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Posts tagged with "games"

Nintendo Announces Fire Emblem Heroes for Mobile Devices

Update: After publication of this story, Nintendo of America tweeted that Fire Emblem Heroes will launch on February 2nd on both iOS and Android.

During a Nintendo Direct event today, Nintendo demonstrated its next iOS title, Fire Emblem Heroes, featuring characters from throughout the classic game series. In a somewhat surprising move, however, Nintendo said the game will launch first on Android, February 2nd. No release date was given for the game’s iOS launch; only that it will be ‘available soon.’

According to a Nintendo press release:

Fire Emblem Heroes is an original strategy RPG about two warring kingdoms in a bitter clash. As a summoner, players build their army by calling upon popular Fire Emblem heroes from worlds that span the breadth of the series. Players will wage tactical battles streamlined for on-the-go play and level up a mix of new combatants and legendary heroes. Some familiar hero characters will become allies, while others will become enemy generals. Players can enjoy the full majesty of tactical role playing on bite-sized maps designed to fit nicely on a smartphone screen, even when playing in short bursts. Players lead their armies with easy touch-and-drag controls, including the ability to attack by simply swiping an ally hero over an enemy.

Fire Emblem Heroes will be available as a free download with In-App Purchases. At the same event, Nintendo announced additional Fire Emblem titles that will be released in the future for its 3DS family of devices and the soon-to-be-released Nintendo Switch.

Super Mario Run Is a Defense of Craftsmanship

Excellent point by Sam Rosenthal on Super Mario Run:

Borrowing a staple from modern console Mario games, each level in Super Mario Run has multiple tiers of coins to collect. The coins fundamentally change the way you navigate the space, and sometimes the space itself changes to accommodate them. A just out of reach coin reminds you about the spin jump’s utility. Former obstacles are recontextualized as potential platforms.

If the game’s initial tutorial feels like a concession to a broader audience, the coins remind us why Nintendo’s game design deserves to be treasured. Even on another company’s platform, in a genre they didn’t invent, they unearth an astonishing amount of surprise and delight.

Collecting all the coins shows how Super Mario Run isn't just "a runner game for iOS" – it's a classic Nintendo game. There's an ingenuity to each level that can only be appreciated by playing to get the harder coins. Seriously – if you think you've completed Super Mario Run by clearing all the stages, go back and try to collect all the coins. The game changes quite deeply.

Unfortunately, most people won't even see the fourth stage. And that's a shame, because I think Nintendo delivered a lesson in iOS game design that everyone should experience.


Super Mario Run Sets Records

In a press release today, Nintendo detailed some of the App Store records Super Mario Run broke in the days immediately following its release last week. TechCrunch reports that:

...the company says that in addition to its top ranking in the “free” chart of the App Store in 140 different global markets (of the 150 where it’s available), it’s also now in the top 10 ranking for best grossing games in 100 different markets.

The press release also includes a quote from Phil Schiller, Apple's Senior Vice President of Marketing confirming the record-smashing downloads.


Minecraft: Pocket Edition Hits 1.0 and Gets an Apple TV Version

Minecraft fans got an early present under the tree today. Mojang, the maker of Minecraft: Pocket Edition on iOS, announced that it is releasing a big update to the game today as well as an all-new Apple TV version.

The update to Minecraft: Pocket Edition on iOS has been dubbed the Ender Update and brings the version number of the game to 1.0. Mojang’s Owen Jones says on the that:

my personal highlights have to be The Ender Dragon (because I’m Welsh and love dragons), The End (all dragons deserve to have a fitting home to relax in), and the Dragon’s Breath potion (it’s delicious). This update also brings this year's Festive Mash-Up Pack including all kinds of holiday themed looks.

The Ender Update is currently rolling out and should be available in the App Store soon. In the meantime, Mojang has put together a preview trailer highlighting the update and another featuring the Festive Mash-Up Pack that you can watch:

Mojang also announced that Minecraft will be released on the Apple TV today. Originally mentioned onstage at Apple’s October MacBook Pro event, the game will be available for $19.99. For a limited time the Apple TV version will include the following seven DLC add-ons for free: Holiday 2015, Town Folk, and City Folk skin packs, along with the Plastic, Natural, Cartoon, and Festive 2016 mash-ups.

Super Mario Run Arrives in the App Store

The announcement of Super Mario Run for iOS was a big surprise during Apple’s September 7th iPhone event. It feels like hardly a week has gone by since then without some sort of news about the game.

The wait is finally over. As of a short time ago, Super Mario Run began rolling out worldwide on the App Store. The game features three modes, an endless runner-style mode in which you tap the screen to help Mario reach platforms, collect coins, and avoid enemies, a head-to-head competition mode called Toad Rally, and a building mode called Kingdom Builder. This gameplay video posted by Nintendo last week walks through each part of the game:

Super Mario Run requires a constant connection to the Internet. Nintendo says it implemented the feature to combat piracy of the game – a decision that has been roundly criticized as user-hostile in the days since the requirement was revealed.

