Interviews Category

We ask tough questions. Whether the devs answer them truthfully — or at all — is on them! [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

A tour of RIFT 3.6: Celebration of the Ascended

When an MMO hits its fifth anniversary, one hopes that the game’s studio would pull out all of the stops to mark the occasion. Five years seems to be a tipping point from a fresh, young game into a more mature, established MMO that’s found its place in the industry.

Five years ago, RIFT launched with its vision of a fantasy world under constant attacks by elemental planes, dragons, and apocalyptic plans. Since then, the game has added countless featured, pushed out two full expansions, switched business models, and greatly enlarged the pool of souls from which players could build their own classes. Now the title is throwing a massive party for its fifth birthday with Update 3.6: Celebration of the Ascended.

We sat down with Trion Worlds to look at how this large patch will not only add on to the yearly carnival but will throw in a batch of new souls, one for each calling. It was a whirlwind tour that ultimately stressed how dedicated the team was to adding onto and refining the game that they clearly love.

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Final Fantasy XIV producer letter pokes and prods at Patch 3.3 and 3.4 features

Stop the presses, go home from school early, and call off from work — the latest Final Fantasy XIV producer letter is here. As with most of FFXIV’s “letters,” this video is absolutely massive and kicks off with several questions from the community as answered by the team.

Topics du jour include a slight delay for the implementation of Summoner egis glamours, healer accuracy, the next two patches, the Alexander fights, adjustments to the PvP Feast, upcoming player apartments, and a possible collaboration with Phantasy Star Online 2. Good news for Fenrir lovers, too: The mount will indeed fly come Patch 3.3.

The letter also contains over an hour of an interview with Lead UI Artist Hiroshi Minagawa and his contributions to the game. You can read the quick-and-dirty digest of the letter on the forums or watch the feature-length film version below.

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Star Citizen’s Around the Verse teases procedurally generated planets

This week’s Star Citizen Around the Verse video sees Cloud Imperium’s Sandi Gardiner and Ben Lesnick discussing the game’s 2.4 patch, explaining the plan for new local merchandise shipping warehouses to ship out collector edition boxes and other swag to players, and checking in with the LA, Austin, and Foundry 42 teams. There’s also an interview with Designer Director Todd Papy, who addresses work on the persistent universe:

“So with the PU obviously we’re starting to really dig into the mission system. One of our goals in particular is to make sure that we’re introducing non-combat centric roles. Just because right now we know everything centers around fighting. Now part of that was just taking what we had in AC and now it’s just a bigger playground. But now we’re going through talking about cargo, salvage, rescue, escorting, and I think about five other ones that we felt were unique to … or what we felt we could do a really cool take on in Star Citizen and really start fleshing out the world and making sure that it has these other roles that the players can go and actually do and just not shoot everything.”

But what seems to have caught everyone’s attention is the tease of upcoming stuff starting around 41:30; it’s less than a minute’s worth of walk-around on a procedurally generated planet. Watch below!

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Chaos Theory: Tomb-raiding The Secret World’s Issue #14 with Funcom

Remember that Indiana Jones-inspired outfit from The Secret World’s Issue #6? Today is a great day to dust it off and slip it on because Issue #14’s release returns us to the tomb-raiding life, complete with temples and doom!

Called Call of the Nameless, this newest adventure not only returns to Egypt but returns to the epic self-contained story line style found in Issues #5 through 7. There is little argument that those issues are some of the best storytelling in TSW and encapsulate the heart of the game, and it is precisely this that Game Director Romain Amiel wanted to return to.

So how does Call of the Nameless measure up to to the likes of The Vanishing of Tyler Freeborn? Is it dark? Oh, yes — it is quite literally dark. Does it have story? Yes — it even has a literal story. Although I haven’t experienced the full thing (that’s saved for my OPTV stream series starting tonight at 9:00 p.m. EDT!), I did get a decent taste of the story, the atmosphere, and the mechanics during yesterday’s tour with Amiel and Community Manager Andy Benditt. And yes, I am hungry for more. Read on for my impressions of Issue #14 before it launches today, sans significant spoilers.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 58: More Camelot Unchained questions answered

Surprise! It’s a bonus episode of the Massively OP Podcast this week — hope you don’t mind! After bringing your questions to Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs in yesterday’s podcast, we had so many left over that he agreed to do a follow-up episode with more answers. Jacobs gets into topics such as the subscription model, classes, and foundational principles. Many thanks again to him for letting us grill him for over two hours for these shows!

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.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 57: Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs

After taking in scads of questions from our readers about Camelot Unchained, we roped in Mark Jacobs to see how many of them he could answer in a tight hour! It’s everything you wanted to know about this Arthurian RvR title — and then some. Even if you’re not into Camelot Unchained, we think you’ll find this episode a fascinating look into the development process. (And if we don’t answer your question, check back tomorrow: This one’s a two-parter!)

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.

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Star Citizen’s Erin Roberts: ‘Persistence is very close’

The latest edition of Star Citizen’s 10 for the Chairman stars not Chris Roberts himself but Global Head of Production and Foundry 42 Studio Director Erin Roberts, who characterizes his relationship with his brother as good one but says that ultimately, “Chris is the CEO”: “Chris is very much out there pushing the direction of the project. He’s basically pushing for the stars. […] My job is really just to make sure as all this stuff is getting moved forward and all the ideas are out there.” In other words, he’s the guy you want answering 10 for the Chairman anyway!

