How the world’s most downloaded game continues to evolve, keeping players excited & engaged.
Garena Free Fire (also known as Free Fire Battlegrounds) was the most downloaded mobile game globally in 2019 and 2020, according to App Annie. This battle royale game, developed by 111 Dots Studio and published by Garena for Android and iOS has won multiple awards over the past three years, including receiving the award for the ‘Best Popular Vote Game’ by the Google Play Store in 2019 and ‘Best Battle Royale Game’ at the Pocket Gamer Awards 2021.
To add to their many accolades, Garena Free Fire has become the first mobile battle royale game to receive 1 billion downloads on the Google Play Store. Garena Free Fire is the first mobile battle royale game to achieve this milestone, and joins a small group of mobile games who have done so.
If this isn’t enough to convince you of this third-person, action-adventure, battle royale game’s global popularity, then perhaps the main reason is that the developers keep exciting and delighting players with relevant collaborations and time-limited crossover events. Garena’s strategy with Free Fire is to ‘continuously enrich, engage, and inspire the gaming community to battle in their own styles while having fun along the way.’
Here are just a handful of ways they’ve done that in recent times:
Ronaldo as Chrono in Operation Chrono:
Juventus and Portugal football star, Cristiano Ronaldo, was unveiled as a global brand ambassador in late 2020. The partnership marked one of the most significant tie-ups within the gaming industry, uniting one of the world’s most popular mobile games with a global sporting icon. With the inclusion of the iconic player to the game, players are able to play as him, in a character called Chrono. “It’s a great feeling having not only a character in Free Fire modelled after me, but also having the whole universe within the game changing along with it,” the star commented at the launch. The collaboration with Ronaldo comes on the back of collabs with the likes of Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan, one of India’s biggest celebrities, as well as more localised collabs such as with Indonesian actor and martial artist Joe Taslim, who featured as the game’s first-ever playable Indonesian character.
Free Fire World Series smashes records:
According to Esports Charts, the finals of the Free Fire World Series 2021 Singapore (FFWS 2021 SG) had 5.4 million viewers (excluding Chinese platforms), breaking the record held by the 2019 League of Legend World Championship. The number also more-than doubled that of the 2019 World Series record.
The 2021 edition of the World Series was held offline at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, marking the first step for a return to normalcy for Free Fire international esports after tournaments in 2020 were held online. With the health and safety of all involved of utmost importance, Garena worked closely with the local authorities and employed stringent screening and protection measures. Team Phoenix Force from Thailand were crowned world champions at FFWS 2021 SG with the team’s TheCruz named MVP.
MCLFF (McLaren-Free Fire):
MCLFF is the exclusive version of Free Fire’s crossover with McLaren. It features a thematic takeover with exclusive collaboration content and various in-game features. It brings the future inspiration of McLaren into the game (where Grand Prix racing meets the age of advanced technology). Players can complete the racing look by equipping their characters with the exclusive McLaren Racing x Free Fire collection, which includes drivers’ overalls featuring the McLaren papaya and blue, the original colours chosen by founder Bruce McLaren. The crossover also sees various other elements inspired by McLaren, where players have the options such Gloowall skins, surfboards and airships.
In September 2020 ‘Plan Bermuda’ saw the collaboration of popular Netflix series Money Heist with Free Fire. The Free Fire x Money Heist collaboration not only brought exclusive in-game bundles and merchandise, but also Money Printer game modes and promotional videos starring Joe Taslim.
In the limited time Money Heist game mode, two teams of four players could go head-to-head in a race against the opposing side to print the target amount of money in the allotted time. Players collected money by activating and occupying Money Printers placed in set locations across the map. The team that collected (and protected) the target amount of money first or with the most amount of money as the time runs out wins.
Free Fire’s collab with world-famous music producer Niles Hollowell-Dhar – known by his stage name KSHMR (pronounced ‘Kashmir’) – featured a character modelled after him and a special song. The character called ‘K’ (aka Captain Booyah) became available to players from mid October 2020 and has a passive skill with a maximum EP increased to 250, and a special active skill that has 2 modes, Psych Professor and Jiujitsu Master. KSHMR, who is signed to the iconic Dance label Spinnin’ Records, also released ‘One More Round (Free Fire Booyah Day Theme Song)’ for the event. It was presented by both Jeremy Oceans and KSHMR himself and plays heavily on DJ KSHMR’s signature vocal-driven production style.
Garena is the leading game developer and publisher in Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Latin America, and has expanded into other fast-growing markets globally.
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