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Halo creators go indie with the free, mobile shooter Midnight Star

Bungie founder and Halo co-creator Alex Seropian has released Midnight Star, a mobile first-person shooter and the first game from his independent studio, Industrial Toys. Midnight Star is available now on the Apple App Store for iPhones and iPads, along with an accompanying digital graphic novel, Midnight Rises.

Set 120 years in the future, Midnight Star is a science fiction space opera, replete with mysterious aliens, galactic warfare, your own ship, and a faithful crew. You are 2nd Lt. Charles Campbell, sent to investigate a mysterious signal within our solar System aboard the MSRV-Joplin research vessel. Disaster strikes and you find yourself embroiled in an alien war, with humanity’s safety on the line.

An extensive arsenal and elaborate system of upgrades for weapons, skills, and your ship speaks to Midnight Star‘s  feature-rich design. Industrial Toys built the game specifically for mobile platforms, eschewing virtual joysticks and other artifacts of console shooters to develop a more native control scheme. Seropian explained to Gamespot at the time of the studio’s founding that this is a key tenet of the studio’s development ethos:

“Our plan is really to treat the device like it’s its own platform. So many core offerings are brought over to the platform from other places, and the ones that aren’t are developed with that mindset. So one of the things we’re working on constantly doing is tearing away those preconceptions of what a core game is and starting over with the ideas that we have on that mobile platform. And it really just boils down to designing for the device.”

Seropian is joined by fellow Bungie alumnus Paul Bertone, who was one of Halo’s principle designers. Science fiction novelist John Scalzi (Redshirts) penned the story and System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian composed the music.

Seropian founded Bungie in 1991, forming the team that would later establish itself as one of the most prominent developers in the industry thanks to Halo: Combat Evolved, which arrived in 2001. He left to form his own studio, Wideload Games, in 2004, which was then acquired by Disney in 2009. After rising to senior vice president and general manager of Core Games for Disney Interactive, Seropian left in 2012 to found Industrial Toys, which has been developing Midnight Star ever since.

Midnight Star is available now on the App Store for free with bonus items available as in-app purchases.