Courtesy of Kabam Games, Inc. and Gurobal Games, Inc.

King Arthur: Legends Rise leverages UE5 for future release on mobile and PC

Mike Williams
Kabam is a world leader in developing entertaining, immersive, and highly social multiplayer games, bringing high-quality graphics, next-generation technology, and revolutionary gameplay to players around the world.

Kabam’s games, Marvel Contest of Champions, King Arthur: Legends Rise, Shop Titans, and Disney Mirrorverse have generated hundreds of millions of downloads and have received multiple awards including Apple’s Editor’s Choice and Google Play’s Best Game of the Year.

Founded in 2006, Kabam has studios and offices in North America, including Vancouver and Montreal in Canada, and Los Angeles and San Francisco in the United States as well as Seoul, Korea. Kabam is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Netmarble Games.
A sword in the stone. The Knights of the Round Table. Merlin. Lancelot. Guinevere. King Arthur. These are all aspects of the Arthurian legend. Part history and part fantasy, the story of King Arthur has been told and retold since the 12th century.

Fresh of its work on games like Marvel Contest of Champions and Disney Mirrorverse, Kabam is looking to forge a unique directory through the Arthurian myths. King Arthur: Legends Rise is turn-based RPG that reimagines King Arthur and his world with a dark, high fantasy turn. Arthur and his Knights will fight the forces of darkness across battlefields with dynamic weather effects and destructible environments that will force players to change up their tactics.

In addition to telling this unique story, Kabam will be launching King Arthur: Legends Rise on iOS, Android, and Steam simultaneously, with cross-play available for all three platforms. We talked to the publisher about the upcoming release, defining their own version of King Arthur’s legend, and how Unreal Engine 5 will help them launch the game on mobile and PC.

Can you tell us what King Arthur: Legends Rise is about? 

Nick Anderson, Head of Publishing:
King Arthur: Legends Rise is a cinematic, turn-based, squad-based, role-playing game taking you through a reimagined Medieval Britain. The game features an immersive story featuring tragedy, triumph, and humor amidst a backdrop with beautifully crafted cutscenes, set pieces, and dialogue. 

The story takes place in a wartorn Camelot, where King Uther has been slain by the ruthless King Lot in his quest to rule Britain. As the secret heir to the throne, Arthur has been living unaware of his true parentage, but now takes on the desperate attempt to save Camelot. As part of this, Arthur makes a dark pact with the ancient dragon Caliburn to wield the power of the dragon trapped within the iconic Excalibur sword. Arthur then forces King Lot to retreat in a violent battle, but must now fight to reunite his realm and defeat King Lot and the dark powers he serves once and for all.
Courtesy of Kabam Games, Inc. and Gurobal Games, Inc.

Players can explore a multitude of environments filled with fun interactive elements and discover more about the world we have built. Combat is strategic and dynamic, allowing players to build teams, execute combo attacks, and exploit enemy weaknesses. Our unique Relics system adds a layer of customization, encouraging players to adapt characters to their play style. With various game modes, the game promises a compelling and diverse gaming experience that will surprise and delight veterans and newcomers alike.

Kabam has studios all around the world. Can you tell us about the studios behind King Arthur: Legends Rise?

King Arthur: Legends Rise is a collaborative project being developed by three distinct studios. Kabam Vancouver, known for their work on Marvel Contest of Champions and Disney Mirrorverse, is handling the product, infrastructure, and marketing aspects of the game. Kabam Los Angeles is responsible for publishing and localization, in addition to contributing to marketing. Lastly, the development of the game is being carried out by Kabam Seoul, also known as Gurobal Games.
Kabam as a whole has worked on several licensed mobile titles, including Marvel Contest of Champions and Disney Mirrorverse. How did your work on those previous games influence the development of King Arthur: Legends Rise?

Tyler Black, Vice President of Product:
The collaboration between our studios for King Arthur: Legends Rise has been a real success story. We have been able to combine our experience of the global audience, lessons learned from our past projects, track record of high quality titles, and adoption of new technologies to create something that we think is pretty special. Our experience working with top brands like Marvel and Disney has reinforced our high quality bar when creating our own story with King Arthur.

After working on several licensed games, why did it make sense to create an original title inspired by the legend of King Arthur? 

Kabam has a great track record of respecting a licensor’s IP and honoring it with great gameplay. We want to evolve as a company, not by abandoning what made us great, but by learning from it and applying it to our own attempt to expand into creating IP. An original take on something familiar, like the Arthurian legend, is a natural evolutionary step for us as a creative company.
Courtesy of Kabam Games, Inc. and Gurobal Games, Inc.

The Arthurian myth has had a score of different iterations since its creation. Can you talk about the process of landing on the specific style of characters and world found in King Arthur: Legends Rise?

The story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table is well-known globally. What many people do not know is that there is not just one telling! This, for us, was a great opportunity to create a mark upon history and bring various aspects of these stories together for a unique story which will surprise and delight fans and welcome in a new generation. We have added much to this story which we think many will not expect.
Can you elaborate on how the game’s turn-based combat system works?

The turn-based combat system in King Arthur: Legends Rise is governed by three main mechanics: the Attack Gauge, the Vigor Gauge, and Elemental Affinity.

The Attack Gauge is a key determinant of the attack order in battles. Players have the ability to manipulate this gauge using various skills, allowing them to increase or decrease their own or their enemies' attack gauge. This strategic element enables players to control the pace of the battle.

The Vigor Gauge is a shared resource among party members, used for executing special skills and abilities. This gauge is replenished as players defeat enemies or perform specific actions, adding another layer of strategy to the gameplay.

