United States, the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Finland, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and China, Cash said.

Apple Canada said the game was named one of the App Store's Bests of 2015, and was named Product Hunt's 2015 Game of the Year.

That led to the development team expanding, as the game was released on other platforms including Android and XBox Live.

A sequel has been in the works for a few years, but Cash said his team took its time to think through how it wanted to expand the franchise.

"We didn't want to fall into a trap of falling into a sequel and slapping on an 'Alto's Adventure 2' badge just because we had a hit," he said.

He's tight-lipped about the gameplay of Alto's Odyssey, which sees the snowboarders in the first game become sandboarders, riding the rails through various international desert locations. He released a trailer for the game the same day Apple made it available for pre-order.

The success of Alto's Adventure comes as Ontario is seeing some growth in the video game sector. According to the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, there's been a 58 per cent increase in the number of video game companies in Ontario since 2015. They employ 3,800 full-time employees.

Cash hopes they can take inspiration from the success of his Alto games.

"I think it's kind of good for the city, or just for the industry to know that yeah, you can make something here in Canada and it can become an international hit."

Gameplay from Alto's Odyssey. (Snowman)
The launch of Alto's Odyssey will be restricted to Apple devices at first.

Cash said he hasn't had the resources to focus on other gaming platforms yet, but realizes there's a huge fan base waiting for the new game.

The Android version of Alto's Adventure was downloaded more than 30 million times.