Finnish gaming giant Supercell has announced that it’s ending the development of Floodrush, its most recent high profile launch, following an unsuccessful beta test.
In what's becoming something of a habit, the Finish gaming masters have once again swung the axe on one of their own creations, simultaneously showing how agile and brave they are while shamelessly admitting that they wasted months of energy, talent and money on creating a failure.
Floodrush saw a closed beta release from May 29 to June 7, combining elements of the MOBA and real time strategy genres. However, it appears that the company was dissatisfied with the game’s performance.
And Floodrush just joins a long history of shuttering titles that fail to live up to its high standards. There was the likable co-op builder Everdale, later acquired by Metacore, the cunning and cute Clash of Clans spin-off Clash Quest, and strategic spin-off Boom Beach: Frontlines.
All were released to great fanfare, all finding their fans, all set for greatness, and all being cruelly offed by their maker when most of their rivals would have been delighted to own and run games half as good.
Most of their rivals would have been delighted to own and run games half as good.
Stop me if you've heard this one before
“At Supercell, we strive to create Great Games that are Played for Years and Remembered Forever,” wrote the company in a blog post. “That is our mission. For Floodrush, we aspired to defy, once again, our conventions to deliver something fresh and surprising. A genre-defining game. It turns out that our efforts led us to create a game that many of our players found a bit challenging to enjoy as the team had designed it.”
“Throughout the beta testing stage, we carefully analysed every feedback message sent to us and identified several issues, either with gameplay mechanics, controls, character dynamics or artistic aspects, among others. We concluded that, to uphold Supercell's standards of excellence, we needed to make extensive changes to the point that they would transform Floodrush into something too distant from our initial vision.”
Could they leave it just as it was? Nope. Could they fix it? Nope Could they kill it and put that press release out again. That's the Supercell way… And it's an amazingly brave way to do business that a) works and b) would be hard for anyone else to copy.
Breaking up is easy to do
So why the closures? After all, at least one of the company’s titles has been bought by another company, suggesting that it had a great deal of potential.
“Terminating a project can be perceived as tragic,” Supercell say. “One might think it's wasted time or resources, but that's never the case here at Supercell. The ideas and insights gathered while developing Floodrush can, in many forms, be applied to other projects, either actual or forthcoming. That's how we evolve as a company - by making the most out of adversity.”
Supercell’s position in the mobile gaming industry can’t be overstated, which arguably puts an inordinate amount of pressure on the company to succeed, especially as the mobile gaming industry becomes increasingly competitive.
Adding to this is Supercell’s basis in Finland, the spiritual home of the mobile gaming industry, and one of its most competitive markets. This has led to a element of ruthlessness in Supercell’s business practices, where any title without its full confidence will be shuttered, sold, or reevaluated. Floodrush is just further evidence of the Supercell masterplan and one of the reasons why they made our Top 50 Mobile Game Makers list for 2023.
That's how we evolve as a company - by making the most out of adversity.
What makes them so special?
What sets Supercell apart is the level of promotion it gives to all its titles. Floodrush is the latest in a series of games launched with significant fanfare, suggesting high confidence in the game’s success which it ultimately failed to match. The company isn’t just quietly announcing titles and then offing them behind everyone's back - it’s putting significant funds into marketing and working extra hard to make them a success. And then when they're not they're totally unafraid to pull the plug, knowing that the next attempt at greatness is only ever months, weeks even, from being unveiled.
And the media loves a failure even more than a success. The more the axe, the more we talk about them!
And, as Supercell notes, failure can be a learning opportunity. The company can look at where Floodrush failed and what elements warrant deeper exploration. As their blog post, amendments would have taken the game too far from its original vision, but this is a company that instead can make a new game based on what they've learnt.
And that - for the rest of the games industry - is a hard act to follow.
Learn from the masters
Want to learn from the Finnish masters in the home of mobile games? Join us at our next Pocket Gamer Connects event in Helsinki, the home of Supercell and countless other devs and publishers working at the cutting edge of mobile gaming and commerce.
Our 2023 event in just a few weeks time - September 12 - 13 - is going to be our biggest conference in the city yet, and something you wont want to miss. Find out more about the Helsinki scene here the head over to our website now and make the most of our limited time Mid Term offer.
See you in Helsinki!