Interview: Frank Keienburg on Brawl Stars' new Hypercharge update

Interview: Frank Keienburg on Brawl Stars' new Hypercharge update

Brawl Stars' latest update introduced a new feature called Hypercharge, a new ultimate ability you can unlock for specific Power 11 Brawlers. It's extremely powerful, boasting the potential to turn the tide of a match if used correctly. We recently had the opportunity to ask Frank Keienburg about all things Hypercharge. We touched on why the team felt it was needed, alongside how the community has responded so far. 

Can you introduce yourself and your role on Brawl Stars for our readers, please?

Hi! I am Frank, currently the General Manager for Brawl Stars. I’m with Supercell for almost 9 years now and previously worked for Blizzard Entertainment in France. You might have seen me in a Brawl Talk, or two… ;)

For those unfamiliar, could you briefly explain the game's new Hypercharge mechanic?

We’ve introduced Hypercharge as a new ultimate ability for Power 11 Brawlers. Hypercharge charges through other actions like attacking other players and once fully charged players can trigger it to have a big hero moment - potentially turning the game around. Brawlers on Hypercharge are generally stronger and faster and their Super abilities are altered and improved!

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How long has this feature been in development? And why did you decide the game needed an update like this? What do you think it brings to Brawl Stars?

The feature has been in development for about 6-9 months. Power 11 previously unlocked an additional Gear slot for Brawlers, which gives passive benefits for Brawlers. Functional, but not exciting by any means. Introducing Hypercharges allowed us to both make Power 11 more exciting while at the same time, it deepens the end-game experience for our most committed players. Introducing them update-by-update (about 6 at a time) keeps things fresh and exciting - there’s nothing more boring than a stale meta. :)

Hypercharge sounds incredibly powerful. How are you managing balance with it? Particularly since not every Brawler has access to one just yet?

Before release some of our players were concerned that we’d introduce an “I win!”-button, but Hypercharge is far from that. Depending on individual skill, players are only able to trigger Hypercharge a couple of times per game, and using it in the wrong moment can lead to all that effort being wasted. So while they are powerful, they don’t guarantee you winning the game, even if the enemy side has no Brawler with Hypercharge. On the other hand, we do not strive to have a perfectly balanced game - ever! It’s pretty unrealistic in a hero shooter with 70+ characters, to begin with, but on top of that, we do emphasize fun over perfect balance.

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How has the community reacted to Hypercharge so far?

As mentioned, when players learned about it initially they were somewhat concerned - but things calmed down a lot since we’ve introduced them, when people understood that they can be countered. Hypercharge is still in the process of rolling out, we release them week-by-week - so it’s a bit early to talk about the total impact. Personally, I can tell you that I am having a ton of fun with it, and it also created a situation where I am excited again to play some of the older Brawlers in the game!

Are there any aspects of Hypercharge you're not happy with at the moment and are planning to tweak?

It’s too early to tell, really. We aren’t 100% sure about our pricing and roll-out strategy at this point, but I couldn’t give you a clear answer if those are things we’re going to change in any way. There has been some community feedback that some of the changes Hypercharge makes to the Super ability could be more emphasized and that is something we are certainly thinking about for future additions. Overall: If anything we are just eager to get out more Hypercharges to our players!

Are there any future plans for Brawl Stars you can share with us?

There will be two more major updates in 2023 and in December we will celebrate our 5-year anniversary - crazy how fast time flies! Currently, we are focused on changing Club events, Power League and the Brawl Pass. If you’re a Brawl Stars fan, there’s a lot of cool stuff happening for the remainder of this year and in 2024!

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Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen brings both a love of games and a very formal-sounding journalism qualification to the Pocket Gamer team.