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Happy 10th Birthday, Monument Valley!

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Monument Valley, a game that has not only redefined the mobile gaming landscape but is also a favorite of many of our own team members. Developed by Ustwo Games, Monument Valley captivated players with its beautifully designed, Escher-inspired puzzles and serene aesthetic, becoming a beloved classic since its release in April 2014. To celebrate this much-loved franchise, let's reflect on the impact and legacy of Monument Valley over the last decade.

Image Credit: Ustwo Games

The Accidental Success Story

Monument Valley's journey began with what can only be described as a serendipitous accident. The game's distinctive optical illusion puzzles were initially a result of a bug during development. This glitch, which allowed characters to navigate impossible geometries, was embraced by the team and became the core mechanic around which the game was built​. The rapid development cycle—completing the game in just under a year—was a testament to the team's dedication and creativity, although such crunch periods are something Ustwo Games has since moved away from.

A Sanctuary in Your Pocket

When Monument Valley launched, it was a breath of fresh air in the mobile gaming market. Amidst an ecosystem dominated by games riddled with in-app purchases and aggressive monetization, Monument Valley stood out as a premium experience. It offered a short but profoundly beautiful escape, something Ustwo's Chief Creative Officer Danny Gray believes is more needed today than ever before​​. The game's success can be attributed to its timing, releasing at a moment when the App Store was still ripe for innovative, quality-driven games to rise to the top​​.

Cultural Impact beyond Games

Monument Valley wasn't just a hit among gamers; it crossed over into mainstream culture as well. It featured prominently in an episode of Netflix's "House of Cards," and even inspired elements of Ariana Grande's music video for "No Tears Left to Cry"​. These cultural nods underscore the game's widespread appeal and its status as a piece of digital art that resonates beyond the confines of traditional gaming.

Inspiring Indie Developers Worldwide

Monument Valley's influence extends far beyond Western markets, serving as a beacon for indie developers worldwide, including those in China. Despite facing stringent regulations, Chinese indie developers draw inspiration from Monument Valley's success, motivating them to pursue innovative and artistic game design​ (EGM)​. This global inspiration showcases the game's impact on fostering creativity and ambition across diverse gaming communities.

Looking Towards the Future: Monument Valley 3 and Beyond

As Ustwo Games prepares to release Monument Valley 3, the landscape of mobile gaming has changed dramatically. Subscription services like Netflix's game offering and Apple Arcade are now pivotal in supporting premium games. This shift means that players can enjoy a game like Monument Valley without the direct financial exchange that once defined its market presence​. The new instalment promises to bring fresh artistic styles and mechanics while staying true to the spirit that made its predecessors so beloved. The development of Monument Valley 3 is being led by a new team, bringing fresh perspectives and creativity to the project. This continuity of innovation ensures that the franchise remains vibrant and relevant in an ever-evolving industry​.

Monument Valley's decade-long journey is a testament to creativity, innovation, and the timeless appeal of beautifully crafted experiences. As we look back on its success, it's clear that Monument Valley has not only shaped the lives of its players but also set a high standard for what mobile games can achieve. Here’s to the next chapter in this extraordinary franchise, which we can't wait to get our hands on!

To learn more about what Ustwo Games has planned for Monument Valley's 10th anniversary, click here.


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