Startup Jumo is taking aim at the multi-billion dollar toys to life category with its new mobile action shooter game, Infinite Arms, which will be supported with a series of exclusive limited edition action figures. This “games to life” franchise is powered by Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4.
“We knew we wanted to create the most graphically intense action game that mobile has ever seen and although at the time UE4 was still in its very early stages, our experience with UE3 helped us to get up and running smoothly,” Keiichi Yano, CEO and co-founder of Jumo, said. “We also share a great relationship with Epic over many years and we knew that team would have something special with UE4.”
The free-to-play game will launch in late summer 2016 for Android and iOS devices and will be playable on Android TV and Apple TV with controller support. It’s the brainchild of a consortium of creative minds who previously developed the Halo franchise, introduced Gitaroo Man to gamers, designed Transformers toys and unleashed the Tamagotchi interactive pet craze.
Jumo’s new toy line combines the physical and digital worlds to create a toy that keeps pace as quickly as the video gaming and consumer tech industries. Jumo’s toys transform traditional toys into interactive entertainment experiences using technology that many consumers already have and are comfortable using.
Yano hopes that what Halo did for shooters on console, Infinite Arms will do for shooters on mobile – with the added bonus of cool toys. Those toys will be released for a limited time over the course of “seasons,” which ties into the collectible nature of gamers. Once a season’s four-month run is over, the action figures will no longer be available at retail. And the look and feel of these large action figures like the four-legged Ixion or the armed-to-the-teeth Skorpos is cool. They also boost moving parts and a functioning chest button that syncs up (via Bluetooth) with a smartphone or tablet.
“The toys connect simply to the game and they just work,” Yano said. “They allow for the fastest setup of your heroes in the game, and also allow players who require that extra edge in terms of strategic options to grow their characters in more varied and powerful ways. And they are just fun to play with!”
Jumo will also release exclusive weapons (called Armaments) like the Polecat, Grunt and Thunderhead on a bi-weekly basis to boost characters’ power in-game. Each figure has four slots to upgrade weapons. While this content will be free to try, once it’s purchased a physical version will be shipped by Amazon to your home. Players can physically add these Armaments to their action figure, and their digital doppelganger will get the bonus power in-game.
“Our deep understanding of interactivity helps us to extend gameplay out of the screen and into the physical space and back again,” Yano said. “Combined with various modes that develop the player’s skill and experience over time, the total package is an entertainment experience like none other.”
Unreal Engine 4 powers the gameplay experience, which focuses on multiplayer combat against opponents in the same room or across the world. The action game allows players to upgrade their characters and weapons as they progress.
Yano said the performance that UE4 provides and the efficiency of the development environment allow for both the meta and the in-game experiences to have lots of depth and content.
“High performance opens up gameplay possibilities like real-time multiplayer matches and expansive maps with lots of characters,” Yano said. “It just allows for more options, which as game developers, we like.”
Jumo has used everything from Blueprints and Sequencer to Cascade and UMG in designing the mobile game, which will constantly evolve and update with new content, characters and weapons post-launch.
“Unreal Engine defines a workflow that if followed will provide the maximum utilization of the engine,” Yano said. “This means that the size of the team has to match that and can be rather large compared to a typical mobile development team if you are creating a 3D experience. However without UE4, it might’ve taken much longer to get to where we are at given our goals.”
Jumo’s game was designed for a mobile-first world. The toys and games interact with each other using existing mobile phone technology with no new hardware to buy, which allows players to focus on collecting the action figures and Armaments.
With both its gameplay experience and its higher-end action figures, Yano said Jumo is targeting multiple generations of players. With Activision’s Skylanders and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s LEGO Dimensions focusing on the kids market, Yano said it made sense for his company to skew older, aiming for teens and young adults, as well as die hard toy fans and collectors as its core audience.
“Kids will now have something new they can graduate into instead of altogether leaving the toys-to-life segment when they outgrow the current generation of products,” Yano said. “Our solution combines console-level graphics powered by Unreal Engine 4, deep interactivity and a rich world to stage a Mature-themed experience.”
For more information on Infinite Arms, head online to Infinite-Arms.com.