When we spoke to Madfinger Games last year, the Czech indie developer with a penchant for creating explosive eye-catching mobile titles told us that it was planning on updating its Pocket Gamer Silver Award-winning Shadowgun with multiplayer at some point in the future.
Just last week at CES 2012, however, Madfinger showed off its new free-to-download Tegra 3 timed exclusive Shadowgun: DeadZone being played using Xbox 360 controllers on a number of Asus Transformer Prime tablets.
We caught up with Madfinger's co-founder Marek Rabas to find out why the company decided to switch tack on the integration of multiplayer in Shadowgun by turning the multiplayer mode into a standalone game.
We also discovered exactly what we can expect from the console-esque third-person shooter Shadowgun: DeadZone.
[We also 'reached out' (as the management types like to say) to all you awesome folk on Twitter through our @pocketgamer account to ask what you'd like to know about the upcoming game. Many thanks to everyone for getting in touch.]
Pocket Gamer: What influenced your decision to make Shadowgun's multiplayer a standalone title?
Marek Rubas: We had several reasons to release it as a standalone title.
Firstly, it is easier for developing and updating the game, because we don't need to take care about single-player code and to beta test it every time we release a new update.
Secondly, the application size is going to be much smaller, which is critical for mobile users.
Lastly, because it will be free, there will be a bigger userbase, and that means more players to kill.
@Eliben25 - Will we see the game come to iOS and other Android devices?
Shadowgun: Deadzone is going to be a cross-platform multiplayer game.
We are happy to use Tegra 3 devices for open beta for various reasons.
Firstly, we are not able to release a beta edition on iOS.
Secondly, it is easier to release fixes, tweaks, and optimisations on Android.
Thirdly, because of Android fragmentation issues, it is definitely better to just use Tegra devices.
Everybody is doing open beta for multiplayer games to ensure a successful launch: we want to do the same.
What are the differences - if any - between the Tegra 3 edition of Shadowgun: DeadZone and the iOS version?
We have not decided yet.
There will be some differences, but nothing that will have an impact on gameplay.
How closely did your team work with Nvidia to bring the game to the Tegra platform?
We are working very closely with Nvidia. It's not producing any codes or shaders for us, but it is helping us with optimising, debugging, and giving us advice, etc.
It is really cool to be working with Nvidia.
@lumothesinner - How many maps, guns, and character skins feature in the game?
The initial release is going to include at least 3-4 different maps, eight characters, and 12 customisable weapons. There will be a variety of items and gadgets available, and you will be able to customise your characters.
And will it feature hand grenades?
Of course, we will definitely include hand grenades. We intended having them in the original Shadowgun, but we were not ultimately able to add them because of memory limitations.
Does it feature ranking / levels / unlocks?
Sure, we consider these to be standard features in multiplayer games nowadays. They make the game that much more interesting for players.
In Shadowgun: DeadZone, you will have your own permanent profile stored on a server with its own rank, unlock weapons, items, skins, etc.
Is there a single-player practice mode, or is it purely multiplayer?
It is a multiplayer game only. There won't be any bots, etc. We just don't have enough time to include them.
@lumothesinner - Will it be playable on 3G, or is it a wi-fi-only game?
I don't think that we will support 3G connections - there is too much lag and packet loss.
We want to provide the players with a really good experience, and 3G is not the right option.
And finally, what's the release date for the Tegra 3 version and how much will it cost?
It will be free for everybody. Of course, there has to be some monetisation, for we have to pay for dedicated servers and for the work to be carried out on new updates.
Nothing critical for players, though.
[No release date confirmed - alas]
Many thanks to Marek for his time. Shadowgun: DeadZone will be available for Tegra 3 devices in Q1.