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How Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew is an Immersive Controller Experience on Xbox Series X|S


  • Captivating self-published Stealth Strategy game for Xbox Series X/S.
  • Gripping Xbox Wireless controller-optimized experience.
  • An unparalleled blend of stealth and strategy.

Our highly anticipated Stealth Strategy pirate game Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew is now available for Xbox Series X|S. It’s the perfect time to have a closer look at how we designed Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew to be an intuitive experience played with an Xbox wireless controller and why it’s our most immersive console experience yet.

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Following the acclaimed games Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun and Desperados IIIShadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew is now available for Xbox Series X|S. It is the new and first self-published stealth strategy game by Mimimi Games. Set in the Lost Caribbean during an alternate history of the Golden Age of Piracy, you join the Red Marley, a ghost ship with a living soul, and assemble a cursed pirate crew. Embrace supernatural powers to defy the menacing army of the Inquisition of the Burning Maiden, who stands between you and the mysterious treasure of the legendary Captain Mordechai.

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Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew is an intuitive and immersive stealth strategy experience on Xbox Series X|S, combining a gripping stealth experience with clever strategic thinking, designed for the Xbox wireless controller from the start. Stealth strategy games are no longer only best played on PC with mouse and keyboard. With our new game Xbox players will have the best possible stealth strategy experience playing with an Xbox Wireless controller without compromising on anything.

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In this blog post, our Head of Design Moritz “Mo” Wagner delves into the exciting details of how we’ve successfully crafted an exceptional stealth strategy experience for console players on Xbox.

Turning Stealth Strategy into a Console Genre

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Mo takes you through the process of designing the game to be played seamlessly with a gamepad on console. Something we at Mimimi Games started as early as 2016 with Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

“Traditionally, console players have been more wary of playing stealth strategy games that feature an isometric camera perspective – because of counter-intuitive user interfaces and complex controls that usually work better with mouse and keyboard on PC. However, with Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew we built on our expertise of designing stealth strategy games – since Shadow Tactics in 2016 – for an enveloping game experience on Xbox consoles with an Xbox wireless controller from the start; even convincing traditional mouse & keyboard players that playing with a controller can be a valid alternative. This makes the game very accessible and easy to pick up, especially to players new to the genre.”

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Shadow Gambit elevates what we have built in terms of gamepad controls over the last years and delivers an intuitive, immersive experience when played on an Xbox Series X|S with controller. With a tailored controller interface, players can access all the necessary information seamlessly. The game features a specially designed “follow cam movement” for easy level navigation, smooth camera angle changes, and direct control over the player characters, which can feel more natural and immediate compared to clicking with a mouse.”

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Why the Camera Makes the Difference

Mo explains why this is such an important step for us at Mimimi Games to ensure Xbox players get the most out of our games:

“This is a huge change, since in our previous games, a lot of “camera-work” was required when playing with a gamepad. You always had to move the camera around yourself which can be counter-intuitive for Xbox players who are often used to a camera conveniently following their characters. In Shadow Gambit the camera now follows the player by default and can be locked into place or re-positioned if needed. This allows for a very smooth and individual approach to each enemy encounter while using the gamepad comfortably.”

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“Rotating and zooming the camera now works without having to press an extra button. This goes hand in hand with the open structured islands we designed as levels for Shadow Gambit – you can approach targets from any angle and adjust the camera according to your needs. Our main goal with the changes was to make playing a stealth strategy game more natural for players who are used to consoles. Now they feel right at home from the start compared to our previous game where they were faced with a steeper learning curve and had to get used to the camera handling before enjoying a smooth gameplay experience.”

How We Improved the Gamepad Controls

“The controls are all about getting into the details to design the experience as smooth and natural as possible.”, Mo continues: “We made a lot of small quality of life improvements that have a huge impact – for example changing Afia’s ‘Blink’ ability (a long range dash allowing her to stab people with her saber from a distance) in a way that you don’t need to target an enemy directly with it. It will be aimed automatically but can be adjusted manually. Players now don’t have to press a lot of unnecessary buttons for one simple action like that.”

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“We accounted for gamepad controls as much as we did for mouse & keyboard from the start. When we created new abilities, we always made sure they worked with both input methods in the first place. This approach helped us to create more fun to use skills for Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew overall. Aside from that, activating the planning mode enables you to pause the game to sync and queue up the different magical abilities of your crewmate for a coordinated attack. This way you can take your time to make tactical decisions and think about your next move. Using this mode will often make you feel like a brilliant mastermind, when your plan clicks perfectly into place!”

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Bringing this feeling of outsmarting your enemy to Xbox and conveying it in the best way possible was important for us while working on Shadow Gambit, as Mo emphasizes:

“It matters to us to reach new players on Xbox Series X|S and show them how fun and immersive the stealth strategy genre can be. You don’t have to be a hardcore PC player or genre veteran to enjoy our games. Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew is designed to be a very flexible experience where players can find their own solutions to every challenge and moment in the game. It’s your playground to experiment in! This is true for mission and enemy encounters, as well as the crew members you take with you on each mission and the skills you combine. But we also designed the controls with that in mind, ensuring that playing with a gamepad makes the game just as accessible and fun as with mouse and keyboard. You don’t have to make any compromises and will enjoy the best gameplay possible on Xbox Series X|S with our improved controller features.”

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Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew is now available for Xbox Series X|S. Find out more or purchase the game directly on the official Xbox Store Page.

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Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew

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Ahoy, cursed pirate! This is Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew, an all-new stealth strategy game set during an alternate history of the Golden Age of Piracy. The Curse of Lost Souls haunts the mysterious island chain known as the Lost Caribbean, which is under the control of the terrible forces of the Inquisition. They despise all that is supernatural and use soul devouring fire to hunt cursed pirates like you! Assemble Your Cursed Pirate Crew: Embark on a journey with cursed pirate Afia and seek the legendary Black Pearls to revive a cursed crew of your own. Each of your eight shipmates is a playable character with an individual personality and armed with unique supernatural powers. Launch friend or foe with Gaëlle's magical cannon, use Mr. Mercury's soul anchor to open a magic portal or dash across spacetime for split second stealth attacks with Afia's mythical sword. Outsmart Your Enemy: Pull-off an epic heist and salvage a mysterious treasure of otherworldly power to defy the army of the Inquisition. Infiltrate their fortresses. Sneak behind enemy lines. Cleverly combine the magical skills of your crew to take out a variety of enemies with carefully considered tactics. Feel like a brilliant mastermind when your plan clicks perfectly into place! Your Ship, Your Home: Join The Red Marley, a ghost ship with a living soul. On deck, plan your next adventure or just hang out with your crew mates while they enjoy their un-life. Get to know these legendary cursed pirates of the Lost Caribbean. With individual character missions find out about their backstories, learn who they are and what led them on their cursed journeys. Explore the Lost Caribbean: Go ashore a variety of exotic islands in the Lost Caribbean. From locales oozing with cursed soul magic to tropical beaches and lively pirate shanty towns: Every island is a unique hand-crafted sandbox where adventures await. Play It Your Way: Freely select your crew members before embarking on each mission. Utilize their unique abilities to find new strategies against the forces of the Inquisition. Plot your own path to enter and exit each island, be stealthy or more head-on in your play style and use the environment to your advantage. It's your playground to experiment in! Manipulate Time and Experiment: The powerful time-manipulating magic of your ghost ship is yours to wield. Pause time to consider your strategic choices or queue up multiple character actions. Capture a memory of every passing moment, to instantly return to if things go south. Change your approach and tactics to discover own unique solutions to each moment in the game – in your own time!