Given the tremendous success of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and last month’s critically acclaimed Gordon Ramsay: DASH, it’s easy to forget that Glu Mobile has a history of producing a wide variety of games that don’t have celebrity names or movie licenses associated with them. However, considering how the company’s newest game, Rival Fire, is adapted from Tencent’s WeFire—the most popular action shooter in China—it’s still working with big name support.

The partnership with global gaming giant, Tencent, to bring WeFire to Western players was announced last November. Rival Fire uses the same graphics engine and many of the same core features that made the original game popular but adapted to suit a global audience.

Rival Fire launched on both the Apple App Store and Google Play today, giving Western players a chance to check out its unique blend of action and social gameplay. Glu Mobile’s president and CEO, Niccolo de Masi, talks to [a]listdaily about working with Tencent in the ultimate East and West collaboration to bring WeFire to the world.

Niccolo de Masi, Glu Mobile president, CEO & chairman
Niccolo de Masi, Glu Mobile president, CEO & chairman

In what ways does Rival Fire differ from the original game, WeFire?

Rival Fire utilizes the most engaging parts of the original in addition to synchronous co-op PvE (Player-Versus-Environment) and PVP (Player-Versus-Player), an industry first that we’re tremendously proud of.

How has Glu worked with Tencent to develop the game, and what would you say it is about Rival Fire that will appeal most to a global audience?

The development of Rival Fire is the result of a powerhouse collaboration from East and West. Tencent and Glu have worked alongside one another over the past year to deliver a game with an immersive storyline, stunning 3D graphics, engaging social features, and multiplayer gameplay—features that have been historically reserved for PCs and consoles. It is a true one-of-a-kind mobile shooter experience transformed for a Western audience.

Was there any consideration given to associating a celebrity with Rivals, similar to Sniper X with Jason Statham?

At this time, we’re highly focused on delivering a high-quality third-person shooter to the market and supporting that community of players with a robust pipeline of updates, live events, and support.

How does releasing a shooter for mobile devices compare to games such as Kim Kardashian: Hollywood or Gordon Ramsay DASH?

Glu has a diverse portfolio of titles spanning five genres: Action, Celebrity, Sports & Racing and Simulation. Rival Fire falls into the Action category, and there are certainly major differences in the target audience, features, community etc. However, our ongoing vision is to deliver unmissable entertainment, no matter the genre.

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What has Glu learned from releasing Frontline Commando and Deer Hunter games about promoting shooters on mobile devices?

We always aim to learn, as a team from each title we release into the market. As time goes on, socio-competitive features have become increasingly important parts of any game. For mobile, that comes in the form of co-ops, or “guilds,” offering players the opportunity to be a part of a community. Additionally, PVP features offering players the chance to go head-to-head with others provides a unique competitive, adrenaline-filled, edge. Both of which Rival Fire has.

What are some of the most important things to keep in mind when releasing a new mobile shooter, even when it’s based on a popular game like WeFire?

WeFire is the most successful mobile shooter in China. However, we must take into account that it was built rather specifically for that market, which differs tremendously from the West. We’ve used the success of WeFire’s engine and art style as a launching pad and iterated on it to suit the audience we’re going after. Mobile shooters are tough to do well, but Glu has a long track-record of success in the space. Shooters are typically associated with AAA console titles, so convincing players that a mobile shooter is worth their time requires that expertise.

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