Summoners War interview: Brian Choi discusses the franchise's esports ambitions and challenges faced during the pandemic

Summoners War interview: Brian Choi discusses the franchise's esports ambitions and challenges faced during the pandemic

COM2US has announced their intention to double down their esports efforts for the Summoners War franchise to establish it as one of the top games in the scene. We recently had a chance to chat with Brian Choice, SWC lead at GAMEVIL COM2US USA about their efforts. We also discussed the challenges they have faced during the pandemic. 

Could you please introduce yourself to our readers and your role at GAMEVIL COM2US USA?

Hello, my name is Brian Choi, and I am the SWC lead for the US Office. I have been involved with SWC since the project’s inception back in 2017.

You are currently doubling down on turning the franchise into a top mobile esport. How are you approaching this challenge?

We are putting our best foot forward on being up-to-date and familiar with what is happening in the industry while also trying to predict the direction it will shift in the future. Making sure we are not falling behind and continuing to be an innovator in the mobile esports space.

What challenges did you face in pivoting from in-person championship events to an online format?

I believe the biggest challenge was trying to maintain the same level of excitement for our fans. While it can certainly be comfortably watching from home, it doesn’t give you the same excitement or experience being surrounded by hundreds of other fans who share the same passion and love for the game as you do. We had to come up with creative new ways to keep the experience immersive and engaging.

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What do you believe are the advantages of this approach, and, equally, what do you believe the format lacks? i.e. a live crowd to bring some atmosphere to the occasion.

The biggest advantage of this approach was that it offered us an opportunity to get creative with our production and try new types of digital and virtual media. I believe we were one of the first esport productions with a fully immersive virtual studio, and this was a huge focus during the last 2 years due to COVID-19.

The biggest drawback would be that, as mentioned in my previous response, the overall experience is simply not the same. Being in an environment surrounded by hundreds of passionate people simply makes the games more exciting. It also gives an extra source of energy for our casters to feed off, versus casting in an empty studio or from their respective homes.

Summoners War was released back in 2014, making it pretty old in the mobile gaming world. How do you ensure the game remains popular after all that time? And what challenges have you faced when trying to keep the game relevant?

I would say that effort and passion for the game has been the driving force for keeping the game relevant. The love for game coming from not only our users but our developers as well. Due to that the developers are constantly working hard to improve the game and keep the experience fun and exciting.

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What would you say are the key requirements for a successful mobile esport?

I believe having the right competitive ecosystem is a necessity for the success of any esport. At the end of the day the competitors are the lifeblood of the esport.

Mobile esports competitions are quickly growing in popularity. How do you see that changing the industry as a whole and the way you specifically approach games?

I hope to see more and more mobile titles explore the esports side of things and hope to see more and more competition-focused mobile games be developed. I look forward to seeing this space grow as competition always breeds innovation.

What is the future for the Summoners War franchise beyond the world of esports?

We are continuing to expand on our existing universe through different media such as animation, comics and additional games. Especially, many teams are busy creating and preparing for the upcoming title, Summoners War: Chronicles. We can’t wait to share more updates with you soon and hope our fans are excited for what the future holds for Summoners War!