Super Evil Megacorp created one of the very first MOBAs developed specifically for mobile in 2014 with Vainglory, and now the studio is looking to take what it’s learned and create an even better experience with Catalyst Black, its upcoming battleground shooter set to release on Android on May 25.
Its surely aiming to take on the likes of the best Android games out there, but only time will tell if it can deliver. The team at Super Evil Megacorp has high hopes, though.
I recently viewed a hands-off demo and spoke with Super Evil Megacorp co-founder Q. Wang, CEO Kristian Segerstrale, and general manager Ian Fielding about the creation of Catalyst Black and their hopes for its future.
All of them expressed how Catalyst Black was built with the idea in mind that mobile gamers should be treated the same as console and PC gamers, not inferior to them. Catalyst Black aims to deliver a triple-A experience on Android and iOS. While it’s a nice marketing term to use, I asked the team what that actually meant in practice.
“For us, it means putting the kind of investment, care, and love into the experience that we as game makers would be putting into the experience if it was a Nintendo Switch game or if it was a PlayStation game or an Xbox game,” Segerstrale said.
He continued, “What we want to do is to respect mobile gamers in the same way that we as an industry respect gamers on other devices, in terms of what their expectations are in terms of controls, fidelity, competitive integrity, and other aspects of gameplay.”
As for its upcoming launch, the team stressed that they viewed this as only the beginning. Wang noted that, in addition to Segerstrale’s comments, he views its post-launch support as another aspect of treating it like a triple-A game. There will be regular patches and updates to tune the game along with new features and content that set it apart from more casual games on the market.
They also emphasized how they want Catalyst Black to be a frictionless multiplayer experience. Players can drop in and out of a friend’s match without the need to form a party. This is possible by reserving room at the beginning of each match for players to join in.
Though ranked mode won’t be available at launch — it’s being added a few months down the line — the team said that Catalyst Black will appropriately matchmake players based on their skill level. They declined to give specifics on how this would work, but assured me that these stats would be tracked in the background. It will support touchscreen controls and some of the best Android controllers at launch.
To keep matches interesting, aside from multiple objectives, players are encouraged to stop an opponent’s kill streak by being rewarded with more points for the kill. If you play the game well enough, you can easily find a bigger target on your back.
In addition to the gun-based playable characters, players will also be able to transform into powerful beasts known as Primals. These creatures are primarily magic-based, and Super Evil Megacorp says that they give every player the chance to be the hero in a match. That said, they’re not unstoppable.
It may look like a MOBA at first glance, but it sets itself apart in numerous ways. First of all, there are no lanes or minions to speak of. Second, Super Evil Megacorp felt that MOBAs were sometimes hard to play with friends when people excelled at the same roles. Players won’t have that problem in Catalyst Black because it was designed with this in mind. Catalyst Black allows players to create the best possible builds and mix and match loadouts for their characters.
Catalyst Black will launch on May 25, 2022 for Android and iOS. Super Evil Megacorp says that it targets 60FPS on low-end devices, but players with high-end devices could see up to 120FPS.