Game of Thrones is one of the hottest fantasy entertainment properties, and that’s been good for Disruptor Beam. The Framingham, Mass.-based social-mobile game studio has had more than 6 million people play its Game of Thrones: Ascent social game over time. And today, the company announced its first expansion, The Long Night, for the mobile-social game.
The Game of Thrones free-to-play role-playing title has benefited from the popularity of the highly rated HBO television series, Game of Thrones, and author George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books that inspired the show. The TV show has had an average gross audience of 18.6 million viewers for its fourth season, beating the pay-TV network’s record that The Sopranos set.
Hank Howie, the chief operating officer of Disruptor Beam, said in an interview at the recent Gaming Insiders event that the first expansion will run on the Web, Facebook, iOS, and Android. In Game of Thrones: Ascent, players can follow a parallel story that references (and sometimes criss-crosses) events in the show. It is a standalone experience, but it gets a big boost as a companion title to the audience that can’t get enough of the fantasy story.
“We’ve got more features, fantasy, and alliance activity,” Howie said. “You’re in the world, with the events of the show in the background. You influence them in unique and interesting ways.”
In the expansion, players can now travel beyond the Wall, the giant 700-feet ice barrier that stretches across the northern border of Westeros, the fictional land of the Game of Thrones universe. They face both the Wildings (barbarian tribes) and the White Walkers (the undead) in the expansion. It also has upgrades to the in-game alliance system, and it has lots of new quests and items.
The big event that triggers the expansion is the march of the undead toward the Wall. Players can equip themselves with items from the Night’s Watch or don Wilding furs against the cold.
Howie said that the transition to mobile and tablet platforms has gone well. Game of Thrones started on Facebook, and it transitioned to mobile later. Now the expansion is debuting simultaneously across the various platforms. When the show is in season, Disruptor Beam does a Monday morning update with references to the episode the night before. Out of season, the developers work on extending the storyline of the game.
Disruptor Beam is also working on a mobile-social game set in the Star Trek universe. Howie recently traveled to Star Trek conventions to seek feedback from Trekkies about what kind of game that they want. The audience for Star Trek reaches a wider audience than Game of Thrones, but it has also had more history with lackluster game experiences.
“The Trekkies said, ‘I’m going to have a starship, right?'” Howie said. “And we said, ‘You’re going to have a ship.’ We have no intention of falling short with the fans.”
Disruptor Beam has 36 employees. Over time, Howie said the company would likely work on its own intellectual property in addition to licensed games.
“That’s in the future for us, but we want to leverage a lot of story-driven intellectual properties and build our name that way,” Howie said. “Once we have that established, we would be very comfortable building our own IP.”