Friday, August 12, 2022

Game Portfolio -- Rise and Destroy

Continuing a review of discontinued games in my personal Game Portfolio, today I talk about a fun game full of awesome, yet strategic, destruction!

Rise and Destroy

  • Release Date: June 2015
  • Current Availability: Game fully removed from app stores on February 17, 2021
  • Release Credit Category: Marketing Credit
  • Company: KingsIsle
  • Business Model: Free-to-Play
  • Category: Mobile Game
  • Genre: Action Strategy

Personal Development Notes
  • Fun Fact: Frankie Forearms can still be found in Wizard101 as a wandering animal in the Arcanum and as a pet. As a pet, it is now an extremely rare find since it was unable to be hatched with other pets. It's been argued that it was a bad decision, but it did create a rare pet that drives collectors crazy! (Maybe KingsIsle will retroactively change that now that the game has gone bye bye?) To get the pet originally, you had to complete the first three levels of Rise and Destroy as a part of a limited-time cross-promotion with Wizard101.

  • Job Highlights: The Community Team at this time went through a lot of work trying to develop fun things we could do to help promote the game. I loved how passionate our social media manager was about the game even though she didn't fit the typical gamer personality you'd find working in the game industry. We hosted a special Launch Party KI Live around Rise and Destroy and Julia destroyed us all in a simultaneous game as we played through level 4 of the game.

    Responding to players who left app store reviews, researching where our game was being talked about online, and coming up with creative marketing were all job highlights for me.

    After Rise and Destroy launched, KingsIsle also held an internal game jam for its developers. The Community Management team put together a web-based achievement hunting game idea surrounding Rise and Destroy that could have been an amazing promotion for the game, but unfortunately we lacked an available web developer to help us make our dream promotion for this game a reality. I remember Josef Hall coming up to the community team after game jam and congratulating us on using game jam to creatively do our jobs of coming up with ways to promote the game. That felt pretty great!

    As a part of that game jam pitch, I also created a really basic dance game in Construct 2 that featured Frankie Forearms rocking it out! It was your basic up, down, left, right dance game with a space bar move to enter "disco mode." Good times! 

  • Best Memory: I had a blast dressing up as a T-rex to make our "What a T-rex can't do / can do" social buzz videos. Actually convincing KI to drop money on a T-rex costume has got to be another job highlight.

  • Other Comments:  Rise and Destroy was KingsIsle's first mobile game that wasn't an IP related to Wizard101. Marketing went through a lot of work and research understanding the Mobile Game Market and translating the game into several languages -- way more languages than was really necessary. 

Sample Gameplay:

This is a walk through video I made of a particularly difficult level to help one of the fans who was struggling to beat it.


Flash33 said...

I never did play Rise & Destroy but from the gameplay videos I saw of it I'm not sure it would've something I would've enjoyed, which is also the reason I eventually stopped playing Everclicker, another KI mobile game (I simply got bored with it). On its own it's an ok game, but it did start the phase of KI focusing all their efforts on mobile games that ultimately failed at the cost of their MMOs (Pirate101 especially) and some of their employees.

NOTE: I'm not blaming you personally Tom, but rather KI higher ups for the heavy mobile game focus phase.

Stingite said...

No worries. I don't take it personally. We hyped as hard as we could with what we were given, and I'm proud of our personal achievements. I did like Rise and Destroy quite a bit, but to clarify, everything that Pirate101 did was a fraction of the value to what Wizard101 did from the get go. It simply wasn't as popular of a game for the first two years of its life, so it's really difficult for me to accept the narrative that it was the focus on mobile games that stalled Pirate101. On the other hand, I fully believe it was the failure of Pirate101 to live up to its big sister Wizard101 that stalled Pirate101. Catching lightning in a jar twice is difficult, and that's what they were trying to do. If Pirate101 had been a success monetarily, KingsIsle would have kept making story updates at a regular beat. That said, I'm really happy Gamigo's parent company is breathing new life into the game!

Iridian Willowglen said...

I was a huge fan of Rise and Destroy. I played every level and anxiously waited for the release of more. Loved the monsters' cave and all the different monster's we could play as. Frankie still wanders one of my Wizard101 houses. :)

Stingite said...

