Free-to-play game developer and publisher Glu Mobile has released James Bond: World of Espionage, the company’s first true strategy RPG on mobile devices. The game was created in partnership with MGM Interactive and EON Productions (the Broccoli/Wilson family-owned company which produces the James Bond films), and sees players taking on the role of ‘M’ as they become the head of the MI6 headquarters in London and complete missions around the world.
Rather than a shooter or action title, James Bond: World of Espionage is a photo-realistic text and menu-based game. In an interview with SocialTimes, Glu CEO Niccolo de Masi explained the inspiration behind the game’s design:
The direction of the movies has moved in a far more cerebral direction, with a deeper narrative structure, a more traditional novel-based treatment of the franchise. The Broccoli/Wilson family feel that them effectively going back to the roots of the franchise and recasting not only the lead, but also many other elements of how this franchise is built out, has led to the greater success they’ve had with movies like Skyfall, that have set new records at the box office. They believe it’s the right direction to go in; we agree with them. We think it’s the right direction for the Bond franchise, which has gotten effectively deeper and more serious in many ways than certain prior iterations of it.
The other thing that’s important to recognize is that on mobile, the RTS/RPG genre dominates the top-grossing charts. Role-playing games, strategy games are perfect for phones and tablets, where you are tapping, you are playing your game possibly between meetings, at your lunch break, after work—but it doesn’t require you to sit in your console gamer chair … It’s not as skill based—it’s brain power, as opposed to twitch power.
We think that the genre does so well because it’s effectively aligned with what phones and tablets naturally do well. You want to be clicking on buttons, you don’t want to be playing a twitch game necessarily. The reason why there’s been many and higher grossing RTS/RPG games than shooters, we think is because of the fact that the genre does better on these platforms intrinsically.
In James Bond: World of Espionage, players spend a limited amount of rechargeable energy to complete missions, with each mission broken into multiple steps. Each individual step requires energy to undertake, and players will need to complete missions more than once to earn the necessary ‘intel’ to take out dangerous criminals around the world. Players can wait for their energy to recharge automatically over time, or can purchase additional energy instantly with premium currency.
As players complete individual mission steps, their overall agency earns experience points and will level up over time. Upon leveling up, players earn attribute points which can be spent to increase their maximum energy cap, their offense and defense stats and more.
Outside of story-based single-player missions, gamers can join an alliance with other players, or take their agency into one-on-one duels against other players. These duels require stamina, a separate kind of energy, to complete, and see gamers working to drain their enemy’s health without losing all of their own. Gamers can also upgrade their stamina and health via attribute points. On top of one-on-one duels, players can compete in ‘espionage’ conflict events, which are similar to duels, but brings alliance members in as allies.
Stamina can also be spent in timed villain duels against characters including Dr. No, Dorian Reid and many others. Players can take out villains on their own, or invite other players to help them. However, if players invite other gamers to help them, the duel’s rewards will be distributed based on each player’s contribution during the battle.
Additional social features include timed alliance wars, which allow alliances to compete against other agency bases. Gamers can also publicly chat with other players in real time.
While players begin with a single agent team member to complete the game’s duels, missions and alliance wars, gamers can expand this team to hold up to five agents by completing specific missions, or completing specific tasks within the game. Each team slot provides a different boost to the agent assigned to it. Players can collect additional agents by completing missions, or by purchasing them with currency. Duplicate agents can be combined to increase their rank, while special ‘enhancer’ objects allow users to combine two agents in an evolution process.
Finally, players can purchase new gear items for their agents (which take time to deliver), and can build their own facilities which produce currency automatically over time.
While inspired by the entire James Bond universe, James Bond: World of Espionage doesn’t directly connect to the many films in the franchise, but instead exists as a compliment to them, with its own unique storyline and over 100 actors cast in the game’s photo-realistic roles for agents and villains.
de Masi commented:
What we’ve done here is very ambitious and very ground-breaking. We’ve effectively created a new interactive experience for Bond fans around the world, with its own narrative, it’s own story, it’s own characters. Like a TV series that could run alongside a movie series, this is an interactive MMO that could sit alongside multiple launches of the movie. It’s something that we’re tremendously proud of—the Broccoli/Wilson family and MGM are as well—and we think it will get tremendous critical acclaim once people fully see the depth of the vision.
Glu expects James Bond: World of Espionage to be a success, and is prepared to support the game as a multi-year project going forward.
de Masi added:
We have worked at this for over two years. It’s a unique property; it’s a unique brand—never been done before. We’re breaking new ground. It’s a strategy game unlike anything else in the [app] store, both mechanic-wise and visually. We believe that it will be successful; it’s a multi-year partnership that we’ve struck [with EON Productions].
We recognize that the strategy genre often grows more slowly than other game genres we’re in, so we’re expecting to see the game grow quarter-over-quarter, as opposed to having a quick peak and then decline … Our intent here is to do something unique out of the gates and then build on that for the next few years.