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SteamWorld Quest: Why do not franchises take risks like this?



The biggest franchises on the planet are some of the safest.

Look at Assassin's Creed. Assassin's Creed is still an action-adventure series with a focus on parkour and casually shoving your way through crowds. Sometimes the combat engine gets revamped, sometimes they add pirates, but the core remains the same. When Ubisoft does experiment with the Assassin's Creed genre,

The conservative approach makes sense. Taking risks with your biggest franchise is, well, risky.

SteamWorld Tower Defense [1969006] Image & Form, a small studio based in Sweden, created the SteamWorld series in 201

0. The first game released in the franchise was SteamWorld Tower Defense a digital-only title for the nintendo dsi that made barely a whimper. SteamWorld SteamWorld Dig (a Metroidvania / DigDug mash-up), SteamWorld Heist (a side-scrolling turn-based strategy game) and now their newest, SteamWorld Quest (a card-based fantasy RPG). Every new installment has been a total gameplay departure from the previous title, with the exception of a sequel to Dig .

Brjann Sigurgeirsson, CEO of Image & Form, explained to Polygon that the genre is going to tackle next. It then figures out a way to blend into the SteamWorld universe.

"That means that SteamWorld may have a balloon in order to complete that game and genre," Sigurgeirsson told Polygon.

SteamWorld Quest continues this tradition, mixing a card-based RPG with a fantasy setting. The game's mechanics are complex, with multiple decks and combo opportunities in every fight. But Quest feels approachable, like the rest of Image & Form's games, slowly easing me into systems that would prove overwhelming if rushed.

It's not RPG or card game, but it is.


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<p id= The Heroes of SteamWorld Quest on a pile of coins ] You may think this level of experimentation is not possible with big-budget franchises. The risk is too great. But look at Apex Legends . Rather than pump out the same mech-based shooter it's made twice before, Respawn made a free-to-play, hero-based battle royal game set in the Titanfall universe. That's not as good as going from Metroidvania to card-based RPG, but it proves that experimentation can breathe new life into a frugality, even on a larger scale. The key is the same level of commitment to the experiment, rather than treating it as an-ran.

As for SteamWorld. Which raises the question: What is image and shape going to tackle next?

"Our heroes are steam-driven robots that have been in space," says Sigurgeirsson.

Steamworld Quest: The Hand of Gilgamech is now available on Nintendo Switch.
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