This has been a busy year for us at Mika Mobile. We launched our latest game, Lost Frontier. We’ve dusted the cobwebs off our back catalog, and revived our old android games. So what are we up to now?
After shipping Battleheart Legacy, the answer was simple – lose a lot of sleep and care for a newborn child. It’s no secret that our studio is an indie family affair, and when 100% of your staff is on maternity/paternity leave, not a lot happens.
I’m going to be candid – it was a struggle getting inspired and back to work after being a full-time parent for months. Battleheart Legacy was our biggest game yet, took over 2 years of our lives, and that was before adding a time-consuming infant into the mix. There was a time a couple years ago, sleep-deprived and creatively drained, when I wondered if we’d ever ship another game.
Obviously the creative juices did eventually return. Lost Frontier ended up as a departure from our past games in many ways, and one of those was scope. It was conceived in terms of “what would be a fun genre we haven’t tried yet?” while also considering “what can I do now that my time is more limited?”. A turn-based strategy game seemed like a perfect intersection of fun, novelty, and approachability from a development standpoint.
I wouldn’t call developing it easy, but compared to some of our previous games it came together pretty quickly. It was the perfect project to get back into developing games after the seismic life-change a baby brings. That isn’t to say it wasn’t also a step forward for us as developers – Lost Frontier’s AI was a unique challenge, and we pushed the envelope with how many sprites we could fit on screen. Still, we knew when it was done we’d be ready for something a little more ambitious and crazy again.
So we’re tackling Battleheart 2. A true sequel to the original Battleheart.
Battleheart Legacy was bigger and more elaborate than its predecessor, but also fundamentally different – the shift to playing a single character, the change in art direction, and trying to focus on dialog and exploration brought with it pros and cons. Obviously we’re immensely proud of Legacy, but with this title we wanted to revisit the core experience of the original Battleheart, and polish it to a mirror sheen. That means the return of managing an entire party of heroes, crisp and appealing 2D graphics, and the goal of making fun, frantic combat the main attraction. The core ideas for this iteration have been simmering for a long time, and I feel it will marry some of the best elements of the two Battleheart games, bringing the foundation we established in the first Battleheart into a more refined and feature-rich form.
Although we’re still early in development, we’re committing to a couple exciting features that I can talk about today. One is a whole new level of 2D art and animation, as seen in the screenshot above. We’re trying out a more “painterly” look rather than the flat line-art we’ve been known for, and I think it’s turning out great. You’ll definitely still recognize it as a Mika Mobile game (especially when you see it in motion), we’re just raising the level of detail a couple notches.
The other big feature we’re very excited about is co-op multiplayer. We dabbled with this in Zombieville 2 many years ago, and learned some lessons on how to handle (and not handle) things. It’s a tricky feature, but we think it’s worth it. Doing battle alongside a friend or two, where you divide up responsibilities and control different party members is already playable at this stage and very fun. The game supports up to 4 players, with each nominating 1 or more of their individual characters into a communal party. Want to group up with 3 pals and have a little mini-raid? That’s the idea.
Lastly, we plan to launch on Android simultaneously (or very nearly), and multiplayer will be cross-platform. A PC release is something we’re also strongly considering. This will be the definitive Battleheart, and we want everyone to be able to play it.
This is the earliest we’ve announced a game before (we’re only about 3 months in), so be aware that this isn’t something you’ll be playing for a while. We’re already through R&D mode, during which we’ve built tools and workflow improvements, experimented with art style, and generally learned some new skills. As of today we’re full steam ahead with production, rapidly adding new heroes, abilities and bad guys. We have our core systems complete, but a lot of art and animation left to do, so look for a release some time next year.
Keep an eye on our twitter (@MikaMobile) for future announcements.