According to the INN’s transcript, the Persistent Universe component of Star Citizen features in several questions. “[R]ight now we’re really focusing on the fundamentals of getting, especially the Persistent Universe, getting the Stanton system in place, getting the core sort of features such as persistence so you basically can earn money, you can trade, you can do mining and so forth,” Roberts explains. “Those are the first things we’re focusing on, also some of the smaller things around that, like what’s it mean if you do a cargo run, how do you have abilities apparent to intercept cargo, how does that work.”

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Guest Interview: Lusternia, MUDs, and the evolution of MMOs

This guest interview was commissioned through Massively Overpowered’s 2015 Kickstarter campaign by donor Brett Richards, who interviewed Lusternia Producer Robb French in lieu of a Soapbox. Any opinions here represent the views of our guest interviewer and his interviewee, not necessarily Massively OP itself. Enjoy!

MUDs like Lusternia (official site) get little love in the MMO community but are still wildly popular among a select group of players as one of the last bastions of text-based gaming. I credit Lusternia for helping me survive and overcome quite a dark period of depression and self-doubt in my younger days. I believe that the immersive world and wonderful players I’ve met there provided me the freedom to experiment with and eventually express parts of my identity with an online persona that I couldn’t otherwise, not to mention improved my social and computer skills to no end. The self-awareness I developed through play has helped me become a healthier and more complete person in real life – or at least I hope so!

That’s why I’ve chosen to interview Lusternia Producer Robb French for my donated piece here on MOP. Let me slip into my alter ego, Elryn, to have a chat with Estarra, the Creatrix of the Multiverse known as Lusternia.

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Pantheon hopes to ‘bring back the magic’ of classic MMOs ‘without the tedium’

Gamers Nexus has a timely video interview with Pantheon’s Brad McQuaid that might allay the fears of those watching the development of his old-school MMO.

“The main thing we want to bring back is a social game, a cooperative game, where players need each other, […] have time to make real friendships, [and] can really call the game a home,” McQuaid tells the interviewer, acknowledging the challenge of mixing newer gamers who are interested in co-op PvE play (but unaccustomed to it) and older gamers who miss old-school play but lack time for excesses.

“A lot of the needless repetition, too much grinding, sitting there for hours working on your factions… and we’re trying to keep the sessions shorter,” he explains. “We’re targeting around a two-hour session so that a person can still log on with his friends, play a couple of hours, and have a sense of accomplishment. […] And it doesn’t have to be a six-, eight-, ten-hour crazy session because it’s just not really compatible with people’s lives anymore. […] If we can bring back that magic without the tedium or the excessive time or the excessive grind, I think that’s the way to go.”

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Navigating through Neverwinter’s Maze Engine

After the “big missteps” involved in Elemental Evil, Cryptic is looking to put Neverwinter back on top of its game with this week’s Maze Engine content update. It’s not looking to rewrite the game but to continue the story set up in the previous expansion while responding to community feedback.

Making our way through the Maze Engine was tricky, which is why we enlisted the help of Cryptic Producer Landon Falls to give us a tour of what to expect when the patch lands tomorrow. Lean, mean, and chock-full of every Forgotten Realms iconic character that could be ripped from the pages of R.A. Salvatore, The Maze Engine has plenty of delights and surprises in store for adventurers.

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Interview: How sci-fi CCG Star Crusade is more than just Hearthstone in space

Ever wish you could play Hearthstone but with a sci-fi feel instead? Apparently the people at ZiMAD Games felt that way, as they’re behind the recent early access online CCG Star Crusade. I admit that during the first few games, the game could easily be mistaken for an HS clone in space. However, little differences start to add up to create something that at least proved to me the game immediately has a different meta-game than what I’d find in Hearthstone. Oh, and the idea of a 2v2 co-op mode is something we’ll probably not see in HS for awhile, so I figured I’d talk to producer Alex Rechevskiy about where the game is right now and where it’s going.

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H1Z1’s delayed patch arrives this week

The latest H1Z1 producer’s letter has arrived, this one focusing on the Just Survive half of the now-split zombie survival sandbox. Daybreak begins by saying that it will continue to balance trade delays, which were instituted to help the devs “deal with significant organized fraud being attempted against the marketplace.” The studio aims to “make changes going forward to try [to] find that balance between convenience and fraud control.”

As to Just Survive, Daybreak says it had planned to push out its zombie update on Friday, but things didn’t go to plan.

“This update failed internally and as we started to unravel it, we determined that it would be easier to cease that effort and begin getting ready for a full update to our test servers which had not happened in some time. We are in the final stages of testing that update right now.”

The new patch will include those zombies, plus better zombie AI, a test for base building restrictions, and a visual upgrade. Expect it on Wednesday.

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Firor says Elder Scrolls Online’s success ‘has gone a bit under the radar’

If you are hankering to see Elder Scrolls Online’s Director Matt Firor squirm uncomfortably with the game being labeled as an “MMO,” then have we got the interview for you! In a discussion with UK’s Metro, Firor repeatedly and vehemently tries to divorce the MMO label from ESO while talking up how the game is progressing and what players should look forward to when the Thieves Guild DLC comes on March 22nd.

ESO is doing awesomely! Our success has gone a bit under the radar so to speak, but we are very happy with where we are,” Firor reported. “ESO has been super-successful at taking gamers not used to massive online games, introducing them to the concepts of group play by making it fun and optional, and turning them into online gamers.”

And if that’s not enough interview for you, then check out the following chat on Deltia’s Gaming with the devs about the upcoming Thieves Guild trial that players will encounter.

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