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Interviews

Not So Massively: Heroes of the Storm's new heroes, Dawngate's beta launch, and Diablo III's latest patch

Betas, Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Launches, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Diablo III, Hearthstone

NSM
Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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PAX East 2014: Erin Roberts on Star Citizen's development

Sci-Fi, Interviews, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen

It's a game about space shooters shooting space in space.
Star Citizen's backers have been waiting to see the game's dogfighting module in action for quite some time now, and it finally happened just before PAX East 2014. Unfortunately, it also wound up having some technical difficulties right at the beginning, which wasn't exactly what anyone had in mind when showing off the whole thing in action. It wasn't quite as bad as having the computer running the module burst into flames and die, but it was bad.

Do the developers regret it? Not a chance. We got a chance to sit down and talk to Squadron 42 producer Erin Roberts and were told, in no uncertain terms, that even hitting technical hiccups like that don't make a more private development cycle feel better. In a way, having the development cycle be so public actually makes technical hurdles less problematic for the company when they're encountered because the language is in place to keep a meaningful dialogue going with the fans.

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PAX East 2014: Pre-launch words with WildStar's Jeremy Gaffney

Sci-Fi, Economy, Interviews, Launches, Endgame, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

This is the sort of stuff that got me excited for the game in the first place.
WildStar is being released in about a month and a half. It feels as if it's been forever since the game first revealed its announcement trailer. Now we've finally got a release date in sight, and the last few features for the game are being revealed to the public. It's one of the last chances that we'll have to talk about the game before it releases.

On the last day of this year's PAX East, I had a chance to sit down with executive producer Jeremy Gaffney to chat a little bit more about the game before it launches. While the game has gone gold and the discs are being manufactured, the team is still refining and improving the game and plans to do so up until the day of launch. That meant talking about the endgame, the development process, and the changes that have been made already in the most recent stages of beta.

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PAX East 2014: State of Decay eyes multiplayer, stays offline

Horror, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Consoles, Events (Massively's Coverage), Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous

I know we're fleeing from zombies, but would you guys like to hit Burger King on the way?  Maybe... no?  All right.
The ground is fairly littered with zombie games of some sort these days. That isn't meant as a mark against Undead Labs' State of Decay, but it does raise questions of focus. How do you make a zombie game more unique? According to the studio's Jeff Strain at this year's PAX East, you focus upon building at the community level rather than individual survival. While games like DayZ focus on the personal, State of Decay is much more focused on the idea of putting society as a whole back together and trying to accumulate resources and structures for survivors as a whole.

Of course, most of our readers are more interested in what comes next, specifically Class4. That's the proposed sequel to State of Decay, previously codenamed Class3; it's meant to be a full MMO according to previous statements, a game in which you can worry about rebuilding not just a local community but the world as a whole. And Undead Labs certainly isn't hurting for talent that's familiar with online games, especially with the acquisition of ArenaNet co-founder Patrick Wyatt in January. So what's happening?

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PAX East 2014: The Repopulation's Josh Hall on the future of the game

Betas, Sci-Fi, Interviews, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, The Repopulation

Are you not entertained?
If you're looking for Kickstarter success stories, The Repopulation definitely qualifies. While the game hasn't yet been released, it's managed to run not one but two successful campaigns looking to fans for funding, and it's managed its development carefully to keep itself on track for release. The game feels like a well-managed professional affair. And it's been a bit more quiet, but that comes down largely to the focus on getting the game out of its current alpha state and into its first beta.

At this year's PAX East, I sat down to talk with Josh Hall, one of the core team members on the project, about where the game is in development and what it's heading for in the next few months. While the final alpha stage has taken slightly longer than originally planned, the team is on track for launching the first beta phase at some point over the summer, and it's eyeing further release plans.

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PAX East 2014: PlanetSide 2's Higby on weekly updates

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, PlanetSide 2

The influx is coming.
It's been three months since PlanetSide 2 started updating once every week, if you don't count one update that was pushed back simply because it wasn't quite ready. As creative director Matt Higby put it to me at this year's PAX East, the schedule comes second to making sure that every update is the best it can be. But it's still been quite a ride, and it means that the game has kept up a schedule that's astonishingly fast.

