How Space Ape's next games take an either/or approach to market trends and passion for gameplay

How Space Ape's next games take an either/or approach to market trends and passion for gameplay

The recently-launched Transformers: Earth Wars was a very different project for Space Ape from a business point of view, being the London firm's first game built around an established IP and published externally.

In terms of game design, however, it stuck with the same build and battle formula as previous games Samurai Siege and Rival Kingdoms.

Despite this, COO Simon Hade is keen to point out that there's plenty of creative spirit at the studio.

Something new

“We started off very innovative. We were making a sports prediction game that would have been genre-defining had it worked, but it didn't,” he explains.

“We then worked in a proven genre.”

However, three strategy games down the line, Hade and his team want to branch out.

“What we realised about ourselves is that by the end of this year, we want to have several games in other genres,” he reveals.

“There's always going to be a place for something that builds on the expertise from [previous games] and there's room to innovate and reinvent the strategy genre on mobile.

"But there are other genres that are wide open and we're going after them as well.”

Business and pleasure

That's the context for the new games currently in development at Space Ape, with internal teams experimenting with very different approaches.

Other genres are wide open and we're going after them as well.
Simon Hade

One is driven by top-down analysis of opportunities and worldwide - particularly Asian - market trends.

Another is driven purely by passion, rapid prototyping, and playing with mechanics.

“Getting that combination is the key,” considers Hade.

The approach is certainly intriguing, and promises to be enlightening for both Space Ape and those in the wider industry.

While of course the compared successes (or lack thereof) of the resulting titles will be a non-definitive measure of which philosophy is most effective, it will at least give fellow studios food for thought.


With profitable games under its belt, Hade does not want Space Ape to rest on its laurels.

Rather, he sees it as an opportunity to return to the innovative spirit with which it started out - even if that means more potentially genre-defining projects on the cutting room floor.

“We're about 100 people, and of those, 18 are working on Samurai Siege and Rival Kingdoms that pay the bills for everyone else,” he says.

“The rest are focused on new games, of which Transformers is obviously the biggest.”

 Space Ape is keen to prove that it's not a one-trick pony and, with Transformers: Earth Wars now launched, the opportunity to do so has never been clearer.

However, while creatively gratifying, it remains to be seen whether diversifying from a successful formula will be a risk worth taking for the London studio. 

Features Editor

Matt is really bad at playing games, but hopefully a little better at writing about them. He's Features Editor for, and has also written for lesser publications such as IGN, VICE, and Paste Magazine.


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