DropForge Games to Bring Multi-Award Winning PC Game Card HunterTM to Mobile
Blue Manchu’s acclaimed PC game is ideally suited for, and coming to tablets
March 13, 2014 – DropForge Games, www.dropforge.com, the newly formed Seattle-based mobile games company announced today that, in partnership with Sydney-based Blue Manchu, they will be developing and publishing a mobile version of Card HunterTM (www.cardhunter.com) for release on tablets.
Card Hunter, a unique hybrid role-playing game (RPG) and card collection game (CCG), has been extraordinarily well received by both players and game critics alike. Its awards and recognitions include being in Game of the Year lists published by PC Gamer, The Artery, Digital Life, Gamezebo and Yahoo Games. Card Hunter is also nominated for a Game Developers Choice Award as Best Debut Game in 2013.
“The number one request from the Card Hunter community has been ‘when will this be on my tablet?’” remarked Jon Chey, founder and CEO of Blue Manchu and the game’s principal designer. “The game’s design screams out for a tablet experience.”
Card Hunter was the result of a design-collaboration between Jon Chey, Richard Garfield and Skaff Elias. Garfield and Elias were, respectively, the original designer and business manager for the pre-eminent hit, Magic: the Gathering.
“We think card games will be huge,” commented David Bluhm, CEO of DropForge and 14 year mobile games veteran. “And we aim to bring a new, exciting hybrid game genre to more than 200 million tablets.”
DropForge was founded in Seattle by former game industry pioneers and is focused on building world-class games for a worldwide audience.
About Blue Manchu
Blue Manchu was formed by Jon Chey after leaving BioShock developer Irrational Games, of which he was a director and co-founder. Chey started Blue Manchu, a self-funded studio, as a vehicle for creating unique and original games. The studio’s first game, Card Hunter, was released in 2013 and has been both widely acclaimed as highly innovative and exceptionally well-received by the game community.
Card Hunter (Blue Manchu | PC, Mac)
Our favorite free-to-play game of 2013 wasn’t actually free-to-play for us, because we happily handed over plenty of cash to developer Blue Manchu for crafting possibly the most addictive game of the year. Effortlessly blending collectible cards with turn-based strategy, Card Hunter’s dedication to both great gameplay and its old-school Dungeons and Dragons roots tugged at our geek heartstrings. And wallets.
Card Hunter: Role playing games have always been popular fodder in the digital medium, but how often do you play a video game RPG that’s really a proper RPG? Card Hunter hit the web this year and perfectly filled that gap. Gather around the table for some classic pen-and-paper style nerdery, complete with dungeon master.
Why Card Hunter?
The App Store charts are dominated by a set of a narrow set of genres and games that were created in 2012. We believe that the way to break this creative hegemony is with new ideas and quality driven, experienced teams. Rather than trying to chase the market by releasing a Clash of Clans or Match Three clone, we’ve decided to back some dark horses. Our first game, Card Hunter, is the quintessential dark horse.
At DropForge we invest in teams first and game ideas second. The creative team behind Card Hunter has an extraordinary record working on AAA games. Jonathan Chey, the creator of Card Hunter, was the co-founder of Irrational Games with Ken Levine and Rob Fermier. He helped create the BioShock series, as well as working on the seminal titles System Shock II, Thief and Freedom Force. Most of the team that worked on Card Hunter also worked on BioShock. We believe there is no substitute for experience when it comes to creating high quality games, which is why we decided to work with Jon and his team.
Card Hunter was first released as a PC game in September of 2013. It is a cross genre mash-up that combines collectible card games with a tactical RPG. It is a homage to the golden age of pen and paper role playing games of the late 70s and early 80s. We believe that this combination of different gameplay styles, creating something familiar, but different, will surprise and delight players. That’s an opinion that’s already shared by the press. Penny Arcade’s Tycho said, “my favorite game of PAX 2012 was Card Hunter. There is no pause between the question and the answer. Card Hunter now, Card Hunter forever.” Gameinformer called it “wildly inventive.” Finally, PC Gamer named it as its “Most Original Game of Year 2013.”
We look forward to bringing you an amazing Card Hunter experience for tablets.
PC Gamer at
As gaming genre boundaries continue to break down and old fashioned genre labels lose their relevance, designers are increasingly happy to collide once separate ideas into inventive new ones. None have done that with as much cleverness this year as Card Hunter, which fuses turn-based tactical combat with collectible card games, wraps it up in an endearing D&D homage, and then gives it all away for free.
CHRIS I really want Card Hunter to succeed. It’s a free-to-play game with a fair and generous business model that never gets in the way of doing what you want to do, which is negotiate a series of D&D-style dungeons with a party made up of individually customisable CCG decks. It sounds convoluted, but Blue Manchu have managed to marry two complicated genres in a way that makes both more accessible. The collectible card game underneath helps to break down the principles of turn-based strategy into individual, easily-understood elements, and the strategy game helps to present card battling in a context that gamers will immediately comprehend. It’s a phenomenal bit of design.
