Interview

No compromise between midcore and core. We're swinging hard for core, says Super Evil Megacorp CEO

No compromise between midcore and core. We're swinging hard for core, says Super Evil Megacorp CEO

Given the amount of flak Google - unofficial moto 'Don't Be Evil' - attracts, you have to wonder about what happens in the basement of any outfit that goes by the name Super Evil Megacorp.

Happily, despite being based in the US (a country not known for its love of sarcasm), the only dungeons it appears to have are metaphorical ones in which assumptions about mobile games are being tortured.

"I believe there's a shift happening in core gaming," says CEO Bo Daly.

"The types of experiences we thought were limited to PC and console are now happening on tablets.

"This is the audience we're making games for. Real-time multiplayer games that are super high-end that people will play for thousands of hours, and that are on tablets."

Touch the new wave for MOBA?

Ambitious stuff, but given that Super Evil Megacorp consists of alumni from the likes of Riot Games, Blizzard, Guerilla and Rockstar, they certainly should know about 'super high-end' games people play for years.

The company also has the resources to fulfill its vision. To-date, it's raised over $15 million.

You can't compromise between midcore and core games.

Even so, influencing such a sea change in opinions - particularly given hardcore gamers are one of the most opinionated groups - won't be easy.

Compounding the problem, Super Evil Megacorp's debut game is a MOBA called Vainglory.

Like first-person shooters before it, MOBA is a genre which has frustrated many attempts to bring it to mobile. Maybe some type of games just work better on a keyboard and mouse?

Daly is having none of such defeatist talk.

"That's what people said about shooters on consoles until Bungie made Halo," he counters.

"I think tablets are the best hardware for MOBA, because all the players can sit in the same room. That's one of our unique selling points for Vainglory."

Not too short

In a similar vein, the game won't follow the route of many of the other attempted 'for tablet' MOBAs, which provided a cutdown version of the genre, typically with gameplay suited to shorter sessions.

Although Vainglory  will reduce the standard MOBA set up of 5-vs-5 player to 3-vs-3, each match will be 20 minutes long, which is comparable to League of Legends'  25-30 minutes sessions.

Vainglory is core with a capital C

"You can't compromise between midcore and core games," Daly expounds.

"Vainglory  isn't designed for you to play on the bus. It's the sort of game we expect people to schedule a time to play."

Indeed, he adds that he considers Blizzard's Hearthstone  as being the first core on mobile.

"It's the first sign of the shift that's happening," he states

"It stands out in terms of its production values and the way it doesn't have an energy mechanic to limit play. That's something I consider as being from the Facebook-era of gaming."

Smooth operator

Someone who knows all about that is Kristian Segerstrale.

In a previous life, he was CEO of Facebook developer Playfish, which was bought by EA in the sort of $300 million deal that was common in 2009.

Since then he's invested in various companies, notably Supercell, and was an angel investor in Super Evil Megacorp. And he's now signed up to be the company's COO.

As you'd expect, he's in total agreement with Daly's reading of the market.

"The games industry experiences difference growth waves," he explains, pointing to his involvement in early mobile game pioneer Glu Mobile, before he rode the Facebook wave, starting Playfish.

"I think the next wave will see tablets becoming the primary device for gaming."

Two hands means faster MOBA gameplay

A fan of MOBAs, he says there's no reason Vainglory  can't attract League of Legions  players from out behind their PCs.

"Fingers aren't as precise as mouse, but you can multi-click with two fingers, which lets you play faster," he says.

"And don't forget keyboard controls aren't perfect. Often there will be different shortcuts for each character you're playing."

Talent trumps all

But aside from Vainglory,  Segerstrale says he's investing in Super Evil Megacorp, not the game.

"I've always been super focused on talent in my investments," he says.

It's something Daly is keen to endorse.

"For us, it's all about the talent too," he enthuses.

"Console games are now so expensive to make, no one's taking any risks. That means there's a lot of disillusioned developers out there.

"We want to make great games and create the best possible home for core game developers."

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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nadav bar kama project manager at NAFNA CREATIVIDAD TECNOLOGICA SL
very brave! Fates Forever and Heroes of Order & Chaos are also built by pro`s and have very high player reviews ... but are no where to be found on the top charts ... i hope the dudes have some magic card up there sleeve. good luck