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On EQT Ventures’ investment in Traplight, developing a new genre-defining mobile game

When you look at the most popular and highest grossing mobile games, at a simplified level, they all share two key features:

  1. A core loop that’s fun to play, not just a few times but over and over again thousands of times
  2. A meta-game that rewards players for completing the core loop in a way that helps them progress long term

Most people who work in mobile gaming today — whether they’re game designers, developers or investors like myself — agree that (1) the core loop’s the most difficult component to nail at the outset, whereas (2) the progression is where you need to spend months — if not years — developing content and challenges to keep the game fresh.

There’s a few established evergreen core loop mechanics that have worked in the games industry for decades already — especially in the casual/mainstream space. For example, match-3, bubble shooters, linkers and various solitaire formats. It’s therefore not uncommon for developers to start with one of these proven core loops and instead focus on innovating at the meta layer to create their global hit.

However, in my experience as a mobile gaming investor and having played thousands of games, it’s quite rare to encounter a fresh game concept with true mainstream appeal, including a core loop that strikes that extremely delicate balance between strategic skill and strokes of luck.

Luckily, that’s exactly what the Traplight team has done with their game — Battle Legion — which is a new take on the auto battler core loop. It’s now being released globally on the AppStore and Google Play for everyone to enjoy — check it out!

When you first play Battle Legion, one of the things that immediately surprises you is how deceptively simple and intuitive the game is to new players, but yet extremely deep and complex for veteran players.

You win at Battle Legion by simply designing the best army, not by actually fighting with it. The composition and placement of your army is the key to winning at the game, involving careful consideration with countless trial and error. As a core loop mechanic, the magic here is in its radical simplicity.

The game then layers on top of this strategy piece the element of luck, which makes it exciting to play every time. In Battle Legion, that comes down to the randomness of which opposing army you’ll face next, creating a sense of uncertainty as to how your army will stack up in battle.

The result is, in my opinion, a fresh addition to the mainstream mobile gaming space, and a big leap in the auto battler game category that will entertain potentially hundreds of millions of players over the coming years.

After a successful soft launch, there are now already thousands of players who have entered the arena with their armies thousands of times to watch their legions and strategies battle it out.

Needless to say, myself and the rest of the team at EQT Ventures are super excited to be a part of Traplight’s journey as the studio now moves from having a promising game in soft launch to making Battle Legion available to players worldwide, with the help of the €8m investment round that the EQT Ventures fund lead. And maybe what we’re watching now is the creation of yet another Finnish game studio conquering the world of mobile gaming…

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