This is the introduction to a full FREE deconstruction written for Naavik, a research, consulting, and advisory firm which enables their clients to master the business of gaming.

The 4X Evolution of Century Games

Sunday, 3rd of March 2024, 17:36 +01:00

No, this is not a repost of Naavik's Frozen City deconstruction from last year, but it is about another Century Games hit that tasks players to survive in a frozen environment: Whiteout Survival. Both games look very much alike, especially during the first sessions. If you're thinking there's something fishy going on with this likeness, you are not wrong! We'll be venturing into the 4X subgenre as a whole as well, so put on your snow boots and we'll get cracking!

The Next Big Thing in 4X

Whiteout Survival (WS) is a 4X (Explore, Expand, Exploit, and Exterminate) game with an added Team Battler core mechanic. Unlike other 4X games like Rise of Kingdoms, which provides free-form base-building and is still the most lucrative mobile 4X title to this day, the player's base in WS has a fixed layout. Furthermore, WS focuses more on the human aspect, as the game asks the player to take care of villagers while assembling a team to fight battles with. For the latter task, some players will find themselves searching online to find tier lists, a task that is usually reserved for Hero Collector and Team RPG games.

Century had an early soft-launch of WS in select countries on June 28th, 2022. By December 13th that year, the game went live in the rest of the world. The game entered 2023 with a bang and performed extraordinarily well right out of the gate, making it one of the top trending mobile games of the year.

The top-grossing 4X games of 2023. | Source: AppMagic

Unsurprisingly, the game has done very well in Asian markets, especially in Korea. In September, SensorTower Korea reported that WS was the highest-grossing strategy game in Korea: "Whiteout Survival ranks 11th on the list of top-grossing games in South Korea, and it holds the 1st place among strategy games. Its revenue is more than twice that of Top War: Battle Game, which holds the second spot."

In this article, we'll look into the success of WS and what Century Games has done to bring a new 4X game to market so successfully. In a broader sense, we'll also look at the future of 4X as a subgenre and how WS reveals the next step in its evolution to stay relevant.

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