The Dragon Prince: Xadia Will Change How You Experience the Netflix Show

Developer Wonderstorm explains how The Dragon Prince: Xadia is both a companion to the animated series and an entirely new way to experience it.

The Dragon Prince: Xadia
Photo: Wonderstorm

One of the most original animated series currently running on Netflix is The Dragon Prince. Produced by the multimedia studio Wonderstorm, with its sixth season set to premiere on July 26. This season’s release coincides with the launch of the long-awaited mobile game, The Dragon Prince: Xadia.

In development by Wonderstorm for approximately as long as the television series, Xadia marks Wonderstorm’s unified vision of producing transmedia content for its properties. In small teams, players choose their favorite Dragon Prince characters and go on various quests around Xadia in fast-paced, intuitive battles optimized for mobile devices.

In an interview with Den of Geek at Summer Game Fest 2024, Wonderstorm chief creative officer and The Dragon Prince co-creator Justin Richmond and Wonderstorm president Justin Santistevan shared the development history of the game, explained how it invites players into the world of The Dragon Prince to explore for themselves, and tease what fans can expect when The Dragon Prince: Xadia launches July 30.

Realizing the Dream of Wonderstorm

Before the advent of Netflix Games and Netflix’s announced intentions to branch into the gaming industry, Wonderstorm was created to have its team make games and shows simultaneously in-house. This synergy is reflected in The Dragon Prince: Xadia‘s gameplay and overall presentation, which match the animation style and tone of the show. Meanwhile, its impressive roster of playable characters each have distinct play styles that reflect their personalities. This extends to the voice acting and writing behind the game being the same as the show.

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“Because everybody is in-house, it’s a lot easier to have those conversations,” Richmond explains. “All the designers and programmers know the show and how it works. They would already be ready with suggestions for a character, like Rayla being able to go into Moonshadow form. Hopefully, all the characters should feel like themselves. Having all the original voice actors play their characters means you’ll be able to hear all your favorite voices again. The writers of the game are the same writers from the show. That’s how it all worked.”

Working with Netflix to produce both an animated series and a tie-in game was among the first discussions Wonderstorm had with the streaming giant. This makes the process of playing The Dragon Prince: Xadia after viewing the show on a mobile device relatively seamless, with a prompt on the show’s screen allowing audiences to download and play the game. Wonderstorm credits Netflix for its years of support with both the series and game to help make this process an empowering one. 

“[Netflix] had aspirations, and they were doing interactive storytelling and some experiences like that, but it’s been really awesome seeing them get interested in games just in time for us to publish this and bring it out with Season 6 of the show,” Santistevan reflects. “It’s really the dream of Wonderstorm to have this transmedia place. Netflix, as a creative partner has enabled us to make a game that we want and tell the story that we want in the show. Having all that in the same partner that understands the show, the fans, and is supportive of that vision has been really empowering.”

Building an Immersive Xadia

Several of the fantasy realms of Xadia’s visually distinct environments are available to play in, with the game affording fans the chance to go deeper and more immersively into the world than they had watching the show. The game also offers new areas and characters to the world of The Dragon Prince, including operators who give players their various quests as they explore this fantasy continent.

“The border is one of the regions and part of it looks very similar to what you’ve seen in the show, but there’s all these new things you and the characters will find as they go into these places and really dig in and be in a place for more than five minutes,” Richmond shares. “In the show, you’re going through plot and moving through narratives, so sometimes there’s not enough time to really explore a place. Giving a player the chance to play in that place for a number of hours is really rewarding.”

So much of the fantasy genre, at large, focuses on questing parties banding together to embark on epic adventures and The Dragon Prince is no different, with this trope driving the series’ narrative forward. This spirit of teamwork and camaraderie extends to the game, with Xadia providing a particularly rewarding experience for players working together towards a common goal as they battle through waves of enemies during their dungeon crawl.

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“We set out to make a cooperative game and deliberately chose not to go into PVP,” Richmond observes. “The Dragon Prince is about helping each other and working together, so we definitely wanted to capture that spirit. You can play the game alone if you want to, we have a mode where you can play by yourself. But the big fun, as you level up and get more powerful, is from playing together. Making sure those experiences are always additive, that the kids feel like they synergize together, play well together, and help each other out, is a big way that we designed the game.”

Adding New Faces and Furry Friends

Players can select anyone from Soren and Rayla to Claudia and Viren to experience the game as, The Dragon Prince: Xadia introduces a brand-new character to the property: the Skywing Elf Zeff. A tank character, the developers reveal Zeff is canonical to the world of the show though they haven’t been seen so far in the series. The developers remain coy on the specific details surrounding Zeff but tease that they will not be alone when they arrive in the story.

“We haven’t announced yet who we’ve cast to play them, but it’s an amazing character that we think fans will fall in love with. They’re part of a ragtag group of adventurers,” Santistevan teases. “A lot of the humor and charm that you find in The Dragon Prince comes out. We hope people fall in love with Zeff and we get to tell more stories with them.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be The Dragon Prince if players didn’t get some adorable companions to accompany them throughout their adventures. More than just Bait and undersea creatures like lobstrosities, there is a whole myriad of pets players can choose from. Richmond expressed a particular affinity for the Crowmaster’s Crow and a pet modeled after his dog while Santistevan has a preference for a cute, fidgety hermit crab. The developers especially enjoyed creating pets for the game and hope players will embrace the cute companions.

“Not only are there little versions of Pyrrah and other characters that you see in the show, there are also all kinds of new wildlife. We went hog-wild, there are all sorts of new, crazy stuff you see there, which is awesome. They don’t have any abilities, but they’re with you hanging out,” Richmond notes. “There’s an in-game shop that gives you an in-session level-up, similar to Hades or League of Legends. Those are actually run by the pets, they stand there and you give them pet treats that you’ve earned in the game for them to give you the upgrades. It becomes a core part of the gameplay and there are a lot of them. There’s something for everybody in terms of the pet choices.”

The Dragon Prince: Xadia launches July 30 for iOS and Android devices and is available to pre-register for Netflix subscribers on the App Store and on Google Play.

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