One of the most anticipated mobile games of 2015 is out today.
Kabam's Star Wars Uprising is set between Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and the forthcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
That will be enough to attract both a rabid fanbase and a more mass market audience; something we discussed with Daniel Erickson, the senior director of game design, at Kabam's San Francisco RPG studio.
PocketGamer.biz: How has the development team of Star Wars Uprising tried to make the most of the opportunities of working with well-loved characters while not having their creativity limited by the IP?
Daniel Erickson: The great thing about Star Wars is that the universe is huge, with rich opportunities and countless worlds.
The team at Lucasfilm is working hard to make sure that teams have plenty of room to explore while all of the parts are tied together. It has never felt limiting.
What was the process of working with an IP that's both old and also one that's currently being created in terms of the new film?
With 30+ years of Star Wars to pull from, there is never a lack of inspiration.
With the new movies still in development, however, there were often times that we would need to leave room for ideas or plots that weren't fully formed yet.
Again, Lucasfilm did a great job of making sure we had the most up to date information and could grow our game as the rest of the new canon was being developed.
Aside from the licence, what do you consider to be the key game/RPG elements that will attract and retain players?
Simultaneous action-RPG multiplayer gameplay and the organically growing playspace that lets the playerbase control the expansion of content.
The game is highly ambitious in terms of offering a full RPG, and real time co-op so how have you technically managed to accomplish this?
We have a crack engineering team that has a huge depth of experience both with mobile platforms and interconnected games from other platforms.
Given the wide appeal of the licence and the depth of the RPG elements, what's been your approach in terms of not overwhelming more casual players with too much choice and options?
It's important no matter the license to bring people into an RPG with a deliberate pace, and that's where story is so valuable.
Storytelling is universal and gives casual players an ability to get their feet under them before we roll out more complicated ideas.
What have you learned from the soft launch process?
That demand for Star Wars means people are going to get into the soft launch no matter where you try to restrict it!
You've also been running a strong pre-registration system on the game's website; something that popular in the Asia but not so much in the west. How do you think that has worked in attracting players?
It has done a great job at attracting players, but for us it was more about giving our excited fans a place to share feedback on game features and get their first feel of a game where the direction of the future is in their hands.