Funzio has managed to make hit versions of its first game, Crime City, for both Facebook and iOS devices. That’s a rare feat for any company, especially such a small one. Now it’s trying again with a role-playing simulation called Modern War, that it’s launching first on iOS.
The game itself is closely patterned after the iOS version of Crime City. A slick graphical interface lets you move around various battle scenarios, where you click on enemy units and structures on the screen to attack them, and earn virtual cash and experience when you win. You also battle with various other players in a traditional role-playing format where you don’t actually do any battling, you just see the resulting losses and point gains. A home base lets you build structures that generate new troops and equipment.
The free game has the standard virtual goods revenue model. The virtual cash currency and gold are dual currencies that let you do things like buy new buildings that provide more powerful improvements to your troops.
Modern Wars improvements, from the quick look we got earlier today, go beyond just being a reskin of iOS Crime City. Additions include attacking options like aerial and naval bombardments, as well as more customization options for the buildings in your base. The graphics are also sharp, and designed to appeal to more traditional gamers.
The larger story here is Funzio’s strategy for going after both iOS and Facebook markets. Crime City launched on Facebook in September of last year, and had a big run — although it has matured and is falling towards the last part of its life cycle now. The iOS version launched this past August, and has been among the top 25 free as well as top grossing titles for most of its time since then.
By launching Modern War on iOS now, Funzio could piggybacking off of the current enthusiasm for the iOS version of the street-themed first title. The Facebook version is coming later, vice president of business development Jamil Moledina tells me, once the Facebook development team finishes working on the company’s third game. (Social-mobile features are fairly limited so far, although you can do things like share the game with Facebook friends.)
Large Facebook developers like Zynga have been slowly but steadily figuring out how to build mobile games. Mobile gaming startups have for the most part not been able to — or have decided not to — go after Facebook. Funzio is, along with Booyah and a few others, an exception. However, the focus on both platforms has been an increasingly common theme in game development in the last year, as the mobile virtual goods model has come into its own.
And its track record so far isn’t the only reason this company and its new title are worth keeping an eye on. Funzio is comprised of all stars from other top other social and mobile game developers. Cofounder and COO Anil Dharni was previously a cofounder at top mobile game developer Storm8. Cofounder and CEO Kenneth Chiu was a general manager at Zynga. Moledina was just recruited away from a senior business position at EA. Chairman and founder Rick Thompson had the same role at Playdom.
Modern War isn’t quite live yet, but you can keep track of it here.