Dueling Blades is an upcoming fantasy-themed RPG/strategy game set to launch on Facebook in March 2012, with iOS and Android versions to follow later in the year.
By Pete Davison From Inside Social Games
The game casts players in the role of their own customizable 3D avatar and throws them into live battle against both other players and computer controlled opponents. Gameplay takes the form of "simultaneous turn based strategy," allowing players to take part in live conflicts while working around common latency and hardware limitations of social network users.
"Dueling Blades is not your usual social game," explains Joseph Cooper, COO and lead programmer at developer HourBlast Games. "It is a 'core' game with a strong multiplayer experience, and we believe our game will grow organically with the viral marketing channels already present on Facebook."
Cooper is also seeking relationships with key publishers to raise the profile of the game prior to its official launch in March, aiming for players to have "tons of opponents to battle at the initial launch."
The game is built on the popular Unity3D game engine, meaning that the port to iOS and Android devices proposed for later in the year will be a relatively quick and straightforward process. Cooper notes that Google+ is not currently in the team’s release plan, but they are looking into the possibility for the future, and have also tested the game using Google Chrome Native Client, meaning the game may also see a release via the Chrome Web Store.
Dueling Blades will be monetized following the free to play model, with bonus items available via microtransaction. In the Facebook version, these will be handled directly using Facebook Credits, while the iOS and Android versions will use their respective platforms' in-app purchase systems. Items on offer will initially include experience bonuses, boosters and vanity items, with the team working on additional monetization strategies for the game in the long term.
"We are not against analytics," says Cooper, "but we still believe a well-developed game can monetize on social platforms. In a few weeks, we will be crowd funding through Kickstarter to support the launch of Dueling Blades. We have a lot of fun rewards to give out, such as creating a custom likeness of a supporter to be used as a non-playable character in our game."
The rewards won't stop after the Kickstarter funding period is over, either — Cooper is proposing that real-world rewards will be on offer for player victory in tournaments.
"Weekly rankings and a dynamic league system will provide the simplicity of core game concepts for all gamers alike to enjoy the diverse fighting system in Dueling Blades," explains Cooper. "We hope Dueling Blades will be at the forefront of competitive fighting games on social and mobile platforms. As social gamers, we see a void in the social gaming platform; the creation of Dueling Blades is the first step to filling it."
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