Can KLab Redeem Itself with the New Bleach Hybrid Game After Brave Souls?

A still from BLEACH: Thousand-Year Blood War - The Separation

KLab has announced the upcoming release of a new Bleach hybrid game based on the popular anime series’ Thousand-Year Blood War arc.

As someone who has played the Bleach: Brave Souls mobile game for years, the news of KLab making a new hybrid casual game based on the Thousand-Year Blood War story arc has us feeling excited but also a bit unsure. On one hand, the idea of a brand new Bleach gaming experience sounds amazing. But on the other hand, our time with Brave Souls makes us cautious about how good this new game will really be.

Here’s what we know about the game so far, and our honest opinion on whether you should be looking forward to it at all.

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KLab announces a Bleach Hybrid Game

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Bleach. (Image credit goes to IMDB)

KLab, the developer behind the long-running Bleach: Brave Souls mobile game, has officially announced they are creating an all-new “hybrid casual” game based on the iconic Bleach anime series. Specifically, this new game will be focused on the Thousand-Year Blood War story arc.

One of the coolest parts of this announcement is that the new game should be available almost everywhere across the globe, except China. With Japanese and English language options, KLab seems to be making this a worldwide Bleach gaming event to prepare for Bleach’s grand finale.

More details about the rest of the gameplay are still limited. KLab has only just acquired the rights to develop this game, so chances are that it will take a long while before we hear anything else about it.

KLab explains what they mean by “Hybrid” Game

Quincies Bleach TYBW
Image Courtesy of Studio Pierrot

So, what exactly is a “hybrid casual” game?

According to KLab, it combines the simple pick-up-and-play nature of casual mobile games with the depth and longevity typically seen in online games. The goal is to provide an accessible experience that is easy to get into, while also offering enough content and gameplay to keep fans engaged for an extended period.

In theory, this sounds perfect. But we’ve seen promising ideas not work out before due to poor execution or bad monetization practices. And if there’s anyone you can count on for bad execution, it is KLab.

Will the new Bleach Game be any different from what KLab has done before? Here’s what we expect

 

Based on KLab’s track record with their previous Bleach mobile game Brave Souls, it’s hard to get overly excited about their ambitions for this new “hybrid casual” Thousand-Year Blood War title.

For years, BBS suffered from many of the worst free-to-play mobile game pitfalls – excessive nickel-and-diming of players, lottery-based gacha systems designed to milk whales, and a general pay-to-win philosophy that undermined fair gameplay. While KLab made some improvements over time, the damage had already been done in alienating a large segment of the fanbase.

  • The fact that KLab is touting microtransactions as a revenue stream for this new Bleach game alongside ads is an ominous sign. That very likely means we’re getting another gacha-style system with randomized character/item pulls funded by real money. As exciting as collecting fan-favorite characters can be, these schemes so often devolve into predatory and manipulative tactics.

We want to hope KLab truly has learned from the Brave Souls missteps and will implement a more consumer-friendly monetization approach for this new Thousand-Year Blood War experience. Their stated goal of making it more “enjoyable” for the global fanbase hopefully means putting good gameplay first over blatant money grabs.

Final Verdict?

So while we’ll definitely recommend giving the new Bleach game a chance if you enjoy the series, we think it’s better to have extremely modest expectations going in.

  • We’re honestly not counting on this game to be revolutionary or somehow break new ground in mobile gaming. A reasonably fun but flawed gacha experience filled with the usual manipulative monetization seems like the most plausible outcome.

KLab has the opportunity here to regain trust and goodwill. But if this new Bleach game amounts to yet another aggressive cash grab masquerading as a “game”, it’ll only further erode their reputation among the passionate fanbase. Here’s hoping they choose to genuinely build an enjoyable anime tie-in experience first, and let the monetization take a backseat for once.

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