It has now been seven months since John Smedley shut down Pixelmage Games and took his team over to Amazon Game Studios to set up shop in San Diego. We’ve been greatly curious about what game he’s been heading — and if it is an MMO — but until recently Smed has stayed out of the spotlight to get work done.
This is why we’ve perked up to see him sit down with VentureBeat for an extended interview about his new employer and his take on the direction that the industry is heading. He has a lot of opinions on just about everything, ranging from virtual reality to Twitch integration to the rise of e-sports.
If you’re hoping that the notoriously chatty Smedley was going to reveal what game his studio is making, you’re in for disappointment. He indicates that he’s very excited about the project but is tight-lipped about specifics.
On this week’s show, Justin and Bree break down the big Guild Wars 2 news, celebrate FFXIV’s momentous milestone, muse about Dual Universe, and more! We also have a special interview with H1Z1: Just Survive Creative Director Ben Jones about the massive overhaul to this survival sandbox.
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now:
Remember the survival version of H1Z1? If not, we can’t say that we blame you: Since Daybreak split the game in two, the bulk of development and attention has gone to the last-man standing tournament mode. Just check out how many patches and tournaments H1Z1: King of the Kill has seen! Those wanting to focus on the survival side of things were just out of luck as those servers seriously languished.
But all that changes today. No longer will H1Z1 Just Survive be lost in its sibling’s shadow; from here on out, Just Survive is its own game. And the name isn’t the only thing changing; beyond a rebranding, the entire game has gotten quite an overhaul.
I sat down with Creative Director Ben Jones for a tour of the many changes that go live today. We traveled the new map, investigated new POIs, visited the new safe zone respawn points (a few times!), met NPCs, checked out the new economy, and peeked at the new stronghold system. Jones also assured me that with its own development team, Just Survive will be receiving regular updates going forward. Will it be enough to bring players back? It worked for me. I had stopped playing the title quite a while ago (as I had no interest in KotK), but what I’ve seen now has me excited to give it another go.
Hey, kids! Want to read a big long interview with Cliff Bleszinski about launching LawBreakers? Because you probably shouldn’t read it if you’re an actual kid. There’s a lot of swearing and one anti-government rant in there about having to get your car inspected. But there is some useful information therein, like how Bleszinski thinks that streaming the LawBreakers alpha testing was a mistake that gave people the wrong impression. He also thinks that the title’s initial poor numbers are a reflection of the game in a live state is more about a marathon than a sprint, that the numbers will come naturally over time.
Bleszinski goes on to state that the game is meant to appeal to core shooter audiences rather than having what he describes as “kiddy bumpers” and an aesthetic moving away from what he refers to as “Anna and Elsa running around killing the zombies.” If you don’t mind a lot of swearing, by all means, check out the full interview.
If you thought that Ubisoft’s Skull and Bones pirate MMO wasn’t going to have lootboxes, seriously, what rock are you living under? (And is it comfy? And can you maybe scoot over and make room for the rest of us?)
In a new interview with Gamespot, Ubisoft creative director Justin Farren says that the studio is going for “more of a service-based approach so that when you pay for this game, you have a commitment from us to develop content, new gameplay, modes, new content for the player to earn, and then of course, new regions to explore, and those things will unfold as the game launches and provide service over time.”
“We don’t want to create pay to win,” he says. “We don’t want to create something where players have to pay to compete. Our PvP is completely horizontal in a way that gives players a chance to develop their skills and compete against other players.”
But Overwatch-style lootboxes are definitely still on the table.
VR-centric website Road to VR has a brief quote from Cloud Imperium Games that might be good news to those of you still hoping to someday see Star Citizen in virtual reality.
“Nothing new really to report here,” CIG told the publication in response to its status request. “We do plan on having VR support for Star Citizen. But it’s just having to fit in as a technology with all the other tech that we are currently incorporating into the game. As I’m sure you know, VR technology is evolving quickly. As with anything that fits this category, we are going to spend the time to make sure it’s integrated properly for our game.”
Indeed, as one Redditor points out, the game’s latest Around the Verse, which we covered Friday, features what is basically an in-game holo-watch dubbed mobiGlas; during that segment, CIG explained that it’s kept VR in mind while designing it.
It seems fair to say that one of the most exciting aspects of Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire
for fans is the announcement of the nine new elite specializations. Each class is getting a new one of these with a different weapon than those classes have been able to use in the past, and the devs have had their hands full in whipping up these creative builds.
