Brawl Quest is a beat 'em up mobile game developed by ThinkBIT Games. It's a funny, action-packed take on current state Philippine society, mirroring personalities from within the the country's pop culture, politics, entertainment, and more. The game is now available, free-to-play for both Android and iOS.
I got a chance to chat with Lord Christian Gosingtian, the director of ThinkBIT Games, to discuss the inspirations behind Brawl Quest, monetization in mobile games, and future updates.
What were your inspirations in creating Brawl Quest?
The main inspiration for Brawl Quest came from one of our artists! For the direction, we noticed the lack of games that showcased modern Philippines as a setting. We got inspiration from anything that Filipinos can easily associate with which can be seen in the playable characters, the enemies, and the stages. There are a lot of easter eggs to find if you look close enough in the backgrounds of the stages.
You described the game as a “semi-satirical view on modern-day Philippine society” and as a Filipino, I found the references funny. What design challenges did you face to ensure that the game is still as relatable to global audiences?
A lot of our characters are based on Filipino personalities. We believe that a lot of their traits fit in archetypes that a global audience can relate to. Even though there would be a good number of people who do not know the references, they would definitely still associate themselves with some of these characters -- except maybe Taong G? Haha!
We also made sure that the art style and gameplay is appealing to a broad audience so we iterated over them a lot of times. During the development, we showcased Brawl Quest across several game shows across the region (Asia/SEA) and got awards from it which made us have validation on the game that we were making.
It wasn’t easy though. We faced a lot of challenges when it came to game design as everyone had their own idea on what could improve the game. We kept iterating over the past year or so to finally settle on the current gameplay.
Free-to-play games are often criticised for exploitative monetization practices. What are your guiding principles when it comes to balancing the gaming experience and monetization?
User feedback and the community brings more life into the game...
We make sure to play the game ourselves repeatedly and make sure that the game’s content is achievable without spending anything at all. We also run the numbers to make sure that the players are rewarded with enough premium currency to clear the content.
We also listen to our community at our subreddit /r/brawlquestmobile to hear what they have to say about their progress and tweak the game with content updates.
You’re among the most responsive developers I’ve seen on the Play Store and App Store. How important to you are user feedback? Have there been changes to the game based on user reviews?
We have updated a lot of our game based on user reviews. User feedback and the community brings more life into the game as we get to know what the players want to see more of in the game. We also want to make sure that we hear everyone’s inputs from all our channels (ratings, subreddit, facebook, direct emails, etc.) before making game design decisions. We believe that making sure the player base is heard is one of the key things to a successful game so we make sure to incorporate it with future content.
What’s next for Brawl Quest? Anything else you want to share with our readers??
We have just released a major update featuring a new area, new stages, a new enemy type and a brand new brawler on Android. We plan to release that to iOS within a weeks time.
We are also collaborating with a few local (Philippine-based) artists to get their characters as brawlers into the game in exclusive limited time events! The first one we have on our list would be Little Things PH’s character! We’re hoping to have this live event sometime by end of March/start of April so stay tuned to our facebook for announcements on how to get the special character. Little Things PH on Facebook