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Rocky Says ‘Yo, Adrian’ to the Mobile Gaming Market

U.S. actor Stallone arrives for the British premiere of 'Rocky Balboa' in LondonU.S. actor Stallone arrives for the British premiere of 'Rocky Balboa' in London
Actor Sylvester Stallone© Dylan Martinez / Reuters REUTERS

The Oscar-winning film Rocky is 40 years old, and Hollywood studio MGM is celebrating with the release of a new mobile game.

Developer Tapinator is releasing Rocky, a free-to-play app for iOS today. This game gives players the opportunity to live through the career of a championship boxer. To win the belt, however, players will have to collect and train fighters from the Rocky universe — such as Rocky and Rocky II’s Apollo Creed, Rocky III‘s Clubber Lang, and Rocky IV‘s Ivan Drago. This is the latest game to use a well-known existing franchise to find an audience in the competitive $36.6 billion mobile gaming market — although it joins popular apps Real Steel, EA Sports UFC, and Real Boxing in the mobile fighting-game ranks.

Rocky’s training session and boxing matches both use a touch-control interface where players must tap and swipe along with icons on the screen. Tapinator chief executive Ilya Nikolayev says he understands the importance of getting that action correct and doing right by the beloved film franchise.

Rocky has a tremendously rich, 40-year history in terms of the brand and the characters,” Nikolayev explained to me in a message. “We intentionally chose to build the game in a unique arcade style instead of as a boxing simulator. The latter is an area that is already well represented on mobile. Accordingly, the graphic style, character artwork, and other details are all important in bringing the spirit of the Rocky brand into the game. ”

At the same time, Tapinator is working on ways to make the game appealing even to those who have never seen the films.

“The core mechanics of the game, including its time-tap battle system, multiplayer fights, fighter collection system, and tournaments are elements that will appeal to all mobile players who enjoy unique, fun products,” said Nikolayev.

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This is not the first time Rocky has made the leap into video games. In 2002, MGM worked with Ubisoft to release Rocky for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube. That ended up as one of the better sports releases of that year. Now, Tapinator is noting MGM’s help in making the free-to-play mobile app.

“It has been a pleasure working with MGM on the Rocky deal,” said Nikolayev. “MGM provided us with guidance in terms of the direction for the first freemium arcade Rocky game on mobile. As we built the product, MGM has been quick to provide feedback, approvals, and advice — all of which are necessary in successfully bringing an IP-licensed game to life.”

And now, the game is out and ready for downloading on iOS. It’ll hit Android devices in early 2017.