YouTuber WoodenPotatoes sat down with the elite specializations team at ArenaNet yesterday and talked about the creation of the new builds, especially in light of the efforts of the team for what they did back with Heart of Thorns.
“We had some ideas and because we had a little more time this time around, we able to think on these ideas a little more and make sure that they were more fleshed out,” the team said.
Check out the full interview after the break!
The Elder Scrolls Online
continues with its quarterly release schedule despite the recent launch of its next chapter: Morrowind
. ZeniMax Online Studios
named its next DLC Horns of the Reach
and it’s releasing this month. This DLC features two dungeons Bloodroot Forge and Falkreath Hold. And we bet you want to take a look!
The Stream Team invited Elder Scrolls Online‘s Creative Director Rich Lambert to join us today as we explored the later of the two dungeons, Falkreath Hold. So tune in at 2:00 p.m. EST as our ESO columnist Larry Everett and Rich Lambert a gather a team of developers to tackle the latest ESO content.
What: Elder Scrolls Online
Who: Larry Everett and ZOS Creative Director Rich Lambert
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017
Enjoy the show!
Catching up with the Black Desert developer Pearl Abyss at ChinaJoy 2017, MMO Culture wrung out of the team a short but informative interview about the future of the fantasy sandbox.
The team said that posted pictures of the male Ranger doesn’t mean that one is on the horizon; there is no playable version of the class as of yet. However, there is a new server on the way for Southeast Asia, with a closed beta test coming before the end of the year. We should also be seeing a trailer for the promised mobile version of Black Desert sometime this September.
Interesting news all around, and coupled with the new awakening system, it should give an injection of public interest in the title.
Lord of the Rings Online
players are on pins and needles this week, wondering if they only have a few days before the expansion or if Standing Stone Games
will exercise its option to delay Mordor
by up to a month. According to a dev post
on the forums yesterday, the target date of July 31st is still a go for launch.
“We typically don’t say more than what we already have until after we hold a meeting to confirm everything is set, and then confirm it by posting the downtime notice,” posted the studio about a release date announcement. “That said, it was included in the pre-purchase page, and at this time at least we have no indication it will not happen then. So, we’re still on track for the 31st.”
Meanwhile, SSG was happy to talk about the new High Elf race (which is not being included in the base Mordor edition but can only be acquired by purchasing a more expensive bundle or waiting until winter when it goes on sale in the store).
Curious about astrophysics? The Massively OP Podcast brought on a special guest for a fun holiday bonus ‘cast back in 2015 to answer a ton of listener questions on the topic
Don’t call him a space tourist, but if you want to pick his brain, Richard Garriott is all yours for the afternoon.
Lord British himself will sit for a Reddit Ask Me Anything this afternoon on /r/space as space enthusiasts ask him all about his experiences being a private astronaut. The AMA’s being promoted by NBC’s science wing, which last week hosted a long-form piece by Garriott in which he discussed his lifelong space flight dreams and how he finally realized them, though he shut down the “space tourist label” pretty hard.
Garriott is of course best known to MMO players as one of the founding fathers of the genre thanks to Ultima Online; he’s currently leading Shroud of the Avatar at the helm of his company Portalarium. Most recently, he published a memoir and publicly committed SOTA to Neverdie’s peer-to-peer online money trading venture.
The AMA kicks off at 3 p.m. EDT today, just as this post goes live.
We’ve been hearing a bit about Citadel: Forged With Fire, a new sandbox under development that focuses on magic. Now we have a chance to see it live in action: Massively OP’s MJ is jumping in the closed beta ahead of the public weekend to check it out. Even better, she’ll have a Denis Lanno, Community Manager/dev with her to talk about the game. Join us live at 11:00 a.m. to ask your questions about the upcoming sandbox.
What: Citadel: Forged With Fire
Who: MJ Guthrie & Devs
When: 11:00 a.m. EDT on Friday, July 21st, 2017
Summertime does seem to be ripe territory for MMORPGs to release sizable content updates in the hopes of keeping players occupied and luring back in the bored and nomadic in the larger community.
Making a pitch for your attention today is RIFT, which has just released the latest segment of its Prophecy of Ahnket expansion cycle with Patch 4.2: Celestial Storm. As players head into the newest endgame zone of the MMO, what will they discover?
A few words on that: Beauty. Challenge. Epic feuds. Rewards. And a crapton to do.