CORY It’s also an incredibly charming game. Right from the start, you can see the love Blue Manchu have wrapped up in its art style. This is a game made by tabletop fans, people who grew up sitting around, rolling 20-sided dice and scribbling furiously on graph paper. I love how it expresses its mechanics through cardboard cutout figures, and delight at every D&D in-joke the designers have baked into the various cards and actions. Card Hunter is charming as hell, and I would have easily paid full price to play its campaign. That its developers let you log in for free and only want to charge you for the smallest of details is, frankly, unbelievable. Even if you’re not into CCGs, you should give the first few singleplayer missions a try. They’re just delightful.
CHRIS I played singleplayer for about a dozen hours before graduating to competitive play, but I’m glad that I did. I love the room it provides for creative plays – the Flying Wizard Telekinetic Dwarf Slingshot is totally a thing, because I invented it. The game’s CCG foundations allow for turnarounds and upsets, too – and as frustrating as it can be to be on the receiving end of one, they always make for good stories. Card Hunter is easily the year’s second-best wizard ‘em up.
PHIL As someone who doesn’t like CCGs, I’m grateful to Card Hunter for the way it mitigates random chance. I’ve yet to move up to its competitive modes, so while being dealt bad cards is frustrating, it’s mostly an opportunity for creative tactical problem solving. Even drawing a purely defensive hand isn’t disastrous thanks to the pass system. By moving to defensible locations and skipping my turn, I can ensure I get first go when the new, hopefully more powerful cards appear – even using my apparent weakness as the basis for an ambush.
More interesting are the low-level cards that offer seemingly undesirable effects. What at first seems like a near-useless compromise can suddenly make all the difference. If a Warrior’s bludgeon can’t quite finish a monster, maybe that boobytrapped healing card can briefly turn your Cleric into an offensive unit, killing the enemy before the healing is applied.
That’s what I love about Card Hunter: the necessity of invention. Experimental strategies aren’t about showing off, or trying to be creative in the face of a more sensible or more effective option. They’re the result of an intuitive deck-building system, that is then reduced down to a manageable and interesting set of choices to be made on any given turn.
From Geekwire.com: http://www.geekwire.com/2013/wargaming-game-development-publishing-company/
One of Seattle’s most accomplished entrepreneurs is jumping back into the gaming industry with some ambitious goals.
David Bluhm, co-founder of companies like Z2, HandsOn Mobile and 2Way, is leading a Seattle-based unnamed games development and publishing company in partnership with fast-growing Wargaming, maker of the popular free-to-play game World of Tanks.
The new entity is 100 percent funded by Wargaming but will be a separate company with free reign to develop and build out its own plan to help Wargaming enter the mobile space.
“As most of us have seen demonstrated over the last year, Wargaming is determined to be a globally dominant games company and understands the role mobile will play going forward,” Bluhm told us.
The initial core team for the new company includes Bluhm, Blue Manchu and Irrational Games vet Joe McDonagh, as well as former Z2 and Nintendo producer Julian Chunovic.
Bluhm, who recently returned to his mobile analytics startup Medio, said that he wants to be involved with mobile gaming again because it’s “still a relatively new space with a massive upside,” particularly in the post-production process and localization aspects.
“Success in mobile now requires more than just creating a great, compelling game — specifically, better and broader execution with respect to global marketing and distribution,” he said.
The new company has been funded against an 18-month plan, but Bluhm added that he has access to “whatever funds we might need to build, buy or publish the right project based on a business case.” Within the next few quarters, the entity will start hiring for a “world class studio and game operations group,” as Bluhm calls it.
The new project plans to service the mid-core to core gamers — not casual — and will likely have a solid strategy element.
“We will also exploit a variety of business models from free-to-play to paid premium games,” Bluhm added.
It’s worth noting that this is a completely separate investment into Seattle by Wargaming, which acquired Gas Powered Games in July.
“This continues to solidify Seattle as a preferred location for the world’s leading games companies,” Bluhm said.
Bluhm said the company’s office will most likely be in Bellevue in order to “be closer to the Bungie, Valve and Microsoft talent pools.” More details should be coming in the next few weeks, so stay tuned for that.
The studio is so new that it doesn’t have a name yet. The new company’s head is David Bluhm, a startup veteran who cofounded Z2, which has become a leading mobile game company. It will have its own charter to pursue the best available business strategy, but its funding comes entirely from Wargaming, which is based in Cyprus and has grown quickly on the strength of World of Tanks into a major game publisher.
“We think mobile games is still a relatively new space with massive upside,” Bluhm told GamesBeat. “Mobile is ripe for innovative and new core game mechanics.”
Joe McDonagh, a veteran of Blue Manchu (it released its first game, Card Hunter, in September) and EA PopCap Games, will oversee game production. Julian Chunovic, formerly of Z2 and Nintendo, will lead post-production efforts. Bluhm said that success in mobile requires more than just creating a great game. It also requires global marketing and distribution, which is why the studio’s investor is Wargaming.
While Wargaming has huge hits in free-to-play online games for the PC and it is soon launching on the Xbox 360, the company has yet to make a dent in mobile, the fastest-growing category for games, though it does have its World of Tanks: Blitz on the horizon for mobile.
The studio will be its own entity and separate from Wargaming Seattle, which was formerly Chris Taylor’s Gas Powered Games studio. Bluhm said he would disclose more about the company’s games in the coming weeks.