The massively popular fantasy Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG), ie Jagex’s RuneScape Mobile was released exactly one year ago this month. Since then the game has gone from strength to strength, receiving fairly positive reviews from critics and fans alike. We at GamingonPhone sat with the team leads of Runescape Mobile namely Emma Hall (Lead Developer) and Matt Casey (Product Director) for an interview on the game’s journey throughout the past year and its upcoming future goals.
What has surprised you the most about the player base on mobile versus on PC?
Emma: Honestly what’s surprised me the most is how similar they can be. Playing an MMO or any game on a mobile device compared to on a desktop has inherent challenges, in the same way, that I can’t play FPS games on a console, but I’m passable on a desktop.
Yet even with these challenges, you see our players completing some of the highest-level content we have available. You’ll frequently see screenshots of people killing our top-tier bosses. I already knew that our player base was up for a challenge, but they consistently surprise me.
Are there things mobile players spend more time on in the world of Gielinor than PC players do?
Emma: They get into more of the AFK, laid-back style gameplay that we have available. Your fishing, woodcutting, archaeology, and so on. RuneScape has always been the game that you can have on your second screen, as you can play chunks of it pretty easily whilst doing other things. In this way, moving the game to mobile really resonated with our players, as it definitely lends itself more to that style of gameplay.
Are you considering adding more auto or idle systems for mobile players, or what is your stance on that?
Emma: It’s an interesting idea. RuneScape does have light idle-like mechanics. We call it AFK or away from keyboard mechanics. However, it is important these mechanics work equally as well on a desktop. One of our big goals with RS on mobile was to make sure that it had as much parity with the game on desktop as possible.
Can you reveal anything about what’s next for Runescape on mobile?
Matt: We still have lots of improvements to make to the mobile user experience which will help with the usability of interfaces, text legibility, and other general quality of life fixes. We are improving the technology for how players can use the mobile version of the game to stay connected to RuneScape.
For example, a suite of notification options for in-game events like ‘Your farming trees finished growing’ or ‘Your items sold on the Grand Exchange’ would be helpful to players and add another dimension to the convenience and accessibility of having the game in your pocket. More broadly, we are looking into ways we introduce RuneScape to new audiences through related genre products that feature the world of Gielinor as part of the expanding RuneScape franchise.
What is your opinion on the success of Runescape where many other mobile MMORPGs fail?
Emma: In general, I think RuneScape has a huge nostalgia factor for a lot of people, and the great thing about it is that you can come back to the game after 6 months, a year, 10 years, and find a whole world that still feels familiar. The content doesn’t go away. If you were fishing lobster 1 year ago, you can still fish lobster now.
Even down to the stories. We have huge, epic storylines that were starting to be developed five years ago but are finally coming to fruition now. You come back to RuneScape, and you’ll always find something that you understand and remember.
For mobile specifically, you have that ease of how RuneScape can be played whilst not giving it your full attention. You can be working, looking after your family, reading, whatever, and still engage with the game at the same time. Looking back now, it seems to me that RuneScape was made to one day be played on a mobile device. It’s at home there.
Matt: The cross-play capability is definitely a key factor in the success of RuneScape mobile. We knew this would be super challenging. We have taken 20 years’ worth of content of a full-blown desktop MMORPG and packed the whole thing into a mobile game. We did it this way because ultimately this is what our players wanted; not a cut-down ‘lite’ version or spin-off, but the whole thing. This is a very different approach driven by our obsession with our community and helped along with great support from our platform partners to create a unique and amazing mobile game.
Did you find this Runescape Mobile interview insightful post its 1st anniversary? Let us know in the comments below!