A popular trend in the F2P sector at the moment is the ‘AAA Spinoff title’. Big franchises which usually only existed on console are now getting games released on iOS and Android, and more often than not they’re F2P.
While it’s easy to see this trend as nothing more than a marketing device, these spinoff games are getting better and better through increased understanding of the devices they’re launched on, as well as their target player base. Here are some of our favourite F2P spinoff titles as well as an overview of what makes them so good:
Trials Frontier, the addictively challenging stunt bike iOS/Android title, was developed in tandem with its AAA big brother: Trials Fusion. This ensured that Frontier had a look and feel that matched Fusion and stayed true to the franchise. Fusion even boasted a lengthy storyline to give players a new experience and a series of special tasks that, if completed on both versions of the game, would unlock unique customisation items.
World of Tanks Blitz
While Trials Frontier offers players a new experience, World of Tanks Blitz (an iOS exclusive) took an alternative route by optimizing the full PC/Console experience for iPhone and iPad. This gives players all of the deep, tactical gameplay that they love in the full World of Tanks, but in a portable version built to be played on the go.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
We’ve spoken before about just how fantastic Hearthstone is as a F2P title, but it also works incredibly well as a spin-off from the Warcraft universe. While it’s a completely different genre of game, it keeps the ‘magic’ of Warcraft by using the characters and art style that fans know and love. Not only that, but the dialogue and text includes plenty of in-jokes and nods to the other games and events in the franchise.
Like Hearthstone, the iOS release of Fat Princess took an entirely new approach to the game, eschewing the original’s tower defence gameplay for match-3. However, when players beat level 15, they are given a code to download the original game for PS3. Considering that it’s fairly easy to get to this level without making a single purchase, this free game is a great bonus for players while gifting it to them at this point in the game ensures that they’re engaged.
In summary, just like good Player Relationship Management, there’s no one right way for developers to create a good F2P spin-off. Instead, developers should look at what it is about their AAA game that players love, and then look at the best way to translate that to a mobile device.