Tucked into the announcement that Rovio’s Angry Birds titles hit 1 billion cumulative downloads, Rovio has shared a sneak peek of its next major franchise, which apparently involves a blonde-haired boy and some sort of Heath Robinson mechanism / Rube Goldberg machine.

As Pocket Gamer notes, the game developer has chosen to “reveal something of its next game – or what it calls ‘More amazing things coming soon.'”

Up until now, Rovio had been focusing all its efforts on turning Angry Birds into a Mario-scale franchise. Now, it looks like the company is finally preparing to expand into entirely new titles. Per the image below, it appears that the next game will include puzzles, physics and hopefully the sort of gameplay that has made Angry Birds so successful.

Screen Shot 2012 05 09 at 11.20.53 AM Rovio hints at its next big franchise in its 1b downloads announcement videoClearly this is just a taste of what’s to come, but it was sneaky of Rovio to hide massive news behind its download announcement. Given the fact that a rope is literally being cut in the image above, some have even speculated that Rovio’s plans are connected with Cut The Rope. At the moment, it’s too early to tell.

More convincingly, the preview above looks a heck of a lot like Casey’s Contraptions, and even the developers behind Whale Trail are hedging their bets that Rovio has acquired the rights to the game.

Screen Shot 2012 05 09 at 11.44.50 AM 520x211 Rovio hints at its next big franchise in its 1b downloads announcement video

The similarities between Rovio’s hint & Casey’s Contraptions are quite striking.

In case you haven’t kept up with the news, back in November Rovio revealed that its far-ranging Angry Birds games had been downloaded over half a billion times, posting a video to its YouTube account, attaching statistics to prove just how popular the game had become. At the time, Angry Birds’ games had been played a total of 200,000 years, with 300 million minutes of playing time daily.

On Monday, Rovio shared first-quarter revenues of 75.4 million euros ($106,3 million), earning 48 million euros ($67.6 million) before taxes in 2011, which comes down to 64 percent of total revenue for the full calendar year – a healthy profit margin.

At the moment, things are going quite well for the company. A new franchise will be an extremely important turning point for its future, and we’re eager to see more of what’s next.