Chair's Donald Mustard on making Infinity Blade II social with ClashMob

Swarm battles with friends

Chair's Donald Mustard on making Infinity Blade II social with ClashMob
| Infinity Blade II

As the gap between hardcore and social gaming gets thinner by the day, it's no surprise to see developers finding new and interesting ways to get players more involved in their games.

Originally heralded as the hardcore knight of the App Store, Chair Entertainment made the daring choice to experiment with Infinity Blade II, adding ClashMob, a sort-of massively multiplayer experience, in April.

With new challenges being added on a regular basis, ClashMob invites players to work together to take on mammoth tasks with great rewards shared among those who conquer.

Furthermore, players are encouraged to enlist other players via social media shout outs in order to form their own mobs.

Curious to see how well this socially-driven experience had taken off, we chatted to Chair's co-founder and creative director Donald Mustard about what inspired ClashMob, and where the developer will take it next.

Pocket Gamer: What was the inspiration behind ClashMob? Donald Mustard: We're always looking to find new ideas, new genres, and new methodologies for creating fun and innovative gameplay.

In looking at the way we interact with these powerful devices that we're carrying around in our pockets and how they've fundamentally changed the way we've done many things in our daily lives – even how we design and play games – we thought it created the opportunity for new types of multiplayer gaming that are far more social in nature.

When you look at the success of a lot of the current social games, the Villes and the With Friends, you see they're tapping into some unique social consciousness, even beyond the game itself.

We wanted to take that social system and wrap real core gameplay around it so that you could be cooperatively playing a game with millions of people, but at the same time be intrinsically rewarded for your individual contribution. This is where the idea for ClashMob began.

As one of the App Store's hardcore titles, why add a social slant to what was mostly a single player experience?

One of the great things about Infinity Blade II is that it is truly skill-based and its core game play mechanic of using a finger to swipe the touchscreen is something that resonates well with gamers of many skill sets – whether they're a more casual player or they're looking for a more challenging experience.

With Infinity Blade II, we really wanted to extend the game play in ways that were more social in nature, keeping in mind the various ways people like to connect with one another via these devices.

We started with the idea of, what if we had a giant monster with one billion hit points that would only be available to fight for a limited time?

It would be impossible for any one player to defeat this monster on their own, but what if players from around the world could form a 'mob' and collectively do enough damage to defeat the Titan?

We thought that sounded awesome and really fun, so we decided launch it as a new feature included in our first game update.

How has ClashMob been received so far?

In the few short weeks since ClashMob was introduced there have been millions of players participating, with an average of several hundred thousand playing ClashMob daily.

What features can we expect to be added in future updates?

Our plan is to support ClashMob indefinitely. We see this type of experimental gameplay as necessary to continue pushing the boundaries of what is expected on a mobile platform.

For example, one of the really cool new features that we're introducing to ClashMob with this update is the ability to participate in a ClashMob event via Facebook and Twitter.

With every ClashMob event, we make a post via Facebook and Twitter. As people re-tweet or Like the posts extra damage is done in-game and contributes to defeating the boss, completing the objective, etc.

What future does ClashMob have in terms of future Infinity Blade and Chair games?

We think that a feature like ClashMob that connects gamers from around the globe and motivates them to cooperate together to accomplish something they could not do on their own could be applied to almost any game in any genre.

We fully expect to see features similar to ClashMob appearing in many games in the future.

You have an update coming out shortly, what can fans expect to see in the update?

We are really excited to announce we'll be releasing a huge free content update this Thursday 24 May entitled Infinity Blade II: Vault of Tears.

This update is the largest we've ever released and is packed with tons of new content and some really cool new features, some of which expand on the ClashMob feature launched in our last update.

This update will also delve more deeply into the story of Infinity Blade and the mysterious past of Siris as some pretty big secrets are revealed.

Thanks to Donald for his time.
Tom Worthington
Tom Worthington
Fresh out of the packaging, Tom joins Pocket Gamer with a chip on his shoulder and a degree in Journalism. Naively, Tom believes there's a star-studded career in video games and has penned words across the internet in between praying to the almighty Nintendo gods.