Shadowgun Legends from MADFINGER Games: Interview with Roland Peters
This week we caught up with Roland Peters to talk about Shadowgun Legends, a Sci-fi epic which picked up Google Play’s Most Beautiful Game award recently.
Please introduce yourself and your studio
I’m Roland Peters, Project Owner for Shadowgun Legends. I recently joined MADFINGER Games (MFG) from Ubisoft RedLynx in Helsinki and took over the day-to-day running of the game from our CEO, Marek Rabas. We’re a small indie developer in Brno, Czech Republic, and we specialise in FPS games for mobile devices.
Can you tell us more about Shadowgun Legends?
Where do I begin? It’s a really huge, full-on sci-fi FPS spread across three (soon to be four) planets, which also has four PvP modes. You play a rockstar warrior called a Shadowgun, and it’s your job to save the galaxy from an invasion of aliens called the Torment. It’s a really unique game for mobile because it’s the only FPS with real RPG or MMO content, and it has real depth. We’ve got huge Dungeons that can take up to 30 minutes to complete, really challenging Arenas. It’s a proper hardcore game from my point of view.
It also has a really punk attitude, which is what we’ve come to expect from MFG, and an irreverent sense of humour. There’s side quests where the player must rescue popstar who’s always getting herself kidnapped by the aliens, or clean up scandals for a sleazy politician. There’s always something going on in the Shadowgun Universe!
What game is it most like on the market?
Well, it always drives me crazy when people compare us to PUBG or Fortnite because sure, it’s a FPS shooter with PvP mode, but it has a lot more depth of gameplay, with deep dungeons and complex game systems. If I had to say it was like anything, I’d say it was more like Diablo, just with FPS instead of isometric gameplay. They said we’d be crazy to do that on mobile, but that’s what we do here!
Legends has become something of a sleeper hit, having recently passed 10 million downloads. What is your vision for the future of the game?
Legends has been on the market for almost 18 months now and we’re really finding our niche, with a core group of dedicated players. Of course it would be great if we could hit 100+ million like PUBG, but that’s not really our market. We’ve made a niche game for a hardcore audience and we should keep going with that. We’ll have new Dungeons, a new planet for players to explore, and one thing that is close to my heart, our Adventure modules. We plan to have new story-driven quests with several steps and a really cool unique mission and reward at the end.
Do you have any plans to cater for a wider audience?
Sure, we’d love to do that, and our upcoming title Shadowgun War Games will be aimed at a more casual audience. War Games will focus on PvP and Legends will go further down the PvE route, and we’ll cross promote. The design of Legends puts us into a niche, so rather than dumbing down the mechanics to make it more accessible, we’d rather set ourselves the challenge of becoming the absolute best sci-fi RPG shooter for hardcore audiences out there.
Legends is the third game in the Shadowgun franchise, and you’ve just mentioned a fourth coming up. What made you decide to do another Shadowgun title rather than an original IP?
Players really took to the character of John Slade in the original game and the follow up, Shadowgun Deadzone, built a very dedicated following. So while we have plenty of other ideas on the backburner we felt there was plenty more to come from the Shadowgun Universe. Plus as the studio grew along with our abilities, we thought we were ready to do something really big like Legends. And from my perspective what the guys achieved using Unity is really unprecedented on mobile.
Do you consider yourself an indie studio, and what do you like about making indie games?
Oh yes, we’re absolutely an indie studio! We have a rather small team here, so several people have to wear several different hats. Coming from a corporate environment like Ubisoft, it was refreshing for me to work in a place with a far less established process. It’s very fast paced, we’re business punks, ignoring the rules because sometimes we have to! It gives us flexibility, and we can pivot quickly to address any issues that arise. We have a lot of very inventive people going beyond themselves to make the game a success, and our looser way of working gives freedom for their creativity to thrive.
What’s up next for MFG?
We’ve got two big things coming up in the near future. First there will be the launch of Legends on Nintendo Switch. Then there will be the release of Shadowgun War Games, a purely multiplayer spinoff from Legends. It’ll feature some of the same characters and it was a big hit when we showcased it with our first esports tournament at Gamescom last year. It’s looking and playing even better now, so it’s really going to be one to watch out for.
What can the indie games community do to support your game?
Well, it’s free so just play the game and talk to their friends about it! Also I’d encourage people to get involved with the community, which is a huge part of the Legends experience. I’m constantly surprised by those guys, how supportive they are of each other, far more than any other game I’ve seen. You know, they’ll even gift other players items that have cost them real money, and there’s a very great sense of unity among them. So again I’d say: try the game, fall in love with the game, and let everyone know about it! And if you know any talented developers who could help us make the games even better, please put them in touch with us…
Shadowgun Legends: http://bit.ly/SGLInterviewWithRolandPeters
Pre-registration link for Shadowgun War Games: http://bit.ly/SGWGInterviewWithRolandPeters