Around one year ago, Jagex brought the eternally popular RuneScape to mobile. It’s a game that most of us have probably played at least a little bit, usually when we should have been concentrating during an IT lesson at school. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that RuneScape Mobile has seen plenty of success during its first 12 months.
We recently had a chance to chat with Emma Hall (Lead Developer) and Matt Casey (Product Director) about RuneScape Mobile. Together we discussed how the game has performed, the community’s role in the ongoing development and what we can expect in the future.
RuneScape Mobile has been out in the wild for a year now. How have the first 12 months been, and has it met or exceeded your first expectations? What successes has the game enjoyed?
Emma – It’s thoroughly exceeded my expectations. On launch, we were seeing such a large influx of players that we had to urgently look at upgrading our capacity, which is a brilliant problem to have! Since then, engagement has remained high to the point where playing on mobile has become a staple of a lot of our players’ days. We’re continuing to see a chunk of our desktop players also regularly playing on mobile, which is really telling of how well our games work on a mobile device.
Matt: I’m also delighted to see how many players have returned to the game since we launched on mobile. Our strategy was to deliver a fully cross-play experience that would be convenient and accessible and suit the lifestyle of players that might not have the time opportunity to play a full desktop MMORPG as much as they may have done in the past. I love the fact that so much of the feedback and reviews we get are from players who remember playing ‘that game’ and got a real kick out of revisiting Gielinor and reconnecting with memories, experiences and friends.
Emma Hall – Lead Producer
Did you learn anything new over the last year? Were there any challenges you had to overcome that stick out in particular?
Emma – I would say that working on mobile has been a huge learning curve for myself, as well as a lot of our developers. Developing a game for mobile is almost an entirely different skillset than for desktop. Legibility and useability are even more important, and if one of these is even slightly wrong, the experience of the game can be frustrating. We also have to be designing content, especially interfaces, that can work on all kinds of mobile devices since some have in-screen cameras, some have curved edges, others have wide screens. We need to make sure that everything we create works the same, gives the same player experience, on every single device. This can be incredibly difficult when working with what can be such a small screen space.
Similarly, how challenging was bringing a huge MMO over to mobile devices in general?
Emma – We are working on a game that is over 20 years old now, and with that comes a whole host of content that was never intended to be on a mobile device. That idea was just a twinkle in some developer’s eye when RuneScape was originally made. One of the biggest challenges we encounter is finding creative ways of bringing all that content to a mobile device so that it’s still engaging and fun to play. It’s an ongoing process. The social aspects of the game are also something that is integral to an MMO experience so making that part of the game accessible and easy to use has been and continues to be a priority for us.
Did anything surprise you with the game’s development? For instance, were some things much easier to port than expected and others more difficult?
Emma – Honestly looking at RuneScape now, with very much a point-and-click play style, was always destined to come to mobile devices. The ease of using the core mechanics and features just ported so well. Outside of small tweaks here and there, I don’t think we’ve really made many changes to that aspect. The biggest issues were always with the UI.
We’re frequently seeing developers ensure they are in contact with their player base to determine what changes to make in their games. Is that an approach you have also adopted? If so, how integral do you believe player feedback is for helping a game flourish?
Emma – RuneScape has always been a game that has been heavily influenced by its community. For mobile specifically, we have developers actively talking to players on Discord and other social media, gathering feedback almost daily. It helps us to tweak and tailor our updates to what the players are really looking for. Honestly, I think the relationships that RuneScape and the development teams have with our players is one of the core reasons that RuneScape has managed to sustain over 20 years old and remains a bustling game with an incredibly active community as well.
Matt Casey – Product Director
What can players expect from RuneScape over the coming months and even years, if you’ve planned that far ahead, in terms of events and other updates?
Matt: We still have lots of improvements to make to the mobile user experience which will help with usability of interfaces, text legibility and other general quality-of-life fixes. We are also working on technology to improve how players can use the mobile version of the game to stay connected to RuneScape. For example, a suite of notification options for in-game events like ‘Your faming trees finished growing’ or ‘Your items sold on the Grand Exchange’ would be really helpful to players and add another dimension to the convenience and accessibility of having the game in your pocket. More broadly we are looking into ways we introduce RuneScape to new audiences through related genre products that feature the world of Gielinor as part of the expanding RuneScape franchise.
