For those who are wondering what the next big thing in mobile gaming is going to be, we have the answer: Tunnels and Trolls. That’s right, the game from the first wave of tabletop RPGs is breaking out onto mobile, and sooner than you would expect.
For those who are unaware, the developer, MetaArcade, has partnered with publisher Flying Buffalo to create a digitized version of the storied RPG. We got to sit down with David Reid, CEO of MetaArcade, to play and discuss the demo, as well as the platform that it being made.
The game is the first in what we are assured is a series of digitized adventures from the annals of Tunnels and Trolls. It was built first and foremost with a focus on story, and as it’s built off of one of the hardest dungeons (for lack of a better word) I’ve ever seen (Naked Doom. It’s designed to destroy your pesky 1st level character). It is largely text based and narrates you through a dungeon crawl while music sets the tone of atmospheric dread. Unlike pretty much every mobile game, it is light on graphics (dice dance across the screen as you roll), but that’s about it. What draws you in is the compelling narrative and how much you have to think about what step to take next. It feels like a digitalized “choose your own adventure” story, but far more enthralling.
At this early stage (described to us as basically 0.1. They are months away from an actual launch, later this year) the game lacks multiplayer and the community aspect that makes tabletop games great, but that will be coming.
Never the less, if they are able to deliver on a game that can integrate community play, it is likely that this will be the next big thing in mobile (it is going to be launched across Android, iOS, Mac, and PC, but this game seems taylor fit for a mobile device). Think about this as Pokemon Go, except without the freemium model, actual story, difficulty, a character you can get invested in … well pretty much everything that Pokemon Go is not. It’s actually fun.
What is just as interesting as the game is what powers it. In fact, Tunnels and Trolls is essentially a proof of concept for a platform that is designed to empower storytellers to create their own game. Currently, when the platform launches (sometime in 2017, the date continues to change. We were told Q1, but it seems the feedback they receive from the demo of T&T will determine how showtime they are on the game, which seems to be the priority) the library of Tunnels and Trolls artwork, music, and ruleset will be available for anyone to go in and create their own stories. In time, more settings will come.
In truth, even though having a narrative based mobile game is great, it’s the ambitious goal that MetaArcade has set that’s going to be revolutionary. By empowering creators to construct their own games in their own words (and sell it for real money across virtually everything attached to a screen) could allow for an explosion in this market. Only time well tell how usable the platform will be for laymen, but if they’re successful in making it as ubiquitous to game creation as wordpress is for blogging, it could really change things.
We will have more later today when we release our interview with MetaArcade’s David Reid.