Samurai Siege

It’s nice to be associated with a bona fide success. Samurai Siege was a mobile and tablet game in the same real-time strategy genre made popular by Clash of Clans. Released in 2013 and finally retired from live service in 2020, it was free to play and incredibly popular.

“An absolute must-play game…”


Just two weeks after release, it had been downloaded 1.2 million times and was being played by 300,000 people every day. After a year, it had earned over $20 million from 10 million players. And by the time the game closed, it had been downloaded 17 million times and had been the #1 iOS strategy game in 40 countries, including the US.


Space Ape, the London-based studio behind the game, brought me in to “add story” back in 2013 when the game was already well developed, and it was a fascinating exercise in iterative story implementation, starting with a ‘minimum viable story’ at launch and then expanding on it with every incremental update.

“Once you pick it up, you won’t be able to put it down.”

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The game picked up a Player’s Choice Award on the Google Play Store and a Tabby Award, while Space Ape scooped the Develop Award for Best New Studio.

Another measure of the studio’s success was Supercell’s decision to buy a majority stake in Space Ape in 2017. They haven’t looked back since.

A short retrospective on the making of Samurai Siege