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Chair talks Infinity Blade 2, iPhone 4S

Plus, a message for Shadow Complex fans.

The impending follow-up to Epic's acclaimed iOS hit Infinity Blade is bigger, bolder and more ambitious than the original, so says developer Chair Entertainment.

Following the game's high profile reveal at Apple's Autumn media briefing yesterday, Eurogamer sat down with the studio's creative director Donald Mustard to find out what it has in store for the sequel.

The headline feature? It's going to be a beast.

"The game is much, much bigger this time," he promised.

"Infinity Blade was our first game on iOS. We've figured out the system a little better and our process of building stuff has become more efficient. Because of that, the world of Infinity Blade 2 is many times larger than that of Infinity Blade 1. We've been able to make the game not only longer but also a much more non-linear experience."

Mustard promised "literally hundreds of new weapons" alongside a new item customisation system that lets you piece together your own sword.

"That just adds thousands and thousands of combinations," he said. "It really adds so much more depth to the game."

Another key new addition are "massively social challenges" that will see you teaming up with "thousands, or even millions" of other players on various tasks.

"Imagine you're fighting some huge boss that has 10 million hit points," Mustard offered as an example.

"As you get your chance to fight the boss, maybe you'll take off a thousand hit points before you die, but that will be persistent in the cloud so the next person that goes up against them will only have 9,999,000 hit points left.

"If together everyone can bring it down in a certain amount of time you'll all be rewarded with a very rare sword, or item, or treasure. That's going to be really, really cool."

On top of that, as teased in the trailer, there are three different fighting styles available this time around, including the option to ditch your shield and dual-wield two blades instead.

Mustard insisted this will give combat a more strategic edge. Without a shield, you'll be quicker and have more combos available, but will have to make sure your parrying and dodging skills are razor sharp.

It's been less than a year since the first game came out, with a number of hefty updates arriving for that in the interim. With Infinity Blade 2 due out on 1st December, how has Chair found time to work on a sequel?

"We just work a lot of hours to get this stuff out!" explained Mustard, pointing out that iOS development can be much more streamlined than on consoles.

"As we finished up the first Infinity Blade we had a lot of ideas that we thought would be really, really cool to keep pushing forward on," he added.

"We really loved the universe that Infinity Blade was set in and there was a whole lot more we wanted to do with the fiction.

"We really like the idea of this very intuitive gesture-based sword combat. It's a relatively new thing - there aren't that many games in this genre so we felt we had a lot more to express in the gameplay, and that's why you're seeing a sequel."

What that means of course, is that we're no closer to getting a follow-up to Chair's acclaimed Xbox Live Arcade platformer Shadow Complex. Well, don't give up hope - it'll happen one day, promised Mustard.

"I think when we've talked about this before, you know about my love for Shadow Complex, and our team's love for Shadow Complex, and Epic's love for Shadow Complex. We all love Shadow Complex.

"You can be confident, and people can be confident, that we'll return to Shadow Complex at a time when it makes sense to do so."

Mustard also took the time to offer his take on the iPhone 4S, with which Infinity Blade 2's announcement was tied yesterday.

"As we've been working with Apple the last few weeks I've had the opportunity to use the iPhone 4S quite a bit and, man, it's awesome. That A5 chip is pretty incredible. Having that much power in a device that small - really, there's a lot we can do with it.

"Some of the stuff you're going to see in Infinity Blade 2 is amazing. It looks incredible. Being able to have dynamic shadows on the characters, dynamic light rays shining through everything - it looks unbelievable.

"I'm still shocked that, with the iPhone 4S, I'm literally running around with a 1080p video camera in my pocket, with an eight megapixel camera, 64GB of hard drive space and an A5 chip with 512MB of memory. This is a really powerful computer, right?

"That's going to allow us to do some really cool stuff for gaming," he continued.

"I can't believe the future we're living in where we have stuff like that. And it's accelerating at such a crazy rate. I've no idea where we're going to be a few years from now."

Any thoughts on the doom-and-gloom merchants who insist the proliferation of iOS devices has sounded the death knell for the traditional handheld?

"I think that right now it's like the golden age of gaming. I have the ability to play games on Facebook, on my iPhone, on an awesome handheld like the 3DS or Vita, I have amazing games on my Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

"As gamers, we're just in this amazing time where gaming is everywhere and high quality gaming is everywhere. I don't see that going away. There will always be many platforms and really cool games on those platforms. As a consumer, that's awesome."

Finally, while Chair has big plans for expanding the franchise - a tie-in novel went live on iBooks yesterday, for example - Mustard added that a Kinect port, which seems like a natural fit for the gameplay, is currently not on the table.

"I think when we make our games we want our games to be available on every viable platform and I think that Infinity Blade... I can see how that could work on other motion-controlled devices, but at this time we don't have any plans to do stuff like that."

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Fred Dutton


Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.