When Angry Birds launched in 2009 it quickly became one of the first major, breakthrough successes in mobile gaming. Six years, two billion downloads, and fifteen games later, the physics-based puzzle game is finally getting a “true” sequel.
Simply titled Angry Birds 2, developer Rovio says the game will be “bigger, badder, and birdier”. More details will be announced later this month, with a full reveal set to be made in San Francisco on 28 July.
The original game, which sees players catapulting avians into the fortresses of greedy, egg-stealing green pigs, has already spawned more than a dozen follow-ups. These have ranged from glorified level packs, such as Angry Birds Seasons, to movie tie-in Angry Birds Rio and branded spin-offs, including Star Wars.
The series has also diverted away from its original puzzle roots, with Rovio exploring racing (Angry Birds Go!), role playing (Angry Birds Epic), and side-scrolling shooters (Angry Birds Transformers, another crossover). Even the villains got their own focus, with 2012’s vehicle-building Bad Piggies.
While the addition of a formal numerical suffix is significant — it marks it as the definitive sequel — the variety of the existing titles does rather beg the question of what, exactly, Angry Birds 2 can offer that hasn’t been touched on before. A new cast of characters? Last year’s Angry Birds Stella did that, and the teaser image features many existing faces (beaks?). New abilities? Every entry adds some form of new super-powered squawker. A lead-in to the upcoming movie is a possibility, though that’s still almost a year from release.
Whatever the game actually is, Rovio will need to take account of the vastly different space mobile gaming is in now, compared to when Angry Birds was top of the roost. Players can get console quality games on the go, and simply offering more of the same, however well repackaged, may lead Rovio to struggle — and given it saw a 73 percent fall in profits last year, that’s something it can ill-afford.