Train2Game News 2021 Pocket Gamer Mobile Award Winners

MiHoYo’s Genshin Impact took home the biggest prize as it scooped Game of the Year at Steel Media’s fourth annual and industry-leading Pocket Gamer Mobile Games Awards, supported by Game Insight, held last week.

The ceremony saw the action role-playing title also awarded Best Audio/Visual Accomplishment, while Tencent and TiMi Studio Group secured Best Publisher and Best Developer, respectively.
Innovation of the Year went to Niantic for its ingenious reworking of augmented reality hit Pokémon Go for the 2020 lockdown, Pollen VC was voted Best Service Provider, and Supercell’s Clash Royale conquered the opposition to the Best Live Ops trophy.

As ever the event, which in this pandemic-affected year took place later than its traditional January slot and adopted a hybrid live/digital format hosted by London’s Ham Yard Hotel, aimed to shine a spotlight on the work of the top mobile games companies over the previous year.

Further highlights from the night included the Rising Star award, shared – an event first – by Jana and Sham Al Bdour of Sakura Games, Unity continuing its Best Game Engine dominance with a fourth win in as many years, and Jam City CEO Chris DeWolfe joining the ranks of Mobile Legend.

The coveted People’s Choice Award, nominated for and voted on by readers of Steel Media’s leading consumer site, PocketGamer.com, went to Tilting Point’s SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off.

“We believe the MGAs have a vital role to play in recognising the efforts and achievements of the entire ecosystem that makes mobile gaming the best industry in the world,” said Steel Media CEO, Chris James.

“This is doubly important considering the forced disconnects of the last 16 months and also the incredible role that the mobile games industry has paid not just in contributing to the economy and keeping people in jobs, but moreover in keeping billions of citizens feeling a little more connected and engaged.”

As the full winner breakdown below demonstrates, the 22 categories (including three new additions this year) represent firms spanning the whole industry, from the games developers and publishers to the tools companies, service providers, support agencies, investors and recruiters that all contribute towards this $90 billion sector being the largest and most pervasive in gaming.

After the lobbying and shortlisting phases – the biggest and most complex to date – which took place from March to May, the finalists were subsequently voted on throughout June by our panel of 100-plus mobile games experts from every corner of the industry.

Steel Media is hugely grateful to everyone who took the time to submit themselves, their colleagues, company, or contemporaries, as well as everyone who attended the ceremony itself during these tricky times – whether in person or digitally.

Additionally, we would like to thank main sponsor Game Insight, together with Admix, Huawei Ads, Jam City, Scopely and Tilting Point for coming on board as category sponsors – their support helped make the event a success in a particularly challenging year.

And last but by no means least, congratulations to all the finalists – it really was a hard-fought affair this year – and, of course, the heartiest of praise to the winners themselves.

More info on all things PG Mobile Games Awards at the official website:
www.mobilegamesawards.com

Train2Game News Hypercasual Heroes Mobile Game Funding

Kwalee, a world-leading developer and publisher of hypercasual mobile games, has launched ‘Hypercasual Heroes’ to reward independent game developers making compelling and original mobile titles with up to $100,000 in advances and a publishing deal including substantial uncapped profit share.

There is even a Tesla Model 3 up for grabs for the first dev to pass the challenge!
 

With the limited-time challenge open for submissions until 31st August 2021, Kwalee is particularly looking for mobile games that feature new gameplay mechanics or ingenious twists on existing ones. This is in-keeping with Kwalee’s DNA, with many key figures at the company – including CEO David Darling and COO Jason Falcus – having begun their game development careers independently as teenagers and remaining passionate about the new strides being taken by independent developers worldwide.
 

Hypercasual games are titles which can be played in short bursts and have incredibly broad appeal, not just among traditional ‘gamers’, so hitting upon that combination of gameplay and visuals to entice all kinds of players will be the key for developers to become bonafide Hypercasual Heroes.
 

“One of the most satisfying aspects of hypercasual game development is that such a great variety of themes and gameplay styles can make for global hits with millions of players,” said Kwalee CEO David Darling.

“We’re always looking to develop titles that are completely unlike what’s been seen before and now we’re investing heavily in encouraging other developers to do the same with Hypercasual Heroes. We don’t even need to see a full game – just a video or a few levels can be enough to see a game’s potential!”
 

Kwalee’s Hypercasual Heroes is open until 31st August 2021. Full information on how to submit a game and potentially earn the aforementioned awards can be found on our website: https://kwalee.com/blog/inside-kwalee/introducing-hypercasual-heroes
 

Train2Game News Contra Returns

Contra Returns, a new addition to the legendary KONAMI run-and-gun action franchise Contra, is available for pre-registration on mobile devices starting today.

