Interview with Futureplay, the developers of Battlelands Royale
If you have yet to check out our review of Battlelands Royale, you can do so here!
Before we start we’d like to thank the Futureplay Team for participating in our interview and for answering all of our geeky questions! Thanks Guys!
…and without further ado, our interview begins…
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about Battlelands Royale! Could you kick-start this interview by telling us a little about your studio, yourself, and what drew you into the gaming industry?
Thank you for making time for us! We’re Futureplay, a small indie studio based in Helsinki. Founded by a handful of industry veterans in 2015, we’ve since grown to a family of 25. We pride ourselves on doing things properly, and we also like to do them fast. That’s why we’ve kept the organization flat, with everyone here being equal – and also owning part of the company. We’ve just celebrated our third birthday (Happy birthday to us!).
Prior to Battlelands Royale, we created the ‘Idle Empire’ series (Idle Farming Empire, Idle City Empire, Idle Crafting Empire and Idle Tuber Empire). We love our idle games, and we’re fortunate that players from around the world also enjoy playing them. That’s provided the platform that allowed us to create Battlelands Royale, and we’re excited by the reaction so far!
(Edamame) Happy Birthday from us too! 🎂
Ok, let’s start talking about Battlelands Royale… What are the highlights of your latest release?
Where to start?! We’ve been big fans of Battle Royale on PC and console for a while and wanted to bring the experience to mobile with fun, casual gameplay that’s easy to pick-up-and-play. It was important to us that we appeal both to players who are familiar with the genre, and to those who might not have played a Battle Royale before.
That’s why we’ve tried to keep simplicity at the game’s core, stemming right from easy-to-navigate UI and gameplay controls to short match sessions that make it easy to play whilst you’re out and about.
Another goal was to create an experience that allows each player to tell their own story – something we hope we’ve been able to achieve by providing players with a range of exciting locations to drop into and a variety of unique personalization options. Will you land in the Shipyard or Hideout? Or perhaps the Mystic Stones? Fancy parachuting in a hot dog? Or how about a banana? Each item is a fresh opportunity for a player to express themselves. On top of the super accessible gameplay, that makes Battlelands Royale a whole lot of fun!
We can tell that a lot of the inspiration for Battlelands Royale comes from Fortnite which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Can you tell us a little about what you did in order to enhance the Battle Royale experience on mobile?
Without pinning down any one game in particular, we’ve taken inspiration from a range of different genres we enjoy playing to build what we’re calling a MOCCA – that’s a Multiplayer Online Casual Competitive Arena game.
We wanted to merge the fun, arcade-like feel of .io games with the strategic real-time multiplayer element of MOBAs to create something that’s not only designed for mobile but also eSports – and streamer-friendly. Bundling them all together, we came up with Battlelands Royale!
We’ve maintained a mobile-first mindset, and the control system has barely changed at all since our very first prototype at the end of last year. With your left thumb you control your character, and with your right thumb you aim and shoot. It’s as easy as that!
How long was Battlelands Royale in development for? And are there any interesting and/or exciting moments or experiences you would like to share with us from that time?
Rather than spending multiple years per game, focus on shipping multiple games per year. We don’t believe in minimum viable products and drawn out development processes that are confined to the realms of our studio. Instead, we push what we call ‘Minimum Awesome Products’ out as quickly as possible, and use feedback from the global community to inform future iterations and help us create the best games we can.
We’ve taken the same approach with Battlelands Royale, which a team of only 8 developers has been able to build in less than six months. There have been too many exciting moments along the way, but I think the moment we gathered round to play the first prototype will live long in the memory!
One of our coders, Henrik, produced the prototype in just one weekend last November. Even though the characters were little more than grey blocks and the gunshots were all laser beams, we’d never had so much fun! Immediately we were all scrambling for ‘just one more game’, and friendly rivalries in the studio grew as we competed for the most kills and wins.
There was a great buzz around the place, and the whole team was pitching in with ideas on how the prototype could shape up to be a great Battle Royale game. The excitement really started building in the New Year, when some of our game designers, animators, artists and more teamed up to start work on Battlelands Royale as you see it today.
What software, developer-tools, or black-magic(?) did you use when making Battlelands Royale? Is there anything you would like to share with the developers who read Edamame Reviews?
As with our idle games, we used the Unity engine to develop Battlelands Royale, for which the primary programming language is C#. Unity works really well for us as an indie developer studio – it handles lots of important stuff like IAPs and cross-platform support as well as letting us publish to both iOS and Android. We also primarily use Playfab and Photon for our multiplayer server backend. Oh – and we shouldn’t forget the small doses of black magic that might have popped up along the way! 🧙♂️ ✨
Is there any secret “developer-advice” you can give our lucky players who read this interview?
We won’t give too much away – half of the fun is dropping in and experiencing it for yourself! That’s a great excuse to land in a different location each time. Personally, I tend to find the best loot in the Hideout or at the Mystic Stones. I’ll drop in those locations if I’m after something more frantic, but if I’m playing the long game I usually go somewhere a little quieter like Commuter Town or the Mansion.
After a couple of battles, you’ll get a feel for your favorite weapon. I like to start off with the rifle and then look for a shotgun for the close combat towards the end of a battle. And remember the supply drops – if you can get hold of a bazooka or minigun you’re onto a winner!
Lastly, mix it up! Buddy up with friends to play Duos to really hone your skills. For something a bit more unpredictable, try Random Duos. There’s no better feeling than winning a Random Duo with someone you’ve never met!
What can we expect to see in Battlelands Royale or from Futureplay in the not so distant future? What do we have to look forward to next?
Now that would be telling! There’s lots in the pipeline, and our backlog is full of awesome ideas that we can’t wait to bring to the game. As a sneak-peek, you can expect to see the introduction of in-game challenges (on top of our weekly social media challenges) as well as more weapons, more customizations and more team play options in the future. There’s plenty to look forward to, that’s for sure!
(Edamame) You’ve got us excited already! 😆
Lastly, is there anything you would like say to our awesome team of Writers, Developers, and Patrons who keep Edamame Reviews up and running?
To Edamame: Keep up the good work! It’s great to have such an informative resource that appeals to both developers and gamers and remains impartial at the same time. We love it!
To the Devs and Patrons: Get involved! If you haven’t yet downloaded Battlelands Royale, you can do so from the links below! See you in the arena!
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