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Among the domestic stand-alone games launched in 2023, “Bang Wing: Chaos Effect” (hereinafter referred to as “Bang Wing”) is the one that I remember the most. The authorized content of the classic fighting IP “Blue Wings”, outstanding action gameplay and innovative integration of Roguelike mode make this product quite recognizable.

And just today (January 31), the game finally ended the EA (Early Access) stage and became the official version.

It is reported that the official version will not only launch 10 characters, implement all plot content, but also make comprehensive adjustments to the existing system. Contents that players often comment on, such as the “Chaos Value System” and “Outside Development”, will all undergo a centralized renovation. More importantly, after completing the overall optimization of the game, the team will be free to further expand subsequent new content.

We have previously done a lot of reporting on “Bang Wings” and its development team 91Act, and also had two long talks with the game’s producer and director (Jiang Lei). Now I am still a little surprised to see my old friend complete the expected plan and polish the product form to perfection in just half a year.

How did this once pioneering mobile game manufacturer become a “positive case” for the stand-alone buyout system overnight? How can a team named ACT develop its own characteristics in a category that is more difficult to develop, such as “action games”?

Now that the official version is online, we might as well talk about this product again.

From mobile games to “positive cases of buyout system”: Is the middle road easy to walk?

In the summer of 2022, Game Gyro conducted an in-depth interview with the factory director. At that time, the expectation for the product was still a “mobile game.”

At that time, I was also relatively optimistic about the prospects of “Blue Wings”: on the one hand, the company had opened the ACT channel on the mobile terminal with “Blade of Blue Wings” very early, and had deep R&D accumulation; on the other hand, the company and Arc System Works and other Japanese manufacturers have good cooperative relationships and can open up the market with well-known Japanese IP. Moreover, the game has received good reviews in the mobile terminal test at that time. I believe that with proper publicity and operation, “Bang Wing” has a good chance of making a mark.

Expectations for the game on platforms such as TapTap and Haoyou Kuaibao are still high.

As a result, when I met the director again at ChinaJoy in 2023, he told me that “Blue Wings” will be changed to a single-player buyout business model, and the EA version will be logged on to the Steam platform first. The key is that there is no pre-announcement, the product will be launched at the speed of light!

You can imagine how surprised I was.

Out of personal interest, I often communicate with friends who develop and publish independent games and stand-alone games. Compared with mobile games, they are basically a different style of play. I suddenly gave up my mobile experience and transformed directly into a stand-alone buyout product. Although I admired it, I was also full of doubts – could such a sharp turn really be successful?

Of course, when we talked about it again, I slowly clarified the team’s choice.

During early mobile testing, 91Act had actually been receiving requests from players regarding the buyout system. The team was very touched by this and collected and analyzed a lot of relevant feedback. They found that what players are actually worried about is not the choice of business model, but the hope that the finished product of “Blue Wings” can have a complete high-quality expression, rather than being reduced to a long-term harvest of card drawing and numerical development-that would be a waste of the hard work of building the game. action frame.

Therefore, this team composed of action game enthusiasts fell into an ideological struggle on the issue of whether “hand-to-hand switching” is needed.

They understand players’ desire for high-quality games, because this is also their own demand, and the gameplay content of the game is also more suitable for the buyout system, so why not give it a try?Ultimately, 91Act is determined to make “Blue Wings” “in line with everyone’s expectations.”

But after completing the EA version, the team encountered problems at the publicity and promotion level. Because of the label of “domestic + meat pigeon + EA”, it has almost caused PTSD among domestic players in the past two years.

On the one hand, the meat pigeon gameplay has been over-exploited. A large number of products that lack design and rely solely on random generation to make time have made players lose interest. On the other hand, some games either ran away or had unsatisfactory finished products after a long EA stage, which also gave players a strong sense of distrust. At this time, “Blue Wings” felt a little uneasy about being the first person.

Fortunately, the follow-up “Blue Wings” bucked the trend and is about to release its official version, allowing many players who were still on the sidelines to buy it into the library with confidence. If you look closely at how it is done, you will find that the game only implements the spirit of Early Access:Steadily advance updates according to the product form promised to players, allowing players to feel the progress of the game and finally reach the target end point.