Developed by TiMi Studio Group and KONAMI, Contra Returns will be bringing a fresh twist to the iconic retro arcade shooter. Players can pre-register on Google Play and the Apple Store today to gain exclusive rewards.

Contra Returns will be launching on July 26.

Contra Returns brings fans of the franchise an authentic new take on the Contra series, enhanced with all new graphics, gameplay upgrades, and more. New characters, storylines and customizable weapons allow players to unlock skills and conquer the battlefield with the same thrill of the arcade originals.

Contra Returns offers over 200 levels, new game modes including One Life Mode, 1v1, and 3v3 modes, player and equipment upgrades and customization, and more, creating the ultimate Contra experience!

For more information on Contra Returns, visit https://www.contrareturnsm.com/en/ and follow on Twitter @ContraReturns_

Train2Game News Discover Mobile Gaming Trends With PickFu

Consumer research platform PickFu has released a fresh update designed to help mobile app and game marketers.

PickFu has added a host of new features including a redesigned dashboard, improved tagging, and a bank of pre-written poll questions based on the thousands of polls already run by users of the online service. With these improvements, game developers can collect hundreds of responses in minutes.

Due to Apple’s recent introduction of App Tracking Transparency (ATT), app marketers can no longer rely as heavily on programmatic advertising to drive installations and acquire new users. It’s more important than ever for mobile game publishers to test and refine their marketing to give their apps the best possible chance of being downloaded and played. 

Hundreds of mobile game publishers, including the industry’s biggest, already use PickFu to test game names and logos, character designs and art styles, gameplay mechanics, app icons and screenshots, and mobile advertising creatives. 

Unlike A/B testing, where variations of an ad are shown to different users to see which performs better, PickFu gives companies a quick and easy way to gather useful feedback from real consumers, drawn from thousands of poll respondents based in the U.S.

“Before Apple’s changes, game publishers were already using PickFu as part of their development and post-launch marketing alongside other testing methods. Now, with the mobile advertising landscape currently in a state of flux, testing and improvement is even more important for UA strategies, said John Li, PickFu co-founder. “The new features we’ve added make it easier than ever for even novice app marketers to gather feedback and understand their audiences.”

Founded in 2008, PickFu helps businesses make better informed decisions. To date, over 110,000 PickFu polls have collected more than 3.2 million written consumer responses across industries including publishing, e-commerce, app development, insurance, and marketing. 

For more information on PickFu’s new features, visit https://pickfu.com/blog/all-new.

Train2Game News NieR Re[in]carnation Pre-Registration Open Now

SQUARE ENIX® and Applibot, Inc. today announced that pre-registration for the North American, European and Korean version of NieR Re[in]carnation, the first mobile title in the NieR series, is now live in select regions*.

Bringing together an all-star team including creative director YOKO TARO, composer Keiichi Okabe from MONACA and producer Yosuke Saito, the Action Command RPG NieR Re[in]carnation tells the story of a girl who awakens in a mysterious place known as The Cage. Guided by a creature who calls herself Mama, the girl sets off on a journey through The Cage to reclaim what she has lost and to atone for her sins.

A new promotional video for the title can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/m7WPrDc7i4w

Players can pre-register* through the AppStore and Google Play now.

Those who pre-register through the Google Play Store may be randomly selected to participate in an upcoming closed beta test.

Further details will be disclosed later on the official NieR Re[in]carnation social pages. Additional pre-registration information can be found here: https://nierreincarnation.com/preregistration/.

Additionally, by reaching 300,000 pre-registrants, all players will receive 3,000 gems upon the game’s release, allowing them to complete one 10x Summon for free.

Fans of the NieR series can also jump into NieR Replicant™ ver.1.22474487139…, the re-telling of NieR Replicant for modern consoles, which is now available on the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One family of devices including Xbox One X, and PC (Steam®). NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… is rated M (Mature). Complete details on all editions of the game are available at: http://www.niergame.com.

  NieR Re[in]carnation will be available as a free download with in-app purchases on iOS and Android devices. Text will be supported in English and Korean. For more information, please visit: https://nierreincarnation.com.

Train2Game News Text Based RPG LaunchesToday

Knights of San Francisco – a state-of-the-art text-driven RPG in which a young necromancer explores what remains of the ancient city of San Francisco – is launching today on the App Store and Google Play!

Raise the dead, find your way through the ruins, and experience dynamic combat through Natural Language Generation (NLG) in this minimalist, black-and-white RPG with a foreboding setting that takes gamebooks into uncharted territory.

