Behind the Name "Icons: Combat Arena"

July 20, 2017

arrow down

The day after our gameplay announcement, we hopped on Reddit to answer hundreds of questions from the community. Over the coming weeks we will be posting the most popular questions. You can read the full thing here.

Behind the Name "Icons: Combat Arena"

One of the hardest things to keep under wraps has been the name itself - Icons: Combat Arena. We first had the idea over a year ago! Coming up with a short, memorable name that also describes the game, all while trying to add a new spin, brings all sorts of challenges.

We started with these requirements:

  • It had to be broader than something super specific to other platform fighters. We like "Wavedash" for our company name because it signals our background to the platform fighter community, but it's a pretty narrow name when applied to a game.
  • We wanted it to center on the characters and their goals.  
  • That said, we didn't want to retread using a synonym for fighters or myths, such as Legends, Champions, Heroes, etc. Pretty much 100% of the synonyms for "fighter" and "legend" are taken by other games.
  • It couldn't directly take from the name of another platform fighter. We are something new.
  • It had to get to the central motivation of the game. 

As we thought about what makes the competitive platform fighter community great, we realized the core motivations are self improvement, performance, and the thrill of competition in front of an audience. That audience could be a stadium of fans, thousands on stream, or the other three people on your couch.

With a new age in gaming of streamers and esports, we had an opportunity to build the game around the celebrity side of prize fights. This would set us apart from the many other games out there that are primarily selling the fantasy of "beat your opponent to a bloody pulp." Nothing wrong with that, of course - it's just not what drives us to keep playing platform fighters for hours and hours.

"Icons" hit every note we wanted. It gets to the performance side of fighting. It doesn't force a synonym of "champions" or "league". And, importantly, it was wide open in the video game space.  When we saw was available, that sealed it.

"Icons" is the Title; What About Combat Arena?

"Icons" hit the emotions we wanted for the title itself, but doesn't shout "video game!" on its own. It also has issues with search engine optimization. We realized we needed a subtitle in order to signal that this is a game, and to help people find us on Google.

We looked at titles like Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and Halo: Combat Evolved. These huge brands built around everything before the colon. The subtitle was there to get people in the first time and to help with SEO, but otherwise it melts away from view.

After many more rounds, we decided to be direct. "Combat Arena." We do combat, we're in an arena. It's in important part of the title, though in practice we all call it "Icons" internally. We expect that eventually the subtitle will become invisible and Icons will be what everyone remembers. 

Titling is hard, but we couldn't be happier with where we ended up - and we're excited we can finally say it out loud!