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Multiplayer online squad strategy? Quark Games introduces a new genre with Champs Battlegrounds

Developers don’t always strive to make something new. We often get the sense, in gaming and in everything else, that new ideas are extinct. Maybe that’s true, but developer Quark Games thinks it’s on to something fresh with its new title for mobile devices that remixes a couple of existing genres.

Quark revealed to GamesBeat today that it is working on Champs Battlegrounds for iOS and Android devices. The studio describes it as “multiplayer online squad strategy,” but it’s put more simply like this: real-time tactics.

Champs Battleground is a turn-based tactics game that strips away the turns. Instead, players face off against one another in a real-time battle. What makes this more of a tactics game rather than a strategy title is that every single move counts.

“The heart of the game is real-time, but the brain is tactics,” Quark vice president and game lead on Champs Shawn Foust told GamesBeat. “We looked at a lot of games that we grew up with that we love, like Final Fantasy Tactics, and we asked ourselves why we didn’t see a ton of tactics on mobile phone — what is the big opportunity? And we felt like the tactical approach is something that could gain some prominence after being relegated to the dusty corners for a long time. It’s something that we thought we could make a contribution to. Champs Battleground is the outcome of that effort.”

Champs Battlegrounds is a fantasy game with archers, warriors, bandits and more. The title has a couple of modes that pits you against the computer, but its digital bread is buttered in the player-versus-player mode.

Champs Battlegrounds takes place on a grid similar to Hero Academy. Unlike that turn-based game, however, players don’t ever have to wait for their opponents to act. Instead, each hero has a certain amount of movement energy, and players can move them at any time. That energy will replenish every 10 seconds or so. This leads to intense, fast-paced battles that only last for five to eight minutes.

“When we were thinking about how to make the game more active– and more portable — we thought that we should take [turn-based tactical play] in a real-time direction,” said Foust. “How players use that energy will really dictate the outcome of the battle.”

Quark is positioning this as a hardcore game, which is a bit of a risk on mobile platforms. It’s a 3D tactics game with stressful real-time action and a fantasy setting on mobile devices. A few years ago, Quark would be working on this game for PC, but the developer thinks it will find an audience on mobile.

“Some of our friends think we’re crazy,” said Foust. “It’s a little afield of what has traditionally been done in the mobile space, but I think it’s what all of us [at Quark] want to be playing. This platform is maturing very quickly, and I don’t believe the things that worked a year ago will work a year from now, and so you have to be aggressive.”

Champs is an aggressive move. Quark isn’t trying to capitalize on the popular League of Legends-led trend of multiplayer online battle arena games like a dozen other studios. Instead, Foust’s studio is trying to start their own trend.

It’s a free-to-play game with microtransactions to purchase new heroes, but Foust promises all the heroes are also accessible simply through playing it. They want Battlegrounds to establish itself as a legitimate competitive title on mobile, so it is important to the developer that it not compromise that competition with any pay-to-win nonsense.

Quark is planning to unleash the game in the summer. A trial might come in June.


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