What if goblins, ogres, and dragons weren’t imagined? What if our ancestors were, unwittingly, foretelling the future? Find yourself in that future, centuries from now, among the ruins of what was once the 21st century – where these terrifying creatures roam freely…

A Weird Take on Interactive Literature
Knights of San Francisco is the labor of love of writer-programmer Filip Hracek and illustrator Alec Webb. Although this Egamebook can conceivably be completed in about 90 minutes (an “unapologetically short game,” in the words of Filip), it strives to leave you with more memorable experiences than most longer games. Knights of San Francisco is closer to tabletop role-playing games than traditional computer RPGs – doing away with numbers and graphics in favor of telling the player what’s actually happening the way a Dungeon Master would. Of course, things are still meticulously tracked in the background – but there are no big tables to look at or tactical maps to read.

“In Knights of San Francisco, I follow what I call ‘social change through escapism,’” says Filip Hráček, founder of Raindead. “I see two types of games. One type goes for pure fun (e.g., Doom). The other focuses on surfacing important topics (e.g., Depression Quest). It’s rare to see entertainment that lets the audience have escapist fun and at the same time become aware of a deeper message. It’s okay if that message only reaches about one percent of the audience; what matters is that the message is there – and that it can be decoded if so chosen. The whole game is a modern version of the medieval vanitas, except it’s wrapped in a fantasy romp.”

Key Features:

Dynamic Combat: Simulated to the level of individual body parts. Cleave off someone’s leg, take it, and bash it over their head! An NLG system explains what’s happening to you in plain English.

Make Your Choices with Caution: Every action has consequences! Make a mistake in battle and you could lose recruits in your party.

A Living, Breathing World: Lots of the text isn’t pre-written, but generated. The world continues on without you.
Quick Gameplay: Hop right into the fray! Experience automatic saving and no loading screens.

Premium Experience: Single purchase with no IAPs.

Knights of San Francisco is now available on the App Store and Google Play for $2.99.

App Store:
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/knights-of-san-francisco/id1450050976

Google Play:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=egamebook.com.flutteregamebook

Train2Game News Godzilla Destruction

TOHO Games, the game label of Toho Co., Ltd. (Japan), today announced the upcoming release of mobile game “Godzilla Destruction” on Tuesday, April 27, revealing key art and a promo video as part of the announcement.

  “Godzilla Destruction” is an exciting and easy to play mobile game where players become the King of the Monsters himself and embark on a global rampage. Players control Godzilla with the tap of a finger to crush historical buildings in cities across the globe.

  In the new promotional video, Godzilla can be seen using his humongous body and devastating Heat Ray to topple major buildings around the world like toy blocks. This video gives fans a taste of the exhilarating action they can expect in “Godzilla Destruction”. Meanwhile, the key art (below) features the colossal Godzilla crossing the ocean as he advances toward a burning city shrouded in smoke. This powerful image depicts the heart-pounding moment the King of the Monsters makes his almighty presence known to the trembling human world.

This latest announcement follows last month’s reveal of three Godzilla Games for mobile worldwide, arriving this year: “Run Godzilla” (already available on mobile worldwide), “Godzilla Destruction”, and “Godzilla Battle Line”. As Godzilla’s path of destruction has carried “Godzilla vs. Kong” to the top of the box office, fans can look forward not only to the release of “Godzilla Destruction” but to the U.S. premiere of the anime TV series “Godzilla Singular Point” later this year.

  The pre-registration campaign for the mobile game “Godzilla Destruction” is now open. Additional information on pre-registration and on “Godzilla Destruction” can be found below.

  ■Pre-registration
To pre-register, do any of the following:

  (1) Follow the official Twitter: @GZ_destruction
(2) Follow the official Facebook: @GZ_destruction
(3) Pre-register on Yoyaku Top 10 (*Exclusive to Japan) 
Registration link:
iOS: https://yoyaku-top10.jp/u/a/MzE0MTI
Android: https://yoyaku-top10.jp/u/a/MzE0MTM

Train2Game News PlayApartTogether Reactivate

Today, leaders from the global games industry who participated in #PlayApartTogether committed to reactivate the initiative launched one year ago, which encourages gamers everywhere to follow World Health Organization (WHO) health advice on COVID-19 prevention.

As part of #PlayApartTogether, a large number of gaming companies agreed to disseminate evidence-based health messages from WHO to help slow the spread of COVID-19. To promote these messages, hundreds of game industry leaders in the interactive entertainment space have encouraged their vast network of users to follow the WHO’s health guidelines—including on physical distancing, masks, hand and respiratory hygiene, avoiding crowds and how to keep rooms well ventilated.

Since the initial kickoff of the campaign, #PlayApartTogether has been adopted by platforms and organizations across the breadth of the digital entertainment space, including mobile, console and PC gamemakers, hardware, platforms, eSports, streamers, universities, non-profits and consumer advocacy groups. The hashtag has been seen by gamers around the world, during the pandemic, in countries including Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, the Netherlands, Russia, UK and the USA.

