Amy Choi, is the Director of Product at Lion Studios, a mobile games publisher that works with mobile developers to get their games discovered by players around the world. Headquartered in San Francisco, Lion Studios’ creative and strategy teams utilize their expertise to help game developers break through the noise and grow their businesses. Since launching in 2018, Lion Studios has driven 90% of its games to the Top 10 in the App Store and Google Play.
What initially attracted you to gaming?
I’ve always been a big PC and mobile gamer, and after working with game developers for a few years on the ads side, I wanted to delve deeper into Product and work directly on games. I joined Lion Studios 2 years ago as its first Product Manager, and faced a steep learning curve with new tools and methodologies. It’s been both thrilling and wildly humbling to work on games enjoyed by millions of people around the world!
Lion Studios recently launched “Ancient Battle” a game that introduces a new genre of mobile games — hybrid-casual games. Could first of all describe what hybrid-casual games are?
Hybrid-casual is a mobile game genre that combines the pick-up-and-play simplicity of hyper-casual titles with more sophisticated game features such as card-based upgrades, advanced equipment systems, and robust social features.
Ancient Battle is the first game to be co-developed by Lion Studios with another studio. Why did Lion Studios choose to co-develop this game?
Lion Studios works with developers across many genres and saw an exciting opportunity to evolve and diversify its games and publishing services. In addition to helping mobile game developers reach the top of the charts with its fast, hyper-casual prototyping cycles, Lion Studios established an in-house design team of game industry veterans from Riot Games, Zynga, and Jam City, among others, to create premium gaming experiences.
Could you share the genesis story behind Ancient Battle?
Chinese developer Mandrill VR came up with the game concept of Ancient Battle but needed help with art, UI/UX, and product. Seeing Lion Studios’ track record with other Chinese developers and success with hyper-casual games, Mandrill VR started working with Lion Studios on everything from design, animations, new features and user acquisition. Together, we helped Mandrill VR reimagine all of the characters, maps, and animations to give the game a fully-immersive, high-quality finish.
This game was created remotely, can you discuss some of the challenges that were faced in creating a game remotely?
It’s definitely easier to work through new features and analyses in the same room, but working across different time zones enabled us to keep projects moving. When one team completed their work day, the other would just be starting so we were able to use the different time zones to our advantage. Luckily, we were able to meet with Mandrill VR in-person in the beginning, which allowed us to kickstart development and establish strong working relationships.
What type of player will be attracted to this game?
Since Ancient Battle incorporates game tactics and mechanics found in genres like strategy, battle royale, and card battlers, it will attract a wide variety of players. For some, this may be their first strategy game and for more experienced players, it will be a familiar experience packaged in a casual format.
Could you share the in-game story as well as what type of game mechanics we should expect?
In Ancient Battle, you are a King building up your army in a fight for your rightful ownership of land. You’ll confront opponents with special abilities and assemble your troops with the help of powerful allies. As you travel through the land to collect unique items and discover rare runes, you can upgrade your equipment and devise new strategies to emerge victorious on the battlefield.
Is there anything else that you wanted to share about Ancient Battle?
We’re very excited to launch Ancient Battle and are working on new features, content, and events to the game that will be rolled out in the coming weeks!
Thank you for the great interview, readers who wish to learn more should visit Lion Studios.