More than a year out from launch, Higby has a lot to say about the game's development process as well as the updates it's already undergone. It's not an unmitigated success story, but it's filled with a lot of lessons and improvements. And like any MMO, the game's development is far from finished. In PlanetSide 2's case, it's a complex process that requires supporting new players, veterans, casual gamers, and professional gaming, sometimes in unconventional fashions.

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PAX East 2014: Landmark's current tools and future crafts

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Sandbox, Landmark

Any pun based on the sky being the limit will sound cheesy, but eh.
We've all seen what gamers are capable of making in Minecraft. A quick search online turns up replicas of everything imaginable, sublime works of art, even inexplicable cat fountains. According to Dave Georgeson, this is exactly what led to the creation of Landmark, and by his own admission the development team owes Notch a Christmas card solely because of that. Without that limitation, Landmark wouldn't be what it is now, nor would it be developing into what it will eventually be.

At this year's PAX East, Georgeson explained to me that as much fun as Minecraft is, it lacks something crucial: a way for players to see all of these creations. Landmark, by contrast, is designed from the ground up not just to allow that sort of interaction but to actively encourage it. And that's only the beginning; the game's current status as a sort of super-Minecraft is the simplest core expression of the game's promise. By the time it's done, the whole point is to make a game that can be anything, a game for all seasons and tastes.

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Jukebox Heroes: Talking with The Repopulation's Steven Coltart

Sci-Fi, Interviews, Sandbox, Jukebox Heroes, Music, The Repopulation

The Repopulation
Massively: Even in the far distant future on alien worlds, we'll still need music. This is why it's great that Composer Steven Coltart is providing The Repopulation with an original soundtrack, because otherwise the silence would be too much to bear. So Steven, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Steven Coltart: I'm a full-time professional composer based in the UK and was commissioned to be lead composer on The Repopulation in 2013. Previous projects include Outer Empires, the first MMO of its kind created for iOS, which went on to sell over 200,000 copies and boasted the largest ever network of players online at that time. 2014 has seen me complete the soundtrack for a soon to be announced iOS game, and I'm currently putting the finishing touches to US-based sci-fi film Downward. I've worked incredibly hard to get to this point, but I'm lucky to have what I consider the best job in the world. Writing music for a living and getting to work with talented developers and producers, it doesn't get much better for me!

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Guild Wars 2 encourages patch mystery and player speculation

Fantasy, Interviews, Patches, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

GW2
Death to Guild Wars 2 patch notes? ArenaNet might not be going that far, but it may be getting a lot more secretive about them in the coming months.

In an interview on IGN today, Lead Developer Colin Johanson said that the team learned a lot from the first season of GW2's living world, especially how much the players loved to speculate and discover patch additions organically. He said that the team observed players becoming more engaged when ArenaNet dropped in content that wasn't spelled out in the patch notes.

Johanson said this trend will continue: "You don't know what's going to happen and you don't know what you're going to find. Every week you want to search every corner of the world because the next hint for the living world could be hidden anywhere."

Johanson talked about the great changes to the world, especially in regard to the team nuking the city of Lion's Arch. He mentioned a player who predicted that the event would occur back in January: "It was really interesting for us to see that, and to be able to point back at him and say, 'Hey man, you nailed it!' and to be able to call that out was really cool."

CCP's Valkyrie eyeing 'a really big transformation in how games are built and played'

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox

EVE Valkyrie
Eurogamer recent talked to CCP chief marketing guru David Reid about the company's place at the forefront of the fledgling virtual reality movement. EVE Valkryie was the first title to be publicly played on both the Oculus Rift (PC) and Sony's Morpheus (PS4), which puts CCP in the driver's seat in terms of VR game development.

"There aren't a lot of white papers and APIs and ways of doing these things yet," Reid explained. "We want to be a flagship game. We're on the cusp, potentially, of a really big transformation in how games are built and played, but we have to do our part to make sure that's worthwhile for everybody."

Reid also talks up Valkryie's connection to the economies in DUST 514 and EVE Online as well as its "rock/scissors/paper" game mechanics. "As I go into a battle and I earn skill points and I earn currency, I can translate those to having the capabilities to fly bigger, better different ships and can kit them differently," Reid says. "It's a fundamental mechanic of the EVE universe, in EVE Online and in DUST, and it'll be coming to Valkyrie as well."

