Vainglory took the mobile gaming world by storm, introducing the popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre to millions of gamers on the go. Now the game from Super Evil Megacorp is heading to Nvidia Android devices. The developer, which was formed by members of Riot Games (League of Legends), Electronic Arts and Playfish, is bringing hardcore games to the growing audience of mature mobile gamers. Bo Daly, CEO of Super Evil Megacorp, talks about Nvidia Tegra technology and its impact in the mobile gaming space in this exclusive interview.
What were your goals in bringing a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) to the mobile space?
Our goal was to challenge players’ preconceptions of what is possible on mobile and tablet devices today. Currently, this is a market that is more or less dominated by fairly casual games and we want to bring true hardcore gamers’ games to mobile, the type of games that we see on PC and next generation consoles.
What are the challenges of bringing a MOBA to mobile?
There are a ton of challenges, everything down to unlocking the performance of the device, which is a place we’re particularly happy to be working with Nvidia with, as well controller input and making sure that the actual gameplay experience really lives up to what players expect when they demand a hardcore competitive experience. Ultimately, when a player plays they can’t be blaming the interface or the device for mistakes that they make, so it’s important for us that the gameplay experience and the moment-to-moment touch responsiveness of the device is absolutely perfect and supports a truly professional competitive gameplay experience.
Can you talk about the world of Vainglory?
Vainglory is a 3 versus 3 mobile MOBA game. Players play in a world called the Halcyon Fold, which is inhabited by a number of different characters. Each one has their own backstory and different things for players to find and love in the lore. But this world is primarily populated with the wins and losses and feelings of dominance and horrible humiliation that the players experience down on the Halcyon Fold. Those are the stories that are the most present in the game.
Can you talk about the characters and how people assemble their three versus three teams?
In Vainglory there are a number of different types of characters. One of the most important thing in a MOBA is making sure that players have a wide variety of tactical and strategic choices that they can make. One of those is what kind of player and what kind of hero am I going to bring in. Some heroes are better in support roles. There are characters that are majors and some that are tanks. It has the full fantasy gamut. But regardless of what hero they bring in, each player has a wide variety of strategic choices in terms of how they build that character and what items they buy to customize that character’s gameplay over the course of the match to meet their team’s needs.
How have you worked with Nvidia to bring Vainglory to Android devices?
Nvidia has been fantastic. The Shield devices are really second to none and from a hardware performance standpoint they’re really our lead SKU as we build this for Android. One of the things I think we’re most excited about, this is a game that is meant to be experienced through live streaming and actually even tournament play. We’re really excited about what the Shield opens up for us in terms of streamers’ ability to connect an HDMI cable to play the game at a very high frame rate and a high visual fidelity and stream simultaneously. The GPU has the power to support that and also supports hardline networking, which will really support the creator community as players go out and build YouTube video and Twitch Streams of the game in action.
As a game developer what are your thoughts on the additional power that Tegra X1 brings to the table?
It’s always exciting to get new hardware and to get more processing power. At the end of the day, we’re going to make sure that every spare cycle is used up and that we can take advantage of additional fill rate, additional head room in terms of vertex and poly counts to be able to bring a fully articulated, fully scanned world to players and really take advantage of what the hardware allows us to do there.
What are your thoughts on the new Nvidia Shield device bringing mobile games to the TV screen?
At the end of the day, we don’t really view ourselves as a mobile or tablet company. We are a hardcore gaming company that wants to build the best available content for whatever the new, most exciting platform is, so we’re very keen to see where this goes in terms of micro consoles. I think there’s a big future in hardcore games on any and all platforms, so we really look forward to being part of the conversation going forward as that market evolves and matures.