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Rogue Land named ‘Best Competitive’ by Google Play’s Best of 2021

With 2022 already with us, we take a moment to look back at the recent success of our amazing 3D mobile game — Rogue Land. It has been ranked by Google Play’s Best of 2021 in the ‘Best Competitive’ category. We talk with Tomi Hurskainen, Senior Game Designer at Huuuge to discover what’s so unique about the game that takes us on a journey through the land field with untold treasures, dungeons and adventures hidden at every corner.

Tomi, your journey with Rogue Land started some time ago. How did it all start?

Rogue Land’s journey started with Bow Land, the predecessor of the game. My first touch with Bow Land happened in early 2020. At the time, I started transitioning from the previous project into working with the publishing team, as a “devil’s advocate” game designer. Bow Land was already then on the radar, as it had just been published by Huuuge, and thus I got initially into connection with the Double Star team and the game. During spring, I became more and more a full-time member of Bow Land team, helping the development by taking care of high-level feature design. So, when the Double Star acquisition happened in summer 2020, which coincided with me moving back to Finland and the Helsinki studio being founded, it was only natural for me to continue with Bow Land as an official team member.

The game was already in the development phase but encountered some challenges. What was the biggest one?

The hurdle we came to face was during autumn 2020, when it was realized that the vision of the game was set in a direction that the original game could not really support in the long run. The visual style and the underlying technical systems would need to go through a major make-over to be on par for a game that retains players for months and years. This led to the pivot from where Rogue Land was originally born, alongside with the hypercasual spin-off which has since been sunsetted. The big challenge then was to utilize all the learnings and basically build the game ground up, in a way that the grand vision of it could be realized.

And this is how Rogue Land was born. How do you define the target group for this game?

Rogue Land caters to a wide audience with its clear and beautiful art style, and a low entry level barrier. The staple phrase of “easy to learn — hard to master” definitely fits the bill with Rogue Land. Any casual player can pick the game up and enjoy it, while there’s lots of strategic depth for more core-oriented ones to explore. Majority of our players are aged from teen to forty-something, with a somewhat male biased gender split.

What’s unique & innovative at Rogue Land compared to other mobile games of such type?

When laying the groundwork for Rogue Land, we coined internally the promise of creating a game that “is a true evolution of the genre”. We basically wanted to challenge the market leaders of the genre, by genuinely taking the next step with the core of this game type. This has been done by linking the meta and in-game experience logically and seamlessly together. We brought the Skill system to front and center of the stage and gave the players the agency to build their favourite combinations through different Heroes and Gear. Coupled with this, Rogue Land offers varying types of exciting playable content, which can then be enjoyed with tons of different playstyles.

What makes RL so special to be awarded in the Google Play’s Best of 2021 “Best Competitive” category?

We released a big feature called the “Adventure Score” in September that introduced the first leaderboards into the game. This basically turned the core game into a competitive experience and works as one of the central pillars of the game. We are currently working on new features that will add competitive and social layers into the game. Apart from all that, I’d say the success of innovating on the core game together with high production values have also weighed in on getting such an award. First and foremost we’re building this game for our players and listen closely to the wishes of the Rogue Land community.

You are part of the Helsinki team that works primarily on the new, innovative games. How many people are involved in the production process?

Usually, a new game starts with just a handful of core people or just one person with an idea. Often the team remains very small until a working prototype/poc has been achieved. From there on, the size of the team will scale based on the game scope and phase of development. The Rogue Land team has always consisted of a very dedicated small group of multitalented people, capable of bringing the ideas from paper to reality fast. Building a new innovative game is always a learning process.

How do you keep the team motivated and engaged?

Everyone in the team is essentially a game maker, and tapping into this creative source makes all the sense. Enabling the team to contribute to the design, also outside their immediate area of expertise, is essential. Having a feeling of ownership and seeing it resonate with players motivates the hell out of anyone, or at least myself. Controlled creative chaos, with the drive and capability of delivering results — this is perhaps a good way to sum it up.

Discover the world of Rogue Land:

Google Play [link]

App Store [link]

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