Star Wars Commander is a new real-time strategy game for iOS and Android co-developed with Lucas Film. Set in axonometric view, players can choose to construct iconic Star Wars bases and attack other players by deploying Star Wars heroes and vehicles. During later stages of game development, my team contributed to key decisions and brainstormed concepts for the game’s splash screen key art, faction choice artworks, and was in charge of the creative direction of visual marketing campaigns. Together with my co-worker Paula Windham, and with art direction from Omeed Badri, I provided illustrations for the App icon, App Store screenshots, platform featuring graphics, landing pages, mobile interstitials, and social media channel assets.
Targeting male audiences between the ages 20-40, this mid-core game utilizes three dimensional rich colored art assets that are classic to Star Wars IV, V, and VI. Stylistically, it uses soft gradients and rounded corners for the Rebel bases on the planet Tatooine, and blue-gray and sharp solemn colors for the Empire side. All artworks created for the App Store therefore resembles these main characteristics.
In crafting App Store screenshots, we wanted to highlight the experience of the game by showing the key art. Although the Key art is not an in-game screenshot depicting real axonometric game play, it encompasses the overall experience- commanding heroes to battle. The subsequent screenshots shows the real time strategy game play and highlights the feature where players can choose to play either on the Rebel’s or Empire’s side, where the art style and environments are completely different depending on the faction.
The user interface is deep blue with galactic static line details with the same soft gradient blue background- stylistically similar to the rest of the artwork. It is reminiscent of space ships transmissions in the galaxy. The captions also has small brackets to tastefully add layers without crowding the image. A slight navy shadow is placed behind the text to bring up contrast and maintain legibility of the captions on smaller iOS devices.
I created many different drafts for the App Icon to test before we decided on a final direction. We wanted to focus on a very iconic character since the real estate for the App icon is very limited- a Stormtrooper would be ideal since he is one of the most recognizable characters in the movie. Other options we considered were Darth Vader as well as AT-ATs to highlight the command and battle aspect of the game.
After quickly creating about 30 different App Icon variations, we put them into context- and look a deeper look at the size, color, contrast, and visibility. Some of the most prominent spots were- App Store, home screen in both light and dark backgrounds, settings, etc. After analyzing these, we decided that something that has a blue background and a Stormtrooper would be the best choice. With these knowledge in mind, a new icon (the current one live in the App Store) was illustrated to represent both the Empire and Rebel sides.
In order to drive traffic in addition to iOS featuring and retain a large user base, mobile interstitials were created for both within the Disney network and socially on Facebook. These art combinations were beta tested in Australia and we found that the most successful creative concepts were combining a recognizable character and real-time strategy game play.
As the interstitials attracted players, community building was one of the key channels we focused on. Star Wars Commander utilized social channels including a takeover of Disney Mobile’s Twitter and Facebook fan pages. News posts were also made for the player community, some introducing them to base upgrades while others are more social in nature- #TEAMEMPIRE anyone?
In addition to social media marketing channels, about 3 weeks after the release of the game, we obtained some interesting data regarding which side people chose when they play the game and the numbers of battles and troops deployed. I had the opportunity to work with analytics and PR teams to create an infographic that reflects these data. Interestingly, more than 53% of the entire world chose to side with the Empire.
Currently, Star Wars Commander is available exclusively on iOS and coming to Android late September. Within 20 days of release, it has climbed to top 5 grossing and top 10 free on the US charts. Personally, I think the game has a lot of potential and looks absolutely incredible on the iPad. If you get a chance, please check it out! I'm still working on producing more work for Star Wars Commander, with a focus on visual information architecture, please check back on this page soon for an update!
© Sophie Ying Su, 2017