Easily the most recognizable brand on the Apple iOS app store as well as Android marketplace, Angry Birds has become near-synonymous with smart-phone (and tablet) gaming. While countless other titles have offered unique gameplay experiences (based primarily on touch interfaces) for multi-purpose consumer devices, Angry Birds is one of the only series to make the jump into high-profit branding – with stuffed animals, t-shirts, and even an animated TV show on the way.
Conversely, Angry Birds has also found opportunity for synergy with other franchise tie-ins – offering a Rio spin-off title in 2011. Now, Rovio is partnering with one of the largest entertainment brands in the world, readying an all new game – Angry Birds: Star Wars.
The Star Wars spin-off isn’t expected to depart much from the original Angry Birds experience – outside of the obvious addition of bird/pig riffs on Star Wars characters and locations. Surely, Rovio will include some interesting twists, to help change-up the gameplay a bit, but overall players shouldn’t expect a major overhaul.
Angry Birds: Star Wars will release on November 8th, and while details are still coming in, we do know that the Millennium Falcon’s laser cannon has been replaced with the traditional Angry Birds slingshot – plus Tatooine and a pig-themed Death Star are confirmed as levels (with further locations in development).
In addition players can also look to the character guide below for an indication of which fan-favorite rebels line-up with which bird (and their respective game mechanics). Obviously, their could be Star Wars variations in the gameplay but those familiar with the original (and the Seasons spin-off) should expect the birds to retain similar core functionality:
The revealed characters so far include:
- Red (the Red Bird) – Luke Skywalker – Basic
- Stella (the Pink Bird) – Princess Leia – Disruptive Bubble Effect
- Bomb (the Black Bird) – Obi-Wan Kenobi – High Damage Explosive
- Chuck (the Yellow Bird) – Han Solo - Double Tab for Power Boost
- Terence (Big Brother) – Chewbacca – High Damage Wrecking Ball
- Matilda (the White Bird) – C-3PO – Lays Explosive R2-D2 “Bombs.”
- King Pig – Darth Vader
- Pigs – Imperial Soldiers
Along with the announcement of Angry Birds: Star Wars, Rovio has also revealed a full line of toys including stuffed animal versions of all the major Angry Bird/Star Wars characters as well as themed Jenga puzzles and other tie-ins. It’s hard to imagine that the partnership will not be extremely profitable, even with Star Wars fans rolling their eyes. As a result, it’s likely that we’ll see plenty of future team-ups between the brands – especially as Rovio continues in its efforts to position Angry Birds as one of the most recognizable franchises across several markets (gaming, toys, apparel, and cinema).
Of course, Rovio also has to be careful – as they do risk overwhelming consumers with too many offerings. After years of relying heavily on Angry Birds as well as the companion game, Angry Birds: Seasons, Rovio recently released a pair of retooled gameplay experiences – Angry Birds: Space (same concept but with significantly altered physics) as well as Bad Piggies (where players help the pig evildoers build crazy contraptions). So far, the games have all been well-received but, for many gamers who are playing Angry Birds in small doses, the amount of Rovio games on the market is starting to get daunting – not to mention some players have already tired of the gameplay premise altogether.
That said, even if Rovio dilutes support of the brand across too many entries in a short amount of time, a Star Wars tie-in also helps the developer cement Angry Birds in non-game branding. Obviously Rovio will continue to pump out video games but they’re investing heavily in a future for the franchise outside of the game industry.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick.
Angry Birds: Star Wars will be available November 8th for Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, and Windows Phone.
Source: Pocket Gamer