Rogue Company: Elite, the mobile spin-off of Hi-Rez Studios' tactical hero-shooter Rogue Company, has officially been cancelled - or has had its global launch put on indefinite hold - as of the time of writing.
The news was revealed as part of a talk at Develop: Brighton, simply titled “Learning from not launching Rogue Company: Elite”. The title, a mobile spin-off, had been announced back in December 2022 and had seen a soft-launch in Mexico on iOS during January. However, during Hi-Rez’ recent round of layoffs at the end of June, when Rogue Company: Elite developer First Watch was folded into Evil Mojo, another studio of theirs, there was no news about the continued development or cancellation of the spin-off.
But it seems that Rogue Company: Elite, will indeed not make it to a global launch, although the possibility of it returning in future was not discounted. Hi-Rez's COO Vero Lallier and marketing director Stephen Hutchins spoke on the subject of their successes and frustrations when trying to bring the title to mobile. “We’re never going to say never to reimagining it”, Hutchins said when asked about the fate of the game, which had seen issues growing organic UA in their test market of Mexico during its soft launch, but he added that the focus of Hi-Rez was squarely on their strong PC audience and playerbase for the mainline Rogue Company title.
Although the quiet shelving of Rogue Company: Elite is unfortunate, it’s also not surprising as it joins a number of other titles, most notably Apex Legends: Mobile, that have tried to tackle the mobile monolith and been forced to retreat. However, for players of Rogue Company there is at least the comfort in knowing that much of the tech, such as bot AI and store UI, as well as content including maps and skins have made the jump to the main game.
As far as Hi-Rez are concerned in their talk, long-term retention was simply not working for them, with poor organic UA when they attempted to transition from paid UA. It’s a crucial insight into the fact that not every difficulty developers face in breaking into the mobile market is as grandiose as Apex Legend: Mobile’s culling by parent company EA, but can be the result simply of key metrics not supporting continued development. With the mobile shooter genre being as competitive as it is - such as with battle royale titles like Krafton's PUBG Mobile - even well-established games with capable teams find it difficult to break into the market.
Lallier and Hutchins also discussed what the company learned from the decision to cancel Rogue Company: Elite.