Supercell’s mobile games, Clash of Clans and Clash Royale, are massive: together, the pair has been downloaded more than 3 billion times, according to the developer. Now, the Finnish studio is bringing them together with a new Clash animated short, a 12-minute piece called Lost & Crowned. It’s gorgeous and funny but also part of a broader strategy to make the overarching fantasy world something bigger and more enticing. “When it comes to storytelling, we feel it’s important to expand beyond what’s in the games,” says Christina Lee, who oversees story and franchise development at Supercell.

This isn’t technically the first animated short set in the Clash of Clans universe. That distinction goes to Clash-A-Rama, a YouTube series penned by a trio of Simpsons writers that debuted back in 2016. Lee says that the series was a big success, particularly when it came to expanding the fictional world of Clash. The games themselves have very little narrative, instead focusing almost entirely on combat. But Clash-A-Rama showed what the characters did in their off-time, adding a newfound depth to that world. It made Supercell want to do something even bigger.

“While Clash-A-Rama was a big success, we always saw it as exceptional fan fiction, and decided that it was time to tell Supercell’s take on the world and the characters, and that’s why we set out to do this animated short,” says Lee. That original series featured a bright and approachable 2D art style, whereas Lost & Crowned has a 3D look more in-keeping with the games and CG commercials and trailers. One look, and it’s clear it’s set in the Clash universe.

It was developed in collaboration with animation and design studio Psyop. The studio has previously worked with Riot on a League of Legends short, and it even turned a Travel Oregon commercial into a Studio Ghibli-style anime clip — and Lee says the main goal, aside from bridging the world of Clash Royale and Clash of Clans, was to focus on a character-driven narrative. “One of the driving principles for our team is to make our characters feel like real people, particularly people you can relate to,” she says. “That relatability is really key for us.”

This kind of storytelling is something of a trend among popular multiplayer games. Titles like Overwatch and League of Legends don’t feature much storytelling inside of the actual game, but there are copious animated shorts, comic books, and other content that flesh out their fictional worlds. Lee heads up a team of three focused entirely on this kind of external storytelling for Clash. And while Supercell isn’t ready to announce anything beyond Lost & Crowned, it’s not hard to foresee a future where more animated clips, or even things like comics, further flesh out Clash’s fantasy realm. “We’re in the process of evaluating other opportunities for storytelling,” says Lee.

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