WWE is featuring fan-favorite wrestlers Triple H, John Cena, Roman Reigns and others in a new free-to-play mobile puzzle and role-playing game, set to launch later this year.
“WWE Champions,” being developed under a pact with mobile-game network startup Scopely, will combine match-three puzzle gameplay a la “Candy Crush” with RPG elements. Players can collect more than 100 different WWE Superstars and Legends characters, and enter the ring to compete in 3D grappling action.
In addition to current stars, legends featured in the game include Andre the Giant, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Sting, the Undertaker and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. “WWE Champions” is currently in in a limited beta test, set to launch worldwide on Android and iOS devices later in 2016.
“Together with Scopely, we’ve planned an expansive slate of mobile gaming content to keep WWE’s passionate fan base engaged,” said Casey Collins, WWE’s exec VP of consumer products.
“WWE Champions” will be the first release from Scopely’s multititle partnership with games studio Kung Fu Factory. Collins said a key aspect of puzzle games is that they appeal broadly across all age ranges and among both men and women.
“First and foremost, we really want to engage our fan base. Giving our fans great games to play on the go is a part of our strategy,” said Collins. “These mobile games also are great way to bring in new fans.”
The game is WWE’s third since the company embarked on its mobile-game strategy in late 2014. In August 2014 it launched the “WWE Supercard” collectible card battle game, which has 9.5 million downloads to date. It followed that in January 2015 with “WWE Immortals,” a hand-to-hand combat fighting game with more than 15 million downloads, which uses the game engine from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s “Injustice: Gods Among Us.”
Like the previous titles, “WWE Champions” will have a freemium model: The game will offer players in-app purchases, such as for card packs or power-ups for their Superstars or Legends.
Collins said WWE was impressed by Scopely’s string of No. 1 hits in the mobile game space. “We are definitely trying to work with blue-chip partners,” he said.
Scopely’s top two hits in 2015 were “The Walking Dead: Road to Survival,” developed in partnership with Robert Kirkman and his Skybound Entertainment, and “Yahtzee With Buddies,” in partnership with Hasbro. Overall, the privately held company says it had a revenue run rate of more than $200 million in 2015.
Founded in 2011, L.A.-based Scopely has raised $35 million in Series A financing led by Evolution Media Partners and Highland Capital Partners.