In terms of where the story of RuneScape goes next, we recently announced our latest season of content kicking off in July with the hardest boss fight ever against Zamorak, the Lord of Chaos. We are also taking players back to the Wilderness this year which for many players was the scary PvP area where you could get jumped by other players and lose all your stuff. We are making changes to take away some of the frustrating aspects whilst retaining a super challenging PvM (Player vs Monster) with some visual enhancements to bring things up to the standards seen in newer regions of the game.
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Thom Browne Spring 2023 Menswear
In 2017, Thom Browne expanded his oeuvre and put men in dresses during his menswear show in Paris. That collection, called “Why Not?” was less a provocation than a flex: The elegant elongated shapes Browne was developing for women translated, seamlessly and cheekily, for men. Five years later—and after a two-year hiatus from Paris—Browne’s menswear…
In 2017, Thom Browne expanded his oeuvre and put men in dresses during his menswear show in Paris. That collection, called “Why Not?” was less a provocation than a flex: The elegant elongated shapes Browne was developing for women translated, seamlessly and cheekily, for men. Five years later—and after a two-year hiatus from Paris—Browne’s menswear is back in the French capital with similar potency. His spring 2023 collection, suspended almost entirely from jock straps, is Browne’s updated meditation on “how far you can push it?”
“I thought the dresses were too much back then,” Browne began at a preview in his showroom, “but now feels like the time to do this. It’s about how much guys can look at and entertain.” Referring to the many visible cheeks on the catwalk, he pointedly added: “It’s not about shock value.”
If not shock, then what? There has been a lot of nudity this menswear season and in the past two years in general, but Browne’s stated intent is less about showing flesh than it is about finding a new form for men. You can see how he could get bored quick. This is his third catwalk in under a year—plus four pre-collections. “I have a good team” he demurred when asked how he creates with such voracity.
So the brief was brief this season: short, mini, kinky, gorgeous. Each of the looks was made in a unique French tweed, from the same maker of you-know-who’s tweeds, inspired by the couture ideology of the 1940s and 1950s. The show began with friends of the maison as couture clients—Anh Duong, Marisa Berenson, Farida Khelfa, and more—bolting in to the second floor of the Crillon to find their seats. From their vantage point they could ogle the guys—a nice swap—in their shorter-in-the-back kiltlets, sailor tops, cropped organza button downs, and luxurious tweed coats with gold bouillon. As with any Browne outing, the fabrics and silhouettes were as fine as can be.
After a mostly underwhelming season, at least according to the menswear editors I tallied, how far could this irreverent beauty really go, though? Several balked. Others chuckled. When a dancer emerged at the end of the show dressed in a codpiece with an anchor Prince Albert piercing, I exchanged a glance with a friend across the aisle and we both giggled. Last night was Pride in Paris. In Browne’s beloved USA, human rights are being revoked by the hour. It would be hard to picture a more gay and proud couture-worthy collection: the sailor, the cowboy, the surfer, the tennis pro; the stereotypes divorced from expected connotations, made in the artisanal gold standard of womenswear design, ass cracks gleaming and pert under those red, white and blue bars of gingham. Browne is gay and proud. Will his cis-het clientele be radicalized or scandalized? A voiceover that started the show spoke about the couture process of the ’50s, when women were swans and men were their benefactors. “Men have the very great pleasure of paying,” said the recording. Time to pay up, boys.
Ambush Resort 2023
“The touchpoint and the root of every Ambush collection has to come from everything that happens in Japan that is unique,” said Yoon Ahn when we met at the very beginning of Paris Fashion Week. Given that she has been on that scene since the early 2000s, when she moved to Tokyo with her family,…
“The touchpoint and the root of every Ambush collection has to come from everything that happens in Japan that is unique,” said Yoon Ahn when we met at the very beginning of Paris Fashion Week. Given that she has been on that scene since the early 2000s, when she moved to Tokyo with her family, not to mention that the Ambush office sits right in Shibuya, Yoon has plenty of material to mine. This pre-collection represented a down-tempo interlude in Ambush’s rhythm of show season spectacular, and was more observationaL. The collection was designed as an imagined curation of the clothes she sees on the kids who are flocking back to Shibuya today. “Things are opening up, the clubs: everything’s coming back in Tokyo. I’ve been feeling that.”
