"Brawl Stars was very much on the edge"

Supercell's Frank Keienburg on how the developer deals with edge cases on metrics, and why the team's belief in a game matter

"Brawl Stars was very much on the edge"

Brawl Stars was “on the edge” between a global release and cancellation during its 18 months in soft launch, says Supercell's Brawl Stars GM Frank Keienburg.

Speaking at GDC, Keienburg discussed what kept Brawl Stars alive at a studio known for shutting down games if they don’t have the potential to be a mega hit.

Keienburg said if a game’s metrics say the title is “an absolute no go, from our experience, then the team will probably kill their darlings”.

Team versus metrics

But if things are more on the edge, then a second consideration is the team and how they feel about their product.

“We're not making top down decisions,” said Keienburg. “So it's not about leadership things like ‘you've got to kill this game'.

"They will challenge you probably if it doesn't look great, and if you don’t advance it, you will probably come to the conclusion yourself that it’s not that great.

“But in Brawl Stars’ case, for example, it was very much on the edge.”

Before making the decision to launch the game globally, the team soft launched Brawl Stars on Android, having previously only been available on iOS devices.

“We compared against Clash of Clans and Clash Royale data and we were like, 'oh we look pretty bad actually',” Keienburg admitted, but noted that comparisons were against games that it perhaps didn’t make sense to be compared to.

Brawl Stars ultimately launched globally in December 2018 and has since generated more than $2 billion in worldwide revenue.

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Craig Chapple is a freelance analyst, consultant and writer with specialist knowledge of the games industry. He has previously served as Senior Editor at, as well as holding roles at Sensor Tower, Nintendo and Develop.