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Guild of Guardians debuts as Web3 hybrid mobile RPG on app stores

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Immutable Games is launching its mobile role-playing game Guild of Guardians on Google Play and the Apple App Store today.

The title is a roguelite squad mobile RPG set in a rich world on the brink of destruction. The Web3/Web2 hybrid game has been in the works for years and the mobile version has been in testing for months.

It’s a high-profile game that the Web3 community has so far lacked. Through high-quality gameplay, mechanics, and a sustainable rewards system, Immutable Games hopes Guild of Guardians will attract a loyal contributing community and become an epic Web3 mobile gaming experience.

Lots of anticipation

Gameplay for Guild of Guardians.

Now Immutable Games is launching the title with a new suite of features. It includes a leaderboard event featuring challenges and $1 million in prizes. A million players are pre-registered for Guild of Guardians, and the game will have a decent marketing budget. The game already has 400,000 followers on social.

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Sydney, Australia-based Immutable Games previously launched its Gods Unchained Web3 trading card game on mobile in February on both Google Play and Apple’s App Store. The PC version of Gods Unchained launched earlier.

Now, after nearly four years, Immutable Games is launching Guild of Guardians. Back in April, Immutable Games launched Dread Awakening, a crossover between Guild of Guardians and Gods Unchained, exposing Gods Unchained players to the Guild of Guardians universe.

Ahead of the launch, the Guild of Guardians NFT collection became the top-traded collection, with a volume of $500,000 in the past day and a floor price of $121 (up from $45 much earlier) and a market cap of $149 million. The game is launching on Immutable zkEVM, an Ethereum scaling network.

Guild of Guardians is also a hybrid Web3/Web2 game. The Web2 features, including traditional credit card payments and free-to-play gameplay where players are not required to pay. Off the app stores, on Immutable’s own website, players can take advantage of advanced Web3 features, said Chris Clay, game director for Guild of Guardians, in an interview with GamesBeat.

Chris Clay is game director for Guild of Guardians.

“We’ve been trying get this thing together and out the door. But here we are. It’s been a good journey,” Clay said.

Developed in partnership with the studio, Mineloader, known for co-developing and working on some of the world’s biggest triple-A titles (The Division 2, The Last of Us Part I, and Final Fantasy VII Remake), Guild of Guardians brings an ambitious and transformative vision of what a mobile gaming experience can be, the company said. Clay said the title was built for live operations and expansion for years to come.

So far, Guild of Guardians boasts one of the highest player counts among games in its genre and it has already earned a 4.9/5 rating in the Apple App Store following a limited regional access launch in Canada. In that time, players played for 19,262,402 minutes.

Hands-on gameplay

Off to the dungeon.

Guild of Guardians has players venture into Elderym, a fantastic world on the brink of destruction at the hands of a corruption known as the Dread. As the world’s last hope for salvation, players must assemble a team of Guardians to embark on an epic adventure to conquer the darkness and emerge victorious.

The story mode has a cycle. You play through it on a normal level and then it gets harder. You repeat the cycle and the difficulty goes up and the rewards go up. Your Commander level goes up over time, and you’ll be able to sweep through dungeons more easily over time. There’s a new system where you can take gear and fuse it together, taking something like three helmets at the Rare level and taking them up to the Epic level. Over time, Clay hopes the best players will engage in esports.

When you select a dungeon, you’ll get recommendations for what it takes to beat the dunegone. You select your guardians and then launch them into the dungeon. The graphics are 2.5D isometric and they are fast and beautiful. You start with just a couple oof Guardians and later can take as many as 10 into the dungeon with you.

As they fight, Guardians earn “ability energy,” which shows up under the yellow bar. The green bar indicates health. Your support Guardian can heal another Guardian when the unit’s health gets too low. When the ability hits the max, the card inflates and then you can tap the character icon to use the ability and do extra damage. Then you rinse and repeat and you won’t die as much anymore. There are a half-dozen different attributes that you can level up over the course of the game.

In story mode, players level up their Guardians’ core resources. If you beat the dungeon in adventure mode, it unlocks some short challenge dungeons. You can spend energy to get resources in a dungeon without having to do a full run. You can use energy for crafting. In a couple of weeks, the Ascension Energy will be introduced and that will add Web3 elements via Immutable’s own web site. You can use that to convert your Guardians into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that you can sell later if you wish. You are not required to do this if you just want to play the free-to-play version. But the Web3 rewards are bigger.

I’ve played a test version of the game for days and I find it to be quite fun. You build up your team of Guardians and take them into the dungeons to fight. As they fight, the characters build up the special powers and you have to unleash them at the right time to dispatch the enemies faster. I’ve beaten a few bosses and leveled up my characters and used the rewards for doing that. The fights are mostly automated, but the game demands your attention when you’re deciding when to unleash your powers. In that way, you have to pay attention when you’re playing. It’s not an autopilot game.

It took some hours to level up the characters where they could beat the bosses and make it through the levels. I’ve gotten through a couple of dungeons. I had previously played through a “beautiful corner” test with Clay helping me out. Now the enemies are including Elites and Bosses. Overall, there are four dungeons in the story. Since the beautiful corner test, multiple levels of difficulty have been added. It’s a joyful thing when you grind through the game and you start blazing through the fights more easily.

As players advance through dungeons and face bosses, they will have a chance to earn rewards as part of the Act 1 global launch event, Age of the Dread – the game’s first leaderboard event, featuring intense gameplay and epic challenges like the Arena & Boss Rush competitions.

You select your team of fighters for Guild of Guardians.

