On June 11 it premiered on Apple Arcade Legends of Kingdom Rush, a new entry in a franchise that already has several titles to its credit. However, this edition seems bigger and more ambitious than the previous ones, with a feeling game that its designers believe is one of its differentiating factors.
About the latter we spoke with Álvaro Azofra, co-founder of the Uruguayan studio Ironhide Game Studio. The history of Ironhide began a decade ago with the creation of games for the now obsolete Flash technology and since then, some water has run under the bridge: after a few games under its belt, Legends of Kingdom Rush makes its debut on a subscription service like Apple’s.
“The first Kingdom rush it was a free game for web portals ”, Álvaro explains. And the monetization of Flash games at that time was completely different: the portals bought a license to have the game and at the same time, these portals were financed by sponsors.
The original Kingdom rush It turned out to be a success, allowing Ironhide to expand as a studio and split into multiple teams to work on different games.
Legends of Kingdom Rush started as an attempt to expand the main franchise and for this, the first idea was to create a miniature trading card title, which is a very big contrast to the final game, which is based on tactical and turn-based strategy, in a style similar to XCOM. “The first objective was to show more closely the universe of Kingdom rush more closely, ”says Álvaro.
“Previous games told stories about the world of Kingdom Rush, but with this one, we can tell what happens with the characters ”, says the designer. Now, it sounds strange that a trading card game project ends up becoming a tactical strategy title, but there is an explanation for that. Legends of Kingdom Rush It was originally intended as a multiplayer title, but going from paper prototype to implementation, it became clear that the challenge was going to be very big for the size of the studio at the time.
“We made the decision to eliminate the cards and multiplayer, and focus on an individual game,” reveals Álvaro, which implied a readjustment of the concept from both artistic and technological design. It also reveals that there were other ideas in the middle of the process, such as mixing RPG and adventure game concepts, but they made the decision to make a tactical game because it somehow reflected the original concept.
Another of the great differences of Legends of Kingdom Rush Regarding previous titles, it is launched through Apple Arcade and therefore, there is no initial payment for users: those who subscribe to the service have full access to the game without ties.
Álvaro Azofra explains in our conversation that, when designing the game, they had certain doubts regarding the traditional monetization of mobile video games. Because it is an adventure perhaps more complete than previous titles, interrupting the action with ads or micropayments could undermine the final experience. On the other hand, with Apple Arcade, that problem is eliminated.
“We really like the subscription model,” acknowledges Azofra. “For us, Apple Arcade was a way to make the purest version of the original idea that we had.” Services like this one from Apple or like Xbox Game Pass itself, allows you to reach a new audience that is perhaps looking for a purer experience, “that is not invaded by micropayments or ads.”
This does not mean that Legends of Kingdom Rush do not bring unlockable items that can be purchased for real money, but for the studio this is just an add-on and nothing more. “It’s a way for fans to directly support the studio, but the experience is full from the moment we’re on a subscription service.”
For Ironhide, launching a game like this on a subscription service is a first in that it takes the friction out of accessing the full experience. “Users have already paid for their subscription, so there is no restriction to download the game and try it, without having to add monetization schemes that could compromise the quality of the product.”
Azofra believes that the opportunity to launch through a subscription service favors developers, “because it eliminates the concern of how to monetize the product.” In the case of Ironhide, he explains that this served to improve the product and focus entirely on the player experience.
Legends of Kingdom Rush It is already available through Apple Arcade and from the first screens it is evident that the game is made with considerable care, both in the presentation and in the mechanics themselves that are simple in general, but that it has all the most characteristic elements of the games. tactical titles.
Yet another proof of how far mobile video games have advanced in the last decade.