Lastly, Elemental Affinity plays a crucial role in the game. Each hero and opponent is assigned an element, and understanding the advantages one element has over another can significantly maximize damage output. Therefore, it's important for players to be mindful of these affinities when planning their strategies.
Courtesy of Kabam Games, Inc. and Gurobal Games, Inc.

Were there any games that inspired the creation of King Arthur: Legends Rise?

The creation of King Arthur: Legends Rise has been significantly influenced by both the games of our childhood and contemporary titles. We've drawn inspiration from a variety of games, including classics like Final Fantasy, Diablo, and Dragon Quest, as well as more recent titles like Divinity and Mass Effect.

These games have not only shaped our gaming experiences, but also our understanding of what makes a game truly engaging. They've underscored the importance of presentation, narrative, and a detailed, fun combat experience. These elements have been key influences in the development of King Arthur: Legends Rise, as we strive to create a game that offers a rich, immersive, and enjoyable experience for our players.
Courtesy of Kabam Games, Inc. and Gurobal Games, Inc.

Given that King Arthur: Legends Rise has both PvE and PvP gameplay, can you explain how you handle character and player balance? 

In two words: very carefully. In the creation of our characters, we are thoughtful to ensure that each character provides utility in a range of contexts and can be customized to taste through interacting with our Relic Weapons—which change elemental affinity—and Gear systems, which enable players to tweak their characters to perfection for the situation they want to use them in.
Courtesy of Kabam Games, Inc. and Gurobal Games, Inc.

The game looks like it will have very wild creature/enemy designs. Can you talk about your goals on that front?

The goal here was simple: to surprise and delight our audience. To bring that home, we are telling a new tale of King Arthur, we wanted to introduce fantastical elements which had never been seen before. As the players experience our story and content, we hope that at each session, they will be curious and excited to see what is coming next.
Courtesy of Kabam Games, Inc. and Gurobal Games, Inc.

King Arthur: Legends Rise features a dynamic weather system. Can you talk about how dynamic weather affects combat? 

One of the unique aspects of King Arthur: Legends Rise is the dynamic weather system and how it influences combat. Each character in the game has a certain affinity for specific conditions or times of day. For instance, our lead character, Arthur, performs at his best during the day, gaining notable stat boosts.

However, the game doesn't always align battles with a character's preferred conditions. Imagine a scenario where a battle begins at night, which isn't ideal for Arthur. But here's where it gets interesting: an ally can execute a skill that can turn night into day. This not only benefits him, but also his allies who share the same affinity, allowing them to capitalize on their strengths.

But it's not all smooth sailing. The enemies can also leverage these transformed conditions to their advantage. This adds a layer of complexity and strategy to the game, making each battle a unique experience.
Courtesy of Kabam Games, Inc. and Gurobal Games, Inc.

You’ve done several games for mobile and web platforms, but King Arthur: Legends Rise is planned for release on iOS, Android, and Steam. How does the additional platform change how you approach the game’s development? 

As you point out, we already have experience with Shop Titans on Steam, and the difference here is the simultaneous launch on multiple platforms. This means some dedicated resources for integration and quality control on each platform earlier in our development process. It means baking in multi-platform tools and measurements all at once. We do not have the luxury of saying “we can solve that later,” so it takes some extra diligence in project management and planning to make sure we are hitting the coordinated release date while not cutting any corners when it comes to quality.
Can you provide your thoughts on using Unreal Engine to develop a PC/mobile crossplatform game?

It has been excellent in getting us to the point of rapid testing and integration. We can use a unified set of tools, which limits where things can go wrong in the process to build for each target platform.

Why was Unreal Engine 5 the right choice for King Arthur: Legends Rise?

Our choice to use Unreal Engine 5 for our game development is driven by its extensive capabilities for creating high-quality graphics and animations, not only for PC but for mobile platforms as well. Powerful engine capability has allowed us to craft an engaging game with rich medieval settings and fantastical elements.
On the productivity side, the engine's user-friendly interface and comprehensive suite of tools have greatly increased our efficiency in creating, testing, and refining our game elements. It allows for quick prototyping and iteration, which has accelerated our development process.

Lastly, Unreal Engine 5 has given us the ability to create a crossplay experience between mobile and PC platforms. This means our players can enjoy the game and engage with their friends regardless of the device they use.

In summary, our aim is to provide a visually stunning, engaging, and seamless gaming experience across platforms. And we believe, with Unreal Engine 5, we're well on our way to achieving this.
Courtesy of Kabam Games, Inc. and Gurobal Games, Inc.

This is Kabam’s first Unreal Engine 5 game. How did that affect the development process and what did you learn?

Unreal Engine 5 has had a very positive impact on accelerating our development process and productivity overall. The engine's comprehensive suite of tools and user-friendly interface have significantly increased our creative, testing, and refining efficiencies with game elements, as well as positive impacts on our prototyping and iteration turnarounds.

Were there any other Unreal Engine tools that helped during the development of King Arthur: Legends Rise?

Many of the Unreal Engine’s tools and systems have greatly helped our game development. In particular, with Unreal Engine 5's facial expression systems, we've been able to depict a range of emotions that make our characters more realistic and relatable. Additionally, Unreal Engine 5's robust effects system has allowed us to create stunning visual effects that enhance the immersive experience of our game world. From dynamic weather to spell effects, our game is filled with eye-catching visuals that run smoothly on mobile devices.
Courtesy of Kabam Games, Inc. and Gurobal Games, Inc.

What tips do you have for other developers using Unreal Engine 5 for mobile development?

Understand your audience and their expectations, then get started! Epic is a great partner to collaborate with, so don’t just limit yourself to the platform but use the full service they provide as a development partner.

Thank you for your time, where can people learn more about King Arthur: Legends Rise?

For more information on King Arthur: Legends Rise, you can follow us on our official website or join the conversation with our community on Discord.

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