The process in creating a game is a difficult, long and often stressful process, but it's one that can reap many awards alongside actually seeing your ideas come to life.
No matter the size of the game or how long it ultimately took to make, each new title involves a lot of hard work, hard decisions, and a little bit of luck before it even gets out the door and onto devices. And in the current mobile market, that's only the first step in having a successful game.
To highlight all of the hard work that often goes on unseen in the background, PocketGamer.biz is reaching out to developers to learn more about the general rigmarole of releasing a video game, with our 'Making Of' series.
PocketGamer.biz: Can you start off by telling us about Shadowgun War Games?
Marek Rabas: Shadowgun War Games is our latest free-to-play tactical first-person shooter for iOS and Android devices. It's a highly competitive team player-versus-player shooter where you choose your hero and fight alongside teammates to win fame and glory in the galaxy's favourite sport, War Games.
We are big fans of Overwatch and Call of Duty, but there are more games that inspire us.Madfinger Games
Where did the initial idea for the game come from?
Shadowgun War Games is the follow-up of our award-winning Shadowgun Legends. We are gamers at heart and we take inspiration from those games we enjoy playing. We are big fans of Overwatch and Call of Duty, but there are more games that inspire us.
How long did development take, and how many people worked on the game?
We created a prototype of the game in late 2018, and the actual development began in March 2019. We started with a small team of four to five people, working mostly on the network backend and design of gameplay mechanics. The team grew in time, adding more designers, programmers, artists, and testers.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome during development?
Every game has its own set of challenges and War Games was no different. So, because of its multiplayer nature, we put a significant focus on the networking and matchmaking side of the game.
We have a long history of collaborating with Unity on novel technologies. For Shadowgun War Games, we employed a whole range of new technologies under the Unity Connected Games umbrella. As these technologies are still under active development, we had to rework many aspects of network communication.
At what stage in development did you feel you had a game that you were happy with?
When we started the Public Beta, it was the first moment we realised we created something special, thanks to warm feedback of our player base. Shadowgun War Games is a free-to-play game, and we continuously improve the game by adding new features such heroes with interesting skills and cool weapons, maps requiring different strategies, and game modes to entertain many kinds of players.
We are in touch with our community and study every mood and feedback. We are happy every time our players are happy.
Why did you feel this was the right time for Shadowgun War Games to make its debut on mobile?
Competitive shooters such as Call of Duty: Mobile (which we love) are having great success, proving that the multiplayer first-person shooter genre can be a hit on mobile platforms. At Madfinger Games, we've pioneered shooter games on mobile platforms, with our successful titles from the past. We thus had all ingredients to make a stunning mobile shooter with huge esports potential. So yes, it was indeed the right time.
Was the game soft-launched? If so, what did you learn from the soft launch period, and what were the biggest changes you enacted as a result?
While we continue to enhance the experience of all our existing games, the team is already working hard on a new project.Madfinger Games
Yes and no. Not in the general sense. We had a pretty short public beta and then launched the game worldwide with minimal features. We've gathered a lot of data and feedback and are incorporating it all into the upcoming season two. Massive new content, moving closer to the esports vision. We're very excited!
How happy are you with the game's launch so far?
The community reaction has been phenomenal, they love the gameplay and the graphics. Like for other launches, we had the usual hiccups, which we are improving via regular updates.
How are you approaching live ops? What can you tell us about your plans in terms of updates?
Although we are doing regular updates with fixes and balancing changes, we plan to move to a fully live ops model a bit later on, once we have more content. We expect this will happen sometimes after season three. Until then, we have big plans. The updates for seasons two and three aim to unlock completely new experiences.
What numbers or stats can you provide surrounding the game?
Shadowgun War Games has been downloaded over two million times worldwide.
With these numbers, do you consider Shadowgun War Games a success?
While we are happy about the community's reception and the number of downloads, we know that there is a far bigger potential to get our game to more people. Success can be measured in different ways, downloads, of course, is critical, keeping players engaged is even more important to us. Stay with us, we have big plans.
What can you tell us about your future mobile projects?
While we continue to enhance the experience of all our existing games, the team is already working hard on a new project. There's nothing more I can share at this stage and we will be delighted to tell you more when the time is right. We are sure gamers will love it!