WHO has served as the leading international health agency spearheading the global response to the coronavirus outbreak and has prioritized keeping people informed through equitable access to trusted information. As information on the virus, as well as diagnostics, treatments and vaccines are developed and used around the world, WHO continues to provide essential guidance and public health recommendations to governments, communities and individuals everywhere, including through new and wide-reaching communication channels.

By bringing special events, exclusives, activities, rewards and inspiration to some of the most popular games in the world, #PlayApartTogether encourages users to adopt best practices of protection from COVID-19 transmission for the sake of their own health and that of their families and communities. By incorporating COVID-19 prevention messages into games, people everywhere are told: “Wherever you are, whatever game you play, you can make a difference.”

Follow the hashtag #PlayApartTogether on social media for ongoing updates and details.

Train2Game News Dragon Quest Tact Hits 3 Million Downloads

SQUARE ENIX® today announced that the massively popular mobile tactical RPG, DRAGON QUEST™ TACT, has surpassed 3 million downloads since its January 27 global release.

To celebrate, both new and seasoned players can complete limited-time quests to earn a total of 2,000 Gems.

Players who have not yet begun their adventure in DRAGON QUEST TACT can enjoy all of the above content, plus they can receive the iconic King Slime monster if they begin playing before 11:59 AM PT on February 28.

Additionally, now until 12:0o P.M. PT on February 28, players can purchase a limited-time global exclusive bundle using 100 premium Gems. This bundle contains 50 EXP Codex L, 100 Skip Tickets, 10 Regular SP Scout Vouchers and 30,000G, and is perfect for new players getting started on their adventure.

“People across Japan have been having lots of fun playing DRAGON QUEST TACT, so I’m extremely pleased that the game is now available worldwide,” said DRAGON QUEST TACT General Director Yuji Horii in a recent video message to commemorate the game’s global launch.

“I hope that the game provides a fun experience for DRAGON QUEST enthusiasts and new players to the series alike.”

In DRAGON QUEST TACT, players will embark on an epic, tactical journey to diminish the evil that plagues the world of Orchesterra and join forces with familiar DRAGON QUEST series monsters along the way to save the world. Players will strategically build teams of iconic DRAGON QUEST monsters and direct them in heated tactical battles that unfold on a grid-like map.

Along the way, players can recruit new monsters as allies and upgrade their favorites to take on more ferocious battles.

Additionally, the Battle Road challenges adventurous players with even more story content for players eager to learn more about their monster allies. New and more experienced players can enjoy this new form of combat in this simple-yet-deep tactical RPG game that features a large roster of beloved monsters.

DRAGON QUEST TACT is available as a free download with in-app purchases on the App Store® or Google Play Store™.

Train2Game News Indie Showdown 2021 Submissions Open

The Label’s annual Indie Showdown competition which celebrates indie game makers and honors excellence in the indie mobile game community is open through February 19, 2021.

Past winners include Levelhead by Butterscotch Shenanigans, What the Golf? by Triband, Mushroom 11 by Untame, Tiny Bubbles by Pine Street Codeworks, Old Man’s Journey by Broken Rules, and Bring You Home by Alike Studios. 

Indie Showdown submissions will be judged not only on fun-factor, but on all aspects of the game’s craftsmanship – its design, technical, visual, and audio elements. With no cost to enter and cash prizes totaling $17,000, the world’s top mobile indie game makers are encouraged to submit today https://www.thelabel.game/indie-showdown

“This is our sixth annual Indie Showdown and we’re excited to see what undiscovered games capture the judges’ attention and eventually land on the top charts,” said Mike Ouye, VP and General Manager, The Label. “While the year is just getting underway, there’s a lot to look forward to in 2021 when it comes to mobile games!” 

The panel of judges will include the original Indie Showdown contest winner, Tim Garbos, Creative Director on What the Golf? as well as Itay Keren, founder of Untame Games and creator of Mushroom 11, and Joshua Babich, The Label’s Director of Product.

The top 10 games will be revealed on March 10, with winners announced shortly after. Prizes include: $10,000 for the grand first-place winner, $5,000 for the second place prize, and $2,000 for the third place winner. 

Highlighted rules:

  • Pre-launch: Your game must not be launched worldwide.
  • Indie: You must not have a publisher or signed publishing agreement.
  • Original: You must own 75% of the showcased IP.
  • Mobile: Games must be playable on mobile devices.

Full contest rules available at: www.thelabel.game/rules/

Developers can submit their game by filling out a contest entry form here: https://www.thelabel.game/indie-showdown