Brilliant news for anyone who loves BFB Champions - Cybird is releasing a brand new update for its latest game, and it’s looking like this update could bump it straight into the top tier of mobile gaming.
While it’s already huge in Hong Kong and Japan, the developer is hoping to add to its global audience, re-booting its latest effort and loading it full of cool new features.
Now you’ll see the inclusion of an improved tutorial, as well as some exciting new match scenes that’ll also introduce you to one of the main stars of the show – Captain Tsubasa. He’s not particularly well known in the UK, but did surprisingly inspire some major players including Fernando Torres to take up football.
And with Cybird already thinking about its next release - hoping to include different multiplayer contests, time sensitive single player leagues, a mentor system, and club unions - it’s clear that the BFB games will reach the Premier League of gaming in no time.
We’re really excited about the update’s launch, so we caught up with the game's producer, Cybird's Atsushi Abe to find out more about what makes BFB Champions so unique, what features we can look forward to, and what challenges they faced during the development process.
What do you think your game offers that you can’t get from any other title on the App Store?
"The main feature of the game is our Champions Cups – regular multiplayer tournaments which allow you to take on other club managers from all over the world. You start by taking on other managers from your own country, before aiming to become the No. 1 manager on your continent, and then finally aiming to prove yourself as the best football manager in the world. It takes place over three weeks, with each phase taking place over the course of a week. It’s like our game’s version of a World Cup, where you prove your managerial mettle against the best in the world. But we want players to enjoy our Champions Cups regardless of their skill level or how long they have played the game. So we have a tiering system that allows players to compete at their own skill level: if you are just a novice manager you can still try to become the best manager in the world at your Player Grade.
Apart from that, another key features is that you can train the players in your squad in any way you like. Every time a player in your squad levels up you can assign points to their attributes, so you can tailor every player to your tactical needs. It’s a bit of an extreme example, but even if you have a player that starts out as an excellent defender, you could turn them into an outstanding forward if you train them up in the right way. So if you train your players in the right way you can really create a team and a squad in your own image."
What challenges did you face during development, and how did you overcome them?
"One major challenge was simply implementing those Champions Cups and other in-game events across multiple time zones so that players are really able to compete and interact on a global level. I don’t think that’s something that many other games have attempted. It’s a challenge we overcame by the hard work of our programming teams – although it took us twice as long as originally planned.
We also really wanted to ramp up the game’s performance compared with its predecessor, BFB 2016, which was a big hit in Japan and Hong Kong. It took a lot of detailed work and trial and error by our programmers and dev team but in the end we managed to improve performance by over 10 times. (For example we reduced the loading times from 28.85 seconds to 2.75 seconds.) I think that the way our engineers worked so hard to wring every last bit of extra performance out was a big success."
What do you feel audiences will find most exciting in the latest updates to BFB Champions?
"We are planning to include a function called Club Unions in November, which will allow people to form guilds in the game and play together. Up until now the focus of the game has been on pure PvP, but this will add a more co-operative element to the game. With Club Unions, people will be able to form Unions with up to 20 managers in them to compete in special Union events and chat to each other in-game using a special Union Group Chat, so we hope people will really love it."
What is the game’s community like, and have you found it to have a global appeal?
"Our existing fanbase is made up of every type of football fan, from really hardcore football fans to more casual fans. Partly that is because we are massive football fans ourselves. We originally just made the game that we, as football fans, wanted to play. But we also have fans who aren’t interested in football at all, who are just interested in the tactical and strategic aspects of the game, which is also great.
We’re lucky enough that fans of the original BFB in Japan seem to love how we have evolved the game in BFB Champions. And we are hoping that our collaboration with the Japanese manga star Captain Tsubasa will increase the game’s appeal around the world. I know he is not well known in the UK, but he is very popular across Asia and Europe.
We’re also lucky that we have a really big fanbase in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia, too. About one in six people in Hong Kong played the original BFB, and it was the top title in terms of sales on Android in 2015.
So now we are just hoping that we find such fervent fans around the rest of the world, and particularly Europe. So please give the game a go. We hope you enjoy it."