With the Galaxy on Fire series, mobile gamers take to the reaches of deep space to trade or combat other ships in the name of fame, fortune and adventure. Featuring beautiful, high-end graphics, and an open world where players are free to pursue the life of a mercenary, trader, smuggler and more, it’s little wonder why the series has so many fans. The series will soon offer an all-new adventure with Galaxy on Fire 3: Manticore, which will put players into the roles of hard-hitting bounty hunters going after the galaxy’s most wanted criminals in a hazardous fringe world called the Neox Sector. The game is expected to release later this summer and is currently taking closed beta sign-ups.

A prequel called Galaxy on Fire 3: Manticore Rising, which introduces players to the story, setting and characters, launched exclusively for Apple TV last year. Fans can also get a taste of what Manticore will have to offer mobile gamers by checking out the recently released a 360-degree trailer that spectacularly details what it’s like to play the game.

Michael Krach, head of studio at Deep Silver FISHLABS, talks to [a]listdaily about what it takes to navigate through the mobile gaming space.

Michael Krach, Deep Silver FISHLABS head of studio

What is Galaxy on Fire 3: Manticore about?

Galaxy on Fire 3: Manticore is a mobile space shooter with high-end 3D graphics and intense action gameplay. It takes place in the Neox Sector, a newfound El Dorado on the outskirts of known space. There, the players take over the roles of hard-hitting bounty hunters dead-set to take down the galaxy’s most wanted criminals.

By establishing a connected online space that is constantly in flux, Galaxy on Fire 3: Manticore puts an entire universe in your pocket. And although that universe will already be huge by the time the game launches, it will be constantly expanded in the months and years to come. We really have big plans for this game!

What inspired the creation of the 360-degree video trailer?

One aspect of Galaxy on fire 3: Manticore that we are particularly proud of is the complexity and vastness of the levels. The space stations and other structures are not only gigantic in size, but also organic parts of the orbits they are located in. You can approach them, traverse them and even dash through their ramifications. And while you do so, you discover a heap of details.

For us, 360 videos are the perfect medium to put our opulent level designs on display—since the viewers can change the camera angle at whim, they can explore the surroundings meticulously.

How close is the trailer to playing the actual game?

So far, all 360-videos we have seen of video games showed “artificial” pre-rendered scenes. They are fun to watch, but they do not give you an authentic impression of the actual gameplay. Our video is different. Nothing in there is staged—we maneuvered the spaceship by hand and the enemies behaved as they would in a normal play session.

Okay, we used an emulator on the PC and not a smartphone to record the video’s source footage. But still, everything you see in it is 100 percent as it is in the mobile game—the graphics, the physics, the sounds, the level, the mission and so on.

Galaxy on Fire: Manticore Rising is currently an Apple TV exclusive. Will it eventually come to other platforms?

As the prequel to Galaxy on Fire 3: Manticore, the Apple exclusive Manticore Rising introduces the new game world and gives its players a first impression of what the “main game” will look like. But in terms of scope and depth it is much, much smaller than the upcoming mobile app. We are very proud that Manticore Rising made it onto an all-new gaming platform as a day-one title. But we do currently not have plans to port it to additional systems. Our focus lies on the release of Galaxy on Fire 3: Manticore.


What are the challenges in promoting a game in the increasingly crowded mobile market, even one that’s as expansive as Galaxy on Fire?

You said it yourself: The mobile market is incredibly crowded and getting your app seen by a significant amount of people is a tough nut. With Galaxy on Fire 3: Manticore we have an established IP that stands out, and after more than 10 years in the business, we know our trade very well. These factors help a little, but they are no guarantee that the app will take off.

Since we cannot compete with heavyweights like Supercell or Machine Zone [MZ] on the paid UA market, we constantly have to challenge ourselves to find alternate ways to create buzz and eyeballs for our titles: Tap into new channels, show exceptional assets, offer genuinely new gameplay, interact closely with our community and always give 120 percent rather than 95.

Have you given any thought to developing Galaxy on Fire for mobile VR devices such as the Samsung Gear VR or the recently announced Daydream platform?

Of course, we keep a keen eye on the market and follow new developments, such as VR, with great interest. VR definitely has tremendous potential, but at the moment we have no concrete plans to use it in the next Galaxy on Fire game.