Since “Blue Wings” was launched in August, the game experience has been reconstructed every month. This update frequency and attitude are actually reassuring enough. More importantly, the team actively collects community voices for tuning, so that each version can address the points that players urgently need to improve in their daily play, thus continuously triggering the fermentation of positive word-of-mouth.

The official response speed is very important

For example, many players reported that the traps in the game were too annoying, that the enemy’s dominance affected combos, and that the chaos value system lacked gains and strategic depth. The team immediately made changes. Not to mention the steady expansion of content updates such as the addition of new characters and new bosses. The successive additions of popular characters from the original IP such as Es, Kisaragi Jean, and Taoer Kaka have greatly expanded the appeal and stability of the product. boosts players’ confidence.

The latest added character “Taoer Kaka”

At present, it seems that “Blue Wings” has achieved good initial results. Player reviews on Steam can be stable at “Specially Positive”, and have reached the highest level of “Rapidly Positive”. Moreover, referring to the recently released 2023 annual national game sales list, “Blue Wings”, which is ranked 14th, is also considered outstanding in terms of commercial performance.

“Blue Wings” actively communicates with players and has completed the EA path in a down-to-earth manner, allowing us to once again see how buyout games should “exchange sincerity for sincerity.” But as a content industry, games, in addition to sincerity, are always focused on the core selling point—whether it’s fun or not. When it comes to gameplay, “Blue Wings” is really unique.

Core competitiveness: the unique experience of “recruiting meat pigeons”

From playing the EA version to now, the highlights of “Blue Wings” are actually very obvious. The exquisite 2D graphic expression and smooth and gorgeous move special effects ensure the game’s appeal. The refined reconstruction of the classic characters of “Blank” has also hit the pain points of fans of the original game.

But when it comes to the biggest competitiveness of “Blue Wings”, I think it is that the game has polished the gameplay concept of “fusion of action and rogue” to a considerable degree of completion. Just as the team expected:It can maximize the “action experience” on the horizontal version of the action pigeon track and achieve a game experience of “super gorgeous action battles and extremely smooth combos”.

The pursuit of “ultimate action experience” is the goal of this game

In fact, after playing some meat pigeon games that focus on action experience, you will find that most products do not dare to add designs that make the operation complicated. Whether it is “Dead Cells” or “Hades”, the difficulty and fun of combat often come from construction choices and timing judgments. The combat experience is very rich, but the operation itself is not complicated.

In contrast, “Blue Wings” really brings back the concept of repeated moves and combos, which greatly improves the refreshing feeling of attacking and the freshness of repeated battles at the cost of increasing a certain amount of operations and learning costs.

First of all, in order to build the depth of the action experience, “Blue Wings” has put a lot of effort into the scale and completion of available characters, which is quite different from games that only have character build differences.

For each character participating in the battle, the team has set up a unique set of action modules and move derivation, and has also deeply polished the combat performance and operating feel. The production cost of a single character has even reached over one million. .The result of such investment is that the game accurately presents the character characteristics of the original FTG gameplay, giving each character a highly recognizable style and mechanism.

For example, Bai Mian, who I like to use very much, does not move very fast. His main attack is a powerful and heavy attack, defensive counterattack, punches, kicks and throwing skills mixed with sword moves. He also uses wide open and close fists to hit the flesh. And beautiful men such as Amber Sound who plays clones and Jean who can make ice are another exquisite style that emphasizes both speed and skill. The initial 10 characters in the official version basically guarantee that players will not be able to fully understand them even if they play for dozens of hours.

The second is the fusion of character actions and meat pigeon elements.

If you only look at the basic operations and moves, “Blue Wings” is not too complicated.But based on the content of more than 200 genre strategies and more than 300 potential moves, the game also designed the finishing touch of “potential combinations”.Not only does it support the depth of action, but it also allows players to have unpredictable changes in their combo ideas in each game.

