The iPad Pro and the iPhone XS Max  have as much graphics power as an Xbox One S. With Apple Arcade comes in the fall of 2019, the matching gaming flat rate: One price, a good hundred games for launch.

Apple Arcade is a major offensive to bring talented indie developers into the limelight – and bring Triple A games to the iPhone, iPad and macOS. The iPad Pro and the iPhone XS Max  have as much graphics power as an Xbox One S. Now comes the matching gaming flatrate in the style of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass: One prize, over a hundred games to launch. 

Veteran gamers may still remember the legendary Adventure Baphomets Curse. Its maker Charles Cecil works on Beyond a Steel Sky. And Final Fantasy fans may be pricked by a name: Hironobu Sakaguchi. The head designer of Final Fantasy VI is also working on an exclusive game for iOS: “Fantasian”.

Fantasian: The self-built world of the Final Fantasy Creator 

“Fantasian is a game that should not exist,” says the mastermind behind one of the biggest RPG series of all time. Because it is a world that arises (partly) by hand. Not just animated by hand, many other big games like Uncharted 4  have these animations. But the game design is physically built. Soldered with wires, plasticine, plastic, wood and glass. “We create dioramas that we photograph and in which we put 3D characters,” explains Sakaguchi. Photogrammetry is the name of this technology: Thousands of photos visualize real objects. By the way, Respawn Entertainment is also bringing Star Wars movie props for Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order  to life.

The special thing about Fantasian: Sakaguchi’s team uses real objects, such as LED funnels and glasses, and fills them with digital life. They use digital effects, such as strobosphere and energy fields, which are projected into the real world. For example, the protagonist walks over a bridge built in the real world, but is accompanied by a drone and has to overcome traps that only exist digitally. Fantasian is still in the middle of development. Sakaguchi says, “I’m a bit scared of how many sets we’ll ultimately have to build.”

Because his team has to construct every single scene, each setting in real terms. “For me, Apple Arcade means developing games that would be too risky for the mainstream.” Eventually, Apple Arcade becomes a Netflix- style subscription model , allowing studios to focus on the class of their games rather than masses have to. And it combines iOS with MacOS and Apple TV for the first time : No matter where you start, you can continue to play on any other Apple platform thanks to the subscription service. Also on desktop machines like the Macbook or iMac, for which Apple TV +  will come. 

Beyond a Steel Sky: the cyberpunk uncharted of the iPad GenerationIo

Desert, only desert. Brown sand, mountains and sandstorms dominate the first scenes of Beyond a Steel Sky. A game that looks and feels like Uncharted, albeit with a decent dose of cyberpunk. Soon we walk through a mega-metropolis, which protects itself from the outside world with a mighty wall, as if the future would travel back to the Middle Ages. And how beautiful that looks like: cartoon-style, sharp textures, the landscape seems drawn with an Apple Pencil – because she really became it. What looks like an Xbox game also appears exclusively for Apple Arcade. 

“It’s a great time to write storytelling for games and we are developing an extremely high quality, very ambitious console game for the iPad and iPhone,” said Charles Cecil, Creative Director of Beyond a Steel Sky and studio head of Revolution Software Baphomet’s curse may well be familiar to many adventure fans, with stories about George Stobbart and Nicole Collard captivating with their smart puzzles, well written dialogues, and the right mix of action thrillers Comedy moments (fans should by the way rummage in the AppStore – the mega package with all Baphomets curse parts is just for 10.99 euros and is highly recommended.)

Cecil is also known for Beneath a Steel Sky, in the universe of the new Apple Arcade title plays. 2D changes in 3D, but is still puzzling – for example, to lower a bridge. So that a train can drive over it to fulfill a mission in a city that fans already know from 1994: Union City is a mega city ruled by the Union Corporation.

Because in Australia of the future, there is no government, six city-states have the say. “We’re working with legendary comic book artist Dave Gibbons, who illustrated Watchmen. And of course the worlds of Beneath a Steel Sky, “says Charles Cecil.

Apple’s senior product marketing manager AppStore said in the San Francisco keynote address, “We’ve found that there are great Free2Play experiences, but it’s hard for narrative excellent, immersive worlds and their developers, with free games, Based on in-app purchases, we’re launching Apple Arcade because these games deserve a bigger audience. “

Where Cards Fall: As if it were The Sims 5 by Will Wright 

“Where Cards Case tells a very personal story about growing up,” says game designer Sam Rosenthal. He has previously worked on narrative high-quality hits like What Remains of Edith Finch. “There are no weapons, nobody is killed. We’re against the mainstream, and I think most people would not experience it without the Apple Arcade game subscription. “

Anyway, it’s intriguing that it seems Apple needs it to give indie developers new life on the iOS gaming platform. Or the Mac, who has already traveled to get a nicely curated games department in the new AppStore under macOS Mojave. “We are not hiding from telling the real life. Among the unpleasant experiences include – math test in school. Or at home, in a discussion with Mom. It should feel authentic and would be too risky for most publishers, “says Rosenthal. Apple Arcade is expected to be released this fall.

Other confirmed partners:

SEGA brings Sonic Racing, Warner and LEGO LEGO Brawls, and Konami (PES, Metal Gear, Frogger) is working on exclusive titles. And then, among the first 100 games, there are many prominent indies who have done great work: Cornfox & Bros (Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm), Klei Entertainment (Do not Starve), who have already announced the Adventure Hot Lava to have. Bossa Studios (Surgeon Simulator, Worlds Adrift), Annapurna Interactive (What Remains of Edith Finch, Ashen), Giant Squid (Abzû) or Mist Walker Corporation, who have worked on Blue Dragon, The Last Story and Lost Odyssey. Fancy big JRPGs on iOS? We are subtly hyped.