@ Iridian -- Oh I remember!! I loved seeing you tweet about your progress in the game. It was really fun chasing your high scores!

Tipa said...

I played this! I think I might even have that Frankie pet in W101!

Flash33 said...

@Stingite Sure Pirate101 isn't as popular as Wizard101, that part is obvious. However, and please correct me if I'm wrong as I could be misremembering, I believe 2015 was around the time many game companies were trying to cash in on the rise of mobile gaming by making mobile games themselves, often to mixed results. When it comes to KI the games they released around that time were:

Rise & Destroy (action/adventure (thinking about it again the reason I never played it was cause I could never find it on the app store))
EverClicker (auto-runner)
Animal Cove (Match 3)
Other mobile games in development that got cancelled.

Sure they had a certain charm but at the end of the day there were tons of those kinds of games, and when you think Kingsisle the first thing that comes to mind are often their MMOs. The general consensus even among those who enjoyed them is while on their own they weren't bad, together it felt like KI was trying so hard to break into the mobile market that they were ignoring/neglecting their MMOs in the process.

It is nice that Pirate101 is getting some content updates again but it remains to be seen how long that'll last (we have been burned before after all).

Stingite said...

@Flash -- And what you said was exactly the problem. Typically the narrative from fans, while outside looking in, is this unknowing post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy where they can't possibly understand the internal workings of KingsIsle despite best intentions.

I tried to argue for years that the MMO leg and the Mobile leg were two separate entities inside of KingsIsle. No one outside the company ever believed me or understood, but seeing how smoothly the two entities separated when the company split, it's even more apparent.

The MMO team did its business, and the Mobile team did its business. They only came together when Marketing would request there be some kind of cross-promotion to help build the initial push of a Mobile game by capitalizing on the MMO fans . . . ultimately hoping that the "KingsIsle" fans would love the new game.

The MMO leg had Wizard101, Pirate101, and two other MMOs which never saw the light of day.
The Mobile leg had all these other games I'm mentioning here in my Game Portfolio posts.

MMOs typically have a HUGE up front cost -- much more than mobile games -- and it's much more likely an MMO will be privately cancelled if there are problems. With Mobile games, you can put out a partly unfinished prototype game, and if it doesn't make anticipated metrics, you haven't lost all that much money. (I'm not sure if you're familiar with the "Fail Fast" business model.) MMO players typically want all the game there at launch unless there's some crowd funding involved, which wasn't really even a thing until 2013 when it really became viable for smaller cash-strapped game companies.

Anyway, it's easy to see why there's so much misunderstanding, theory, and conjecture . . . especially among fans that are super passionate about their MMOs. I definitely don't fault anyone. I love Pirate101 as much as the next guy, and I'd be willing to point fingers everywhere but at Pirate101 itself as a game (where it costs more to make a story update than Wizard101 yet brings home less money for that update as a return).

To be honest, it's a credit to the MMO team and the fans of Pirate101 that they kept the game running long enough to see it brought to a new company and given new life. Good on 'em! Best fans in the world!

Flash33 said...

@Stingite Outside of you, Blind Mew (for P101) and maybe some other people on the official message boards once in a blue moon I can't recall KI effectively communicating the thought process behind some of their decisions back then with the fans, which helped lead to the thought process I pointed out earlier. Sure there were the Story Time threads on the 101 boards but even those eventually stopped. In fact I seem to recall KI saying that the 101 (and mobile) teams were separate from each other but yet they were eventually merged together, and when it seemed liked mobile games (and to an extent W101) were receiving all the TLC with no real explanation as to why it's easy to see & understand why people (fans especially) felt upset and frustrated.

I get that MMOs are expensive to make and maintain, but it's hard to have faith when the people behind the game are so lax/neglectful about communication with their playerbase if that makes sense.

Nowadays they've gotten better at communication, which I will acknowledge, but they can still do better, both in giving and being receptive of feedback, and using more than just Twitter to communicate.

I definitely agree that the fans and are largely to thank for P101s survival, with a small team of P101 people helping out as well. I just hope the updates continue as again, we've been burned by promises of updates before.

It's nice to hear about some of the inner workings here though (perhaps you could talk more about it in a blog post) so thank you for that.