If you’re a gamer that likes a good first-person shooter, chances are you’ve played one (or more) games by Oxford-based Rebellion.
Co-founded by brothers Chris and Jason Kingsley (pictured left and right) more than 20 years ago, this indie games developer creates immersive titles for gamers using PCs, consoles and mobile including Windows Phone 8 devices.
We recently caught up with the brothers, learning more about their work and their passion for gaming.
Check out the video below for a quick overview, and then read on for the full story.
Dredd vs. Zombies
Their best-known game in the Windows Phone Store is Dredd vs. Zombies, a top-down, 3D shooter game for touch-screen devices that surpassed one million downloads across Windows Store and Windows Phone Store. Oh, and did we mention that all of their games are free to download and play?
The team at Rebellion created Dredd vs. Zombies using their “big engine that we use for our big console titles, but compressed it down for a different form factor, and simplified the gameplay for the touch screen. We’re very, very pleased with it,” said Jason Kingsley, CEO and Creative Director.
Dredd vs. Zombies uses a “virtual joystick” with auto-aiming. “We worked really hard to make it feel totally natural and most people that play don’t realize that they’re not aiming at all, and it’s actually the game that’s aiming for you. It selects targets for you and that makes it a good, fun game,” Rebellion CTO Chris Kingsley said. At the same time, players can pick their own targets, too.
“On the Nokia Lumia, Dredd vs. Zombies runs really smoothly. We’ve been delighted at the power we’ve been able to throw at it,” Chris said.
Targeting the mid-core gamer
As you might imagine, their games appeal to a broad range of gamers, from casual to hard core.
“I really like the process of making games because we have the fun of playing the games and also the fun of creating them,” Chris said.
If it wasn’t obvious by now, Rebellion seems to have a thing for Zombies, and more specifically shooting Zombies. One of their other successful titles in Windows Phone Store is Zombie HQ (shown above) which builds on the Judge Dredd premise, allowing the player to customize their own character and base. They call it a “mid-core” game (as opposed to hard core), so that anyone who enjoys killing zombies with machine guns can pick it up and have a good time.
In addition to publishing PC-based, console and mobile games, they also publish comics. Back in 2000, they first acquired “2000 AD” and they continue to publish a wide range of comics in print and digitally today.
Free-to-play games from Rebellion
All of the games from Rebellion are completely free to download, and include various options for in-app purchases. But, as Jason points out: “When we say ‘free to play’, we do mean that people can download the game and play it from start to finish and not pay us a thing which I think is brilliant value.”
At the same time, if the player is interested in getting bigger guns, going faster in the game, or skipping levels, there are options for purchases within the games to meet those needs.
Working with Nokia
“We have always kept an eye on the technology scene. Nokia has always been up there in our minds as a partner to work with, and increasingly the phones are getting more computer game/console-like. And that’s getting more exciting for us,” Jason said. “Nokia are producing the type of technology which allows us to put our major games technology on to it, and deliver the kind of experience people like,” he added.
“It’s great for us to get the support that we do because it is really good for you as a company, it means other people believe in the quality and the game play and what you are doing is worthwhile,” Chris notes.
“We’ve been doing it for 20 years … so making games for Windows Phone is very easy if you’re doing stuff for other Windows platforms,” Chris said. “So it is really a bit of a no-brainer for us.”
Jason agreed, adding: “The technology that is in the phone is broadly similar to what we have on consoles. At some stage it will probably catch up … and that means we can make the kind of complex, in-depth and interesting games that we have been interested in doing on the PC, and we can introduce them to a different form factor.”
What’s next for Rebellion?
As we all know well, “one of the things you can rely upon is change in this industry,” Jason said. “And we have just kept on going and embraced new technology wherever possible.”
What does that mean for Rebellion’s fans? Not to worry. There’s plenty more to come.
“We’re going to keep making cool games,” Jason said.