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SOE's Georgeson on City of Heroes and the future of EQ

Fantasy, City of Heroes, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play

EverQuest II dungeon group
IGN has released another snippet of its recent interview with EverQuest franchise lead Dave Georgeson. Earlier today Georgeson talked up his enthusiasm for virtual reality, while this latest cut focuses on EverQuest, EverQuest II, and City of Heroes.

Yeah, you read that right, as apparently the late great superhero title was one of Georgeson's personal faves. "Everybody who plays any MMO never wants it to die," he says. "You invest a little bit of your soul in an MMO, you spend a lot of time in it and so on and so forth, so of course you never want one of them to die."

As for EQ and EQII, Georgeson says that SOE has "no intention of ever shutting those games down."

Ex-Red 5 staffers blast Mark Kern's 'destructive' behavior

Sci-Fi, Interviews, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Firefall

Mark Kern
If you wondered what was going on behind the scenes of Red 5 Studios turbulent past year, then a new exposé on Game Front might illuminate you.

Anonymous former employees of the Firefall studio allegedly came forward to spill the beans about mass layoffs, questionable decisions, and ex-CEO Mark Kern's erratic behavior. One person said that Kern's constantly shifting decisions caused severe stress on the team: "Months of work would be thrown out simply because he would change his mind, or he would have another 'revolutionary' idea."

Another anonymous ex-staffer said that Kern was worse than that: "When he did get involved in the production of the game itself he was simply destructive. He would swoop in one afternoon and berate a series of features several teams had spent months on, declaring they begin again and LISTEN to what he told them to do. He'd be back in a few days to see if it was done. This crushed morale, and forced people into spontaneous, isolated crunch mode. He would shout and scream his perspectives."

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip! Part three of the expose is now live as well.]

FFXIV's Yoshida on the business benefits of the subscription model

Fantasy, Business Models, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Final Fantasy XIV beholder mount
Final Fantasy XIV producer Naoki Yoshida recently expounded on the benefits of the subscription model in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz.

While he acknowledges the popularity of F2P, he also says that it's not necessarily the best choice for every MMO. "With the subscription model, you have that constant flow of revenue. As game developers, creators of games, we want to be able to continue providing the best gameplay experience and sustain that," Yoshida explained.

"Of course, the initial subscriber numbers might not be as many as the free-to-play model, but we have that constant stream. We're not thinking just about the business of the moment. We want to think about the long term and being able to have the funding to continue making updates. Some people might be focused on quickly gaining revenue, but you have to think about the long term."

Chaos Theory: Grand plans for The Secret World's Black Watchmen ARG

Horror, Real-Life, Events (Real-World), Interviews, The Secret World, Miscellaneous, Chaos Theory

Chaos Theory: Interview uncovers big plans for the new TSW-themed Black Watchmen ARG
Last week we revealed that a new persistent alternate reality game is in the works from Human Equation, the studio that brought us the pre-launch and End of Days ARGs for The Secret World. But that little introduction is just a drop in the bucket compared to what the company has planned for the community. Human Equation has bought the license to operate the Black Watchmen IP from Funcom, and that means TSW players, fans, and puzzle-enthusiasts have much more in store for them than they realize.

Although a major premise behind an ARG is figuring out clues and discovering information over time, I sat down and chatted with Andrea Doyon, the chief innovation officer (aka puppet master) for the ARG to bring you the scoop on those very plans. Check out all the details in this exclusive interview, including future job possibilities, and get a peek at two never-before-seen pieces of concept art.

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Elsword imports crossover character, Elesis, from Grand Chase

Fantasy, Classes, Interviews, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play

Elsword
If you're a fan of KOG Games' Elsword or Grand Chase -- or better yet, both -- then this morning's character launch will be of interest. The studio is bringing Grand Chase character Elesis, who happens to be the sister of title character Elsword, over to the game named Elsword. There's some wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff in there, we're sure.

According to the release, Elesis marks Elsword's first female melee character and a rare crossover promotion for the genre: "Elesis fights with steel and fire. [...] Starting her attacks by swinging her wicked fire-imbued Claymore, she gestures with her off hand for a flame-lash from below, all the while continuing to chain a sinister salvo of fire and blade attack combinations. [T]he more she attacks, the more powerful she becomes!"

We spoke to KOG Games about today's new roster addition. Read on!

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