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Clash Royale based on a prototype developed before Clash of Clans

Would a 2012 Clash Royale have been a hit?
Clash Royale based on a prototype developed before Clash of Clans

Clash Royale felt like a case of right game, right time.

Arriving as talk of synchronous PvP and mobile eSports abounded in the mobile games industry, it was not just a game, but a positional play that established Supercell's place at the forefront of a burgeoning competitive gaming sector.

However, following revelations in Supercell CEO Ilkka Paananen's BAFTA Games lecture, it appears that the true stroke of genius behind Clash Royale was in rejecting the idea several years earlier.

Ahead of its time

Indeed, he explained that Clash Royale was heavily based upon an internal prototype called The Summoners - which was actually developed before the launch of 2012's genre-defining hit Clash of Clans.

"Somebody, probably me, said 'this real-time PvP will never work, so let's just leave it,'" revealed Paananen.

There was a big laugh from the audience at this point, and understandably.

After all, Clash Royale has been an enormously successful game, proving that real-time PvP is perfectly workable on mobile.

Paananen on stage
Paananen on stage

But with a little more consideration, one wonders what would have happened if a pre-Clash of Clans Supercell had opted to launch a Clash Royale-esque game to a less mature mobile market.

Without this experience, the drop-off in players and revenues would have likely been even more dramatic than it is now - and certainly from a smaller base.

Once again, then - as with most things at the Finnish powerhouse - there's an argument to suggest that Clash Royale owes its success to a company culture that rejects all but the best ideas.

For more from Ilkka Paananen's BAFTA Games Lecture, you can read our full round-up here.