Chinese developer TipsWorks believes that the mechanics of Dark Souls can work on a mobile device. On January 16, he hopes to prove it with his upcoming game Pascal’s Wager.
Souls-like games have been a major player on consoles and PC over the past decade, introducing a standard of methodical, stamina-based combat and deep but subtly-implemented lore that pretty much re-invigorated the demand for high-difficulty games. However, the genre hasn’t made much headway on mobile device. The closest popular series is probably the long-dormant Infinity Blade series, whose swipe-based boss rush formula does show some similarities, but only superficially.
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It’s not hard to see why this would be the case — the combat of Souls-likes is based around precise timing and movement (something touchscreens are ill-suited to) and features massive explorable worlds (something that could result in frequent loading screens on most phones). It would make sense that the gameplay is hard to translate.
Yang Yang, the founder of Tip Works, sat down with GamesIndustry.Biz to discuss how he overcame these problems.
The problem of controls, Yang said, was fixed when more and more people started using mobile controllers — something that’s gone up ever since PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds made its way to mobile.
“I think it’s a very big change,” he said. “More and more people accept this control type.”
Yang was less-specific about how TipsWorks managed to avoid overly-frequent load times, but he promised that players would go about two hours before they had to sit through one.
There’s also the question of whether a phone can handle the quality of graphics that players would want in a souls-like game, and Yang believes that they’ve managed to achieve that quality. Yang said he took the game to industry to let players try it out without telling them that it’s a mobile game. When he revealed its platform, he said that players were surprised at how much graphical quality they were able to squeeze out of the device.
Yang claims that this shows Western audiences don’t care about the platform, so long as the quality of the game is up to snuff.
“They just notice the graphics quality, the gameplay quality, or the character design,” said Yang. “I trust that a lot of people will want to try this.”
The game will be available for iOS and Android, though Yang said that the Android version posed problems that iOS didn’t, so it’s still a work in progress.
The game will only be $6.99, and is available for pre-order on the Apple App Store here.
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