To put it simply, the game breaks down many actions of a single character into potentials for players to “choose one of three” during the process. These potentials involve actions such as dodging, floating, and charging. Once unlocked, they will directly expand the player’s operations and change the performance of the moves. If the potentials are planned properly, they can also form a “potential combination”, which can then form an extremely powerful combo.

For example, many players want to draw “Purple Lightning” when playing White Face, because just pressing “Down + Sprint” can release the powerful move “One Flash” that can only be used to prevent counterattacks, which is extremely practical. If you focus on this move to extract the potential of three stages of sprinting, multiple stages of flash damage, etc., you can finally form a magical skill that can pass the level and get high scores without brain-repetition. The refreshing feeling of practicing the moves after it is formed will really make people explode with dopamine.

Help me get high scores in a flash!

This kind of design that puts moves into random elements may feel that it limits the free play of experts, but in my opinion there are two main benefits that cannot be ignored.

First, it allows players to have a smooth learning process step by step, so that they will not be in a hurry.

For example, if Λ-No.11- is in the late stage of “Ten Thousand Swords Return to the Sect”, players who are not good at action games may be a little confused. But through your own gradual selection and practice in each large and small level, you can easily master the characteristics of different skills and how to connect moves, and finally smoothly break the BOSS’s dominance and hit high combo numbers. This is why “Blue Wings” is not very difficult to get started despite its depth of operation.

Λ-No.11-’s combo is very gorgeous

The second is the introduction of randomness, which also allows a single character to have a differentiated experience in each round. If I never get the potential I expected, then I have to judge the situation and combine other combos. This allows me to experience different styles of moves that focus on floating, focusing on charging, etc., thereby deepening my understanding of a single character, and keep repeating it. The freshness of the start.

In addition to the diverse move-making experience brought by potential, strategic choices covering seven elements such as electricity, fire, poison, and light fill the last gap in player operations. The release methods of different strategies cover each action. Players can release ice, thunder, flying blade and other attack effects while performing basic attacks and dodges. It’s very interesting to perform combo moves while watching the screen full of special effects flying around to clear the area.

The superposition and upgrade of these strategies have a profound effect on the character’s action presentation from another aspect. Ultimately, “Blue Wings” not only has the awesome flavor of meat pigeon construction, but also can continuously strengthen the player’s space for making moves, and the refreshing feeling brought by the organic integration of gameplay. , allowing the game to form an outstanding barrier among similar products. It’s no wonder that when someone on the forum asked if they could recommend a Rogue game with better action elements, many players said: That would be “Blank Wings”.

The ambitions of this group of “Blue Wing fans” are far from over

Reviewing the choices made along the way of “Blue Wings”, what I see is the team’s confidence and courage formed by the in-depth accumulation of animation genres, and their willingness to take risks and continue to iterate to achieve user expectations. What is even more exciting is the growth potential of 91Act that cannot be ignored.

In my contact with 91Act, I was deeply impressed by the pragmatic side of the team. They knew what the EA version should do, and they did not try to make a big pie but achieved the phased goals as soon as possible. But they have a more pioneering side, daring to adjust the track and try to open up the market with a buyout system. Especially their firm pursuit of gameplay innovation will continue to open up possibilities for “Blue Wings”.

Recently, team members have said that with the launch of the official version, the game will add a multiplayer online gameplay called “Chaos Battlefield”. This gameplay combines the cores of ACT, Rogue and Tarkov. Players will compete in a survival competition with 12 people on the same screen in a large horizontal map. The multiplayer mode is tentatively focused on testing, accounting for about 20% of the entire game. If the response is good, it will be further explored in the future.

Horizontal action multiplayer battle plus in-game resources like “Escape from Tarkov”? As a layman in R&D, when I hear this idea, I instinctively feel that it is a design direction full of challenges. Obviously, the official version is not the end of “Blue Wings”, but the starting point of the next evolutionary goal. 91Act’s creative ambition is still far from complete.

I hope this team, composed of “Blue Wing fans” and full of love for action games, can continue to adhere to their research and development philosophy and deliver answers that players can’t expect. I think I will be able to play Blue Wings for quite some time in the next year.

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