To set yourself up for Web3, you first open and start playing Guild of Guardians. You will be prompted to create an account using Immutable Passport. Immutable Passport is a non-custodial wallet and authentication solution that streamlines user onboarding through passwordless sign-on and automated wallet creation. With a single Passport login you’ll be able to play across multiple games built on Immutable and access multiple marketplaces where you can buy and sell in-game assets.

If you link your Immutable Passport or a MetaMask wallet to the game, and then login, your assets you have purchased will show up in your vault, which lets you pull Guardians into the active game. Players can essentially increase the power of their Guardians this way. There are Boss Rush battles where you have to try to do the most damage to a boss in two minutes before your Guardians die. The top players on the leaderboard will have a chance to win valuable prizes. So far, tests have shown that players who engage with the Web3 part of the game will stick with the game longer and earn more rewards.

Prizes and more story acts on the way

Guild of Guardians has 400,000 followers on social.

Players will have the opportunity to compete for prizes valued at up to $1 million in $GOG token, along with exclusive rewards, like founder NFTs and Ascendant Seals.

“We are so excited to finally bring Guild of Guardians to millions of players worldwide – this launch is the culmination of years of development and community building, and we can’t wait to show players a mobile game with dynamic gameplay, intuitive mechanics and a sustainable rewards system. With our first global leaderboard event, Age of the Dread, players can earn real rewards for their skills and strategy in this first global chapter of Guild of Guardians’ launch,” said chief studio officer for Immutable Games, Justin Hulog, in a statement. “GOG is a game driven by players and fully places ownership at their fingertips – a rare and notable achievement for any web3 game, especially one on mobile.”

Act 1, “The Dread is Here”, is the first of three and marks the beginning of the game’s global launch roadmap, showcasing exciting new game features, including the first PvP experiences, new guilds, boss rush and arena competitions, new Guardian powers and progression, Radiant Seals and leaderboards.

Act 1 will also see the inclusion of a suite of bug fixes, patches and UX improvements alongside the additional modes and content. Act 2 Guardians Unite and Act 3 Divine Beasts Emerge, set for the coming months, will build upon these debut elements with new social gameplay mechanics, guild raids, guild crafting, the unleashing of creatures and pets, and exciting new modes and web3 features.

“As Guild of Guardians goes live across the globe today, a new chapter in this epic journey will begin,” Clay said. “The team is so incredibly excited to share what we’ve built and to showcase the power of Immutable Passport and Immutable zkEVM. The past fifteen months of development have been a whirlwind of laying the foundation for a game and universe we’ve only just begun building upon. With the combined talent of the teams at Immutable and Mineloader we’ve crafted a world and game engine that is built for live operations and to be expanded on for years to come.”

Clay joined the project about 16 months ago and he previously led the development of Gods Unchained and Magic: the Gathering Arena. Guild of Guardians is supported by an experienced team heralding from triple-A game studios like Riot, Activision, Square Enix and Bandai Namco.

Your dungeon path.

Priya Keshyap, formerly of Animoca Brands, was recently tapped as Guild of Guardians executive producer to support the global launch and subsequently lead operations, overseeing all efforts related to game development and ecosystem growth.

“As we progress into live operations, our strategy is clear: to continually test and refine these exciting features, ensuring that our game remains engaging and enjoyable for our current player base while attracting a steady influx of new adventurers to keep our players engaged and retained. We are working hard for our players to experience the evolution of our game as we continuously innovate and engage players, making each act a milestone in our immersive adventure,” said Keshyap, in a statement.

To celebrate the mobile release of the game, Guild of Guardians will host a virtual, global launch event on 15 May 15 at 10:30 a.m. local Sydney time (5:30 p.m. Pacific on May 14). The event will begin with the debut of the game’s cinematic launch trailer, followed by a behind-the-scenes look at the making of GOG with an AMA featuring Immutable Games and Mineloader.

A long journey to Web3/Web2 hybrid

Guild of Guardians has pretty environment art.

Overall, development lasted almost four years. But Clay came in about 16 months ago and rebooted the game. Clay talked regularly with the community and at first some wanted him fired. Now the feedback is more positive, he said.

“It’s definitely been a crazy journey,” Clay said.

The original plan was for the tokens to be fully integrated in the app, but both Apple and Google declined to allow that. (They’re not keep on direct token integrations, or on purchasing methods that take you out of the app store to another Immutable store where people make purchases that circumvent the 30% fees for the app stores). Apple and Google want their cut.

Immutable Games can still sell tokens (Web3 sales of the Guardians and banners) outside of the app stores, but they can’t talk about that inside the app store game itself. The Ascension Energy is a compromise. In the app, you can buy Ascension Energy. It’s more expensive if you buy it in the app. If the Ascension Energy is purchased in-app, Google gets its cut. After that happens, Immutable Games uses that to buy $GOG tokens off the open market and then redistributes it as staking rewards.

“We’re still integrating it, just with more steps to being compliant,” he said.

The game can’t launch in China, South Korea or Japan due to concerns about restrictions on NFT game sales. There are also restructions in other countries like Russia and Iran. As you might guess, there are geopolitical barriers facing cryptocurrency and NFT-based games.

Still, the launch is going to get a lot of marketing support, Clay said.

“We’ve got a whole bunch of money on the line,” he said. “It will be marketed via guilds like Yield Guild Games, and on traditional channels like Instagram, TikTok, Reddit, Facebook and mobile ads.

Development will continue on the game, and Clay hopes to make good headway on a tutorial for the game.

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