Tailoring, sportswear, footwear, nylon-spliced denim, and of course this brand’s core category of jewelry was all effectively designed to be defined less by the wearer’s gender identity than their aesthetic orientation and subcultural proclivity. The classics covered, from Ambush specific bodice tops and kimono coats to standards including bowling shirts and tracksuits, were adroitly but subtly remixed through tweaks in proportion, color, and fabrication. Pills and mushrooms came suspended from safety pin earrings and chains, supplies brought in for a big night ahead. This though was a collection built for street life: night life comes later.
Alled-Martinez Spring 2023 Menswear
“I don’t really like the term ‘Y2K,’” quipped Archie Alled-Martinez during a Zoom preview from his hotel in Paris. “We just used to call it ‘millennium’ back then, so that’s what it is for me.”Alled-Martinez is part of a wave of millennial designers that is remarkably skilled at putting together a visual mood that encapsulates…
“I don’t really like the term ‘Y2K,’” quipped Archie Alled-Martinez during a Zoom preview from his hotel in Paris. “We just used to call it ‘millennium’ back then, so that’s what it is for me.”
Alled-Martinez is part of a wave of millennial designers that is remarkably skilled at putting together a visual mood that encapsulates an era or mood. “I do a ton of research,” he said “I like exhaustive research of images and visuals, it’s what helps me design.” Much of the research he did for spring was based on the mystique around the soccer player. Titled “Reclaiming the Fields,” the collection is a nod to the homoeroticism of that figure and a reclaiming of the word and concept of a “metrosexual.” “I kept reading that word as I researched and I thought, ‘How homophobic?’ Alled-Martinez said as he pulled up the Google definition of the word: “a young, urban, heterosexual male with liberal political views, an interest in fashion, and a refined sense of taste.”
The fact is, around the time both Alled-Martinez and myself were growing up, the word was casually thrown around as a descriptor of a straight man who embodied all the stereotypical characteristics of a gay man without (allegedly) being one. In essence it was a way for people to pejoratively call someone gay without actually doing so. Many of the “metrosexuals” of our time were famous athletes, particularly soccer players, who dressed well and looked even better—David Beckham being the best example. In fact, Beckham was a source of inspiration for Alled-Martinez, which explains why the lookbook resembles a series of photos of Beckham in the late noughties, the clothes looking like just what he would have worn for a night out with or without Victoria Beckham.
The collection itself stays true to the signature homoerotic aesthetic that Alled-Martinez has become known for, particularly to the gay fashion community and social media space. Part of the charm of the label is that its founder knows just how to speak to his audience. “There’s an intrinsic nostalgia to my work, I like to recreate things that are constantly in my mind,” Alled-Martinez said as he walked me through the lineup for spring. Low-rise cargo pants, straight-cut jeans, knee-length swim trunks, and tight short shorts build the core of the assortment, all cut and styled in his signature gay male gaze, which is homoerotic and often voyeuristic. They’re all references to the way men would dress back in the second half of the 2000’s, and, most significantly, to those elements of masculinity that gay men coming into their queerness at the time would often lust for.
“I like doing the tees because it reminds me of when I was growing up and would see a Ford logo tee that said ‘fuck’ instead,” Alled-Martinez said. This season’s tees with Ford and Bic logos reimagined as “faggot” and “dick,” respectively, will surely be a hit for his nostalgic customer, but the designer was at his best this season when he took it past the mood board and found a way of turning nostalgic items into covetable pieces. A pair of baggy cargos in light wash denim stood out, with the center-front crotch seam mimicking a jockstrap, as did macrame bags made in raw silk and “cheap poly football uniforms” reimagined in glossy, saturated colored knitted silk.
For his presentation, Allied-Martinez decided to lean into the voyeuristic sensuality of his brand, creating an installation that saw guests peep into the collection through holes in a wooden wall to discover a locker room where models were changing in and out of the clothes. “Basically an ode to voyeurism and glory holes, all about desire,” said the designer. It was something that felt right out of XY magazine, another Y2K–sorry, I mean millennium–gem many millennial gay men will surely remember.
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