Victoria game developers to work on Calvin Klein brand

The partners behind a Victoria-based game and design studio have been hired by Calvin Klein to supervise the American brand’s marketing and branding.

According to a story posted online Tuesday by Women’s Wear Daily, Frosty Pop partners Greg Stogdon and J.D. Ostrow have been hired on an interim basis as chief branding officer and chief marketing officer, respectively.

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Stogdon held the post of senior vice-president of creative at Burberry before joining Frosty Pop, while Ostrow spent 10 years with Burberry and was chief marketing officer at Theory before joining Frosty Pop.

The story also reported that Frosty Pop founder and creative director Faisal Sethi will consult for Calvin Klein.

Reached in Victoria on Tuesday, Sethi would not comment on the Calvin Klein development.

But the company is also making waves on the video-game front, as it released its latest game for the Apple Arcade.

The new game, Kings of the Castle, was Frosty Pop’s fifth for Apple Arcade. It has created more than 20 for the Apple Store.

The game raised some eyebrows, as it turns the traditional fairytale set-up on its head.

Rather than helpless princesses locked away in towers waiting for knights with time on their hands and derring-do up their sleeves, Kings of the Castle has princesses in the role of saviour, princes pleading for help and characters that more accurately reflect those who play games. When a dragon locks Prince Rupert in a castle tower, Lord Baldor sends a princess to investigate and save poor Rupert, while fighting enemies, avoiding traps and collecting gems to pay the dragon’s ransom.

The other twist is characters of colour, which Sethi said is by design. “Having a daughter and coming from a South Asian family, a lot of that isn’t represented in games in general,” said Sethi, noting it’s also influenced by racing games such as Mario Cart and old playground games such as king of the castle, where first up the hill wins. “I have 10 nieces and I want them to play a game and relate to it.”

It’s not the first time Frosty Pop has upended a traditional storyline.

Frosty Pop’s Big Time Sports game features characters with huge bodies and tiny heads competing in a broad range of athletic endeavours.

“It purposely created pseudo-androgenous characters, male-female, with large body types to examine, perhaps, on the periphery this notion of what is a female body and what is a male body and who can compete in sports at that level,” Sethi said.

The studio’s Get Up Kids game, which features characters Molly and her dog Moses sneaking out of the house to meet their friend Salim, features a prayer mat in a child’s room that has to be placed in the right direction to solve a puzzle.

“I can’t recall another game ever produced that has [that] … that’s my growing-up-in-Saskatchewan story,” he said. “I don’t play the race card. I am just a visible minority. That’s my story, my point of view.”

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