Mobile game developer and publisher DeNA has announced the launch of Blood Brothers 2 on iOS and Android devices. The sequel to 2011’s Blood Brothers, the game is a dark-fantasy strategy RPG, set in the land of Arnashia, which has been thrown into chaos 100 years after the events of the first game. In Blood Brothers 2, players will recruit a team of heroes to combat the evils around them and restore order to the land.
During each turn-based battle, units (commanders) relate to each other in a “rock, paper, scissors” style, encouraging strategy in the formation and deployment of one’s team. Players may capture enemies during these battles, and have a chance of persuading them to join their army after the fact. In addition, players can recruit new, lesser commanders for free each day, or purchase better (and rarer) units with premium currency.
In addition to the game’s single-player story mode, users can battle other players in the arena to prove they have the strongest army. Users gain ranks and earn rewards (like gear for their units) as they compete in these battles and climb the multiplayer leaderboards.
We had a chance to chat with Hidde Tonegawa, senior producer at DeNA, about the game’s development, and what the team learned from the success of the first title.
SocialTimes: Was there always a plan for Blood Brothers to be a multi-installment franchise, or did the success of the first game inspire the team to develop the sequel?
Hidde Tonegawa: With the original Blood Brothers, we did set out to create a world and mythos that we could build upon in the long-term, which we did over the years in the original Blood Brothers. However, really it came from the players. We have a very passionate community, and have received an enormous amount of feedback since Blood Brothers launched. We decided the timing was right to expand the Blood Brothers world, and try to put something that retains the core of Blood Brothers and gives players a fresh and but familiar experience.
HT: Blood Brothers 2 is much more narrative-focused than the original Blood Brothers. Over 100 years have passed since the events of Blood Brothers, so players are going to learn a great deal about their favorite characters: what they’ve been up to, what their motivations are, what their personalities are.
We hear from players in Blood Brothers all the time, talking about characters that we released even two years ago — that’s a strong emotional attachment. We want to deliver an experience that takes that to the next level, and provide the great PVP and events that we know our players love, but with a new spin.
ST: Will Blood Brothers 2 offer any rewards to previous Blood Brothers players, as a way to thank them for their loyalty?
HT: Actually, players gave themselves a reward! By pre-registering for Blood Brothers 2, and working together to complete certain actions, players unlocked a new character: Undoth Limited Edition, available to all players in week one of launch. We do have some very interesting things planned that players of the original Blood Brothers should find very exciting… stay tuned!
ST: The strategy RPG genre has become more crowded since the original Blood Brothers released in 2011. What has the development team learned since the original release, that helped craft a new experience to stand out from the crowd?
HT: This is a very interesting question. As the market has grown so much, the challenge for us was keeping focused on delivering an experience to our core Blood Brothers fans that exceeds their expectations. If we took the game in a totally new direction — say, city building — that may make sense from a market perspective but that isn’t what Blood Brothers is all about.
Blood Brothers is about characters, first and foremost, and about story, battling and playing with friends. So for us, a lot of the learnings have been based within Blood Brothers 1: what kinds of characters people prefer, what events they liked the most, what feature additions worked, what didn’t. Then expanding that into a different game that still delivers core value.
ST: The original Blood Brothers has been downloaded more than 35 million times around the world. What about the franchise do you think has struck such a chord with players?
HT: Characters and events. There have been over two billion coffins opened (characters acquired) in Blood Brothers, and over a billion battles fought with those characters. Those are staggering numbers. Blood Brothers offered characters for all types, and as I mentioned, people form attachments to them.
Our events allowed players to build different teams for different situations — this is my PVP team, this is my Raid Boss team — that sort of thing, so there’s always something new to work on. We’ve worked hard to give players even deeper levels of customization in Blood Brothers 2 that we feel they’ll find exciting.