DeNA's The Drowning — a first-person shooter led by former Battlefield developer Ben Cousins — is out for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch today.
The Drowning is DeNA's first hardcore shooter for mobile devices, and Cousins — who has worked on titles like Battlefield 1943, Command and Conquer Tiberium Alliances and Battlefield Online — said the studio was careful to design the game as a mobile experience, saying that the game is "console-quality," but does not try to replicate the experience players would get on a console.
"I would emphasize caution about the idea that what we're trying to do or what we should try to do is replicate the experience of the PC or console shooter, because I don't think we can ever do that in the same way that a console shooter can't ever replicate the feeling of playing a light gun arcade game like House of the Dead," Cousins told Polygon. "They're completely different experiences.
"What we're about doing is creating a game which is in the first person, where you are shooting things, you're able to freely move around the environment, so it ticks a lot of the boxes of a PC and console shooter, but it doesn't try to replicate it."
Cousins said that the games that have failed to fully exploit the mobile platform have been the ones that have tried to copy the PC and console experience. So rather than battling with hardware that was never made to do what home consoles do, the developers at DeNA worked with the strengths of mobile, focusing on touch inputs, shorter gameplay session times and a more streamlined tutorial. Players have an option to play with virtual stick controls, which were added during the game's testing phase when the developers found that some players still prefer virtual sticks, but the standard control system created for the game makes full use of the touchscreen interface.
Polygon's preview of The Drowning can be read here.