Jagex has officially released the full version of Runescape for mobile on the 17th of June. They made it their mission to carry around your lifelong account in your backpocket and now it’s finally here. “We just want to go where our players are”, says Matt Casey, Product Director of Runescape.

To bring over 20 years’ worth of content from desktop to mobile has been no easy task. Nevertheless, the people at Jagex have done the job. For over four years they’d been working on RS mobile and now it is available for everyone, worldwide, and within the reach of your pocket. “We started about the same time we changed our game engine. This gave us the ability to pull over to mobile, even though the conversation about mobile had been going on for years. For the longest time it had almost seemed impossible. The real turning point for me was, when we saw our own resourceful players doing it themselves through teamviewer. An app that makes you stream your desktop to your mobile phone. When we saw that I thought to myself ‘Yeah, we need to come up with a way now’”, Matt tells.

A challenging transition

Runescape only made it to Steam last year and with its history of being a desktop game, venturing into the mobile space was no easy task according to Matt. Something they have struggled with is that the interface on mobile isn’t completely customizable, like your interface would be on desktop. After a lot of research into where they should put everything on the screan, without getting your hands and thumbs in the way, they came up with a more fixed Oldschool Runescape type layout. “It is not the same level of customization, but it has been made very player friendly. Especially, for the newer players who would be coming in.”

This ongoing process of translating Runescape from desktop to mobile did bring a lot of change overall to the game. An example of this was the old font used in the game. If you have played the game in the early stages of the beta, you might have come across the same problem. The dialogue text and interface text were very small and hard to read. With the introduction of mobile they have done a lot to improve the readability. Particularly for the players who struggle to read. They’ve put in a new system that improves the characters and make them much smoother and better-defined characters, which will work in different types of interfaces. This new system could now be brought over to the full version of the game. According to Dave this is only one of many things that mobile development will improve for the overall game.

New design

With over 2 million installs during pre-registration, Jagex made sure as many people got to try out the mobile version as they could. The only thing limiting them in that number was that IOS would not allow too many people to try out the beta. Nevertheless, they got great support from both Apple and Android according to Matt. After putting over twenty years’ worth of weekly updates in a mobile game, the one subject they got the most feedback about was the combat system. “Players dream about doing the End game of Sliske, raids or bosses on their phones. To get them running as efficiently and seamless as they usually are and that has been difficult. Alongside the UI tweaks and making it all feel intuitive.”

One of the biggest things they tried to achieve was to play on one device and move seamlessly to another. It will always feel a bit more simplified and more intuitive on mobile. According to Dave Osborne, Lead Designer of Runescape, it will feel different but that’s okay. They’ve found that the players who use mobile generally love the low intensity stuff or as they say ‘chill ‘n skill’. “You can watch Netflix on your big screen and still make progression by playing Runescape on your mobile device and still make progression. It feels rewarding whilst you’re still relaxing.”

It has always been a game that you could quit and easily pick back up. Or as Dave puts it: “If you rewind 17 years ago, you had players playing at the library or at a friend’s house. You never had to download anything; you’d just be checking on your character at just a few steps away. That is why this transition to mobile suits us so well.” When asked if they have any future plans, Matt let it shimmer through that the Nintendo Switch might be a viable contender. “Obviously, things with touchscreen interaction would make consoles like the Nintendo Switch very attractive. There’s obviously some difficulties like how to use the joypad controls and joy cons and what not, to transfer fully to console. But long term I’d love to see the game become almost agnostic.”

An ongoing succes

And now it has been released for everyone to try it out. Runescape is currently number 7 on the top ranked to play MMO’s. They’ve put more than twenty years of content, an established player base that can immediately talk to you and one of the biggest MMO’s on mobile. “What you’re getting form us is the full fat. It’s emphatique”, Dave tells. And, it is. With over 200 quests you can play taking up around an hour each and 28 skills to play 100 hours each. Runescape will always stand its ground wherever they go and now, even available to play from our pockets.