You can download Super Mario Run from the App Store for free, but a $9.99 in-app purchase is required to unlock the full game.


Super Mario Run is Coming

The Super Mario Run marketing blitz has begun. With the launch of Super Mario Run on iOS just one week away, Shigeru Miyamoto was interviewed by The Verge and BuzzFeed News. The creator of Mario spoke at length with both publications about the game, Nintendo's goals for it, and how it was made.

Miyamoto discussed the thought process behind Super Mario Run's gameplay with The Verge:

"We felt that by having this simple tap interaction to make Mario jump, we’d be able to make a game that the broadest audience of people could play.”

Nintendo's strategy to expand its audience extends beyond gameplay though, as Miyamoto explained to BuzzFeed News:

“Kids are playing on devices that they’re getting from their parents when their parents are upgrading,” Miyamoto said. “We wanted to take an approach of how can we bring Nintendo IP to smart devices and give kids the opportunity to interact with our characters and our games.”

It's a strategy that makes a lot of sense given the dominance of smartphones and rise of casual gaming.

Nintendo's goal to make Super Mario Run a one-handed game necessitated designing it for portrait mode, which led to new opportunities for Nintendo's creative team. Miyamoto told The Verge that:

"Once we did start to focus on the vertical gameplay and one-handed play, we were surprised at how much having that vertical space in a Mario game could add to the verticality of the game itself and how that added a new element of fun to Mario,” Miyamoto explains. “They’re all brand new levels that we created for this game, but because of the vertical orientation, it gave us a lot of new ideas for how to stretch the game vertically. I think it’s been maybe since the Ice Climbers days that we’ve had a game where you’re trying to climb a tower."

Miyamoto also shared with BuzzFeed News that the inspiration for creating an "endless runner" style Mario game was influenced by fans who do speed runs through Mario and other games. You may have seen videos of speed runs; there is no shortage of them on YouTube. BuzzFeed explains that:

Watching online videos of these gamers’ astounding speed runs and other feats of gaming skill, Nintendo employees noticed that the gamers never let up on the D-Pad. Mario always kept running, and all of the skill came down to the incredible precision of the jumping. What if, the Nintendo braintrust reasoned, all players could have that experience?

In addition, Nintendo executive Reggie Fils-Aimé and Shigeru Miyamoto paid a visit to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night, demoing Super Mario Run and the Nintendo Switch console that is slated for release in March. If anyone wasn't sure before, there is no doubt that Jimmy Fallon is a huge Nintendo fan and geek. This video is wonderful:

Sony’s PlayStation Division Will Release iOS Games in 2017

Reuters reports that Sony's PlayStation division is working on ten mobile games, six of which will be released next year for iOS and Android. The games, which include Everybody's Golf, will debut in Japan followed by other Asian countries. The Reuters report doesn't indicate what plans, if any, Sony has for the games outside Asia.

According to Reuters the other games in the works for mobile release include PaRappa the Rapper and Arc The Lad. Kotaku also reports that Wild Arms is in development for mobile platforms. Kotaku's coverage includes this preview video of Arc the Lad and Wild Arms from ForwardWorks:

Competition from mobile gaming continues to increase, so its not surprising that console vendors like Sony are following Nintendo's lead by testing the smartphone waters.


Enter the Studio Turning Deus Ex and Lara Croft Into Awesome Mobile Games

Andrew Webster, writing for The Verge:

With the Go series, Square Enix Montreal has carved out its own niche, creating something unique in the game development space. Studios often fall into one of two camps: on the one side you have the massive, 1,000-person teams that create blockbuster games, and on the other there are the tiny indie studios that build creatively ambitious games with few resources. Square Enix Montreal straddles the line between those two extremes. It has the resources of a big company, but the size and some of the creative freedom of an indie. It’s a studio that can make weird new games but attach them to hugely popular franchises.

It is great to see that Square Enix Montreal has found success in its series of Go games built on the larger franchises of Hitman, Tomb Raider and now Deus Ex. The first two Go mobile games, Hitman Go and Lara Croft Go, are genuinely great and feature a lot of creativity – so it is great to see they have continued to invest in this (critically-acclaimed) series with yesterday's launch of Deus Ex Go. This is particularly the case when so many other large mobile game publishers are instead focusing on churning out what are largely uninspired free games with in-app purchases.

To that end, Webster notes in his story that Square Enix Montreal has made some indie hires that suggests it fully intends to stay the course on its current approach to mobile games:

Outside of Deus Ex Go, Square Enix Montreal isn’t saying what it’s working on right now. But the studio has made a few recent hires that hint at desire to keep the indie-like feeling it has carefully cultivated. Those pick-ups include Teddy Dief, an artist and designer best known for his work on the crowdfunded hit Hyper Light Drifter, and Renaud Bédard, the sole programmer on seminal puzzle-platformer Fez, who most recently worked at Below developer Capy Games in Toronto. Both were tempted to join by the idea of combining the creative freedom of an indie studio with the structure and resources of a big publisher.