Interviews Category

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

Bebopping through ArcheAge’s Bloodsong update with Trion

Sometimes the wait for new content is made worse when you see another region enjoying it long before you can. That’s how I’ve felt about ArcheAge. So when Trion Worlds Senior Producer Merv Lee Kwai and Producer Amanda Fry invited me to tour and chat about Bloodsong before its launch today, I whistled a happy tune and jumped right in. We dived into the Mistsong Summit dungeon and rubbed elbows with the resident bosses, talked about the new PvP arenas, danced with the new pet, and raked up some leaves off the new treehouses. I also learned other interesting tidbits, such as the origin story behind this update’s music and the details of the new version of welcome back packs.

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Hands-on with HEX: Chronicles of Entrath’s PvE

What do you know about HEX: Shards of Fate? If you’ve ever played it, probably more than me. But what do you know about Chronicles of Entrath? HA! I’ve got you there. I spent a day at the HEX Entertainment studio, hobnobbing with developers and hearing all about many aspects of the long-awaited PvE expansion. There was plenty to take in, from the AI to the art to the history of the game.

Oh, and I got to play! That was something you should have seen: I didn’t lose a single match.

My takeaway from the experience is a desire to dive in and play more. And that’s coming from someone who has never touched a TCG before, on or offline, and was honestly a bit intimidated by HEX. Once the patch goes live next week, I’ll encourage everyone else to jump in and check it out, whether you are an old pro or newbie like myself. Here’s why.

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The Division’s new map, system reqs, and commitment to the PC

Want to see the map you’ll be traversing when you leap into The Division next week? Great. Ubisoft has uploaded an interactive map to the game’s official site today for just that purpose. Dive on in.

Of course, the shiny maps won’t matter if you can’t run the game, so how about a look at the new recommended and minimum specs? In addition to acquiring the massive hard drive space hinted at earlier this week, you’ll want to break out your wallet for a pretty sweet rig: The company recommends the equivalent of a system with an Intel Core i7-3770 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 and 8GB of RAM. Whee!

Finally, Rock Paper Shotgun has a new interview out with Creative Director Magnus Jansén on why the game designers chose to set the game in New York at Christmas, when a game just has too much stuff, and why Ubisoft is so laser-focused on supporting the PC in a genre where a lot of devs go console-only.

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Interview: Fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss is working on Smed’s OARPG, Hero’s Song

Among the dream team John Smedley assembled for Hero’s Songstudio Pixelmage’s new 2-D open-world ARPG — is Patrick Rothfuss, an acclaimed fantasy author who rocketed to stardom in 2007 when his first novel, The Name of the Wind, won multiple literary awards and was followed up with a New York Times bestselling sequel. Smed tapped Rothfuss specifically to plot the game’s lore, world, and story. We spoke with him about his process, his worldbuilding, his thoughts on immersion, and what video games he plays when he’s not busy penning blockbuster books.

Massively OP: You’re primarily known to fantasy audiences for your award-winning novels. Why make the leap to video games? What did Smed say to drag you over to the dark side?

Patrick Rothfuss: What a lot of people don’t know is that I actually tried to write a computer game long before I tried to write a novel. What’s more, I’ve been playing computer games pretty much since the beginning. So turning my hands to videogames isn’t a leap so much as it is a small step for me. Though it is a step in an exciting new direction.

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Exclusive Interview: John Smedley reveals Hero’s Song, his new open-world OARPG

Today, we finally learn what John Smedley has been working on since he resigned from his decades-long role at Daybreak.

The industry veteran has founded indie studio Pixelmage Games and is hard at work on Hero’s Song, a buy-to-play, fantasy-based, pixel-art, open-world, PvE-focused action RPG that can “host thousands of other players” but will boast a solo campaign and allow private servers as well. The sandboxy feature set — housing, character development, crafting, a world in flux — sounds remarkably like an MMORPG, at least in its largest form. The studio has raised a million dollars in private investment already and brought together MMORPG industry veterans like EverQuest Lead Designer and co-creator Bill Trost and wildly popular and widely acclaimed fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss. The game’s Kickstarter launches today, and the game itself launches in October — that’s one year of development time from start to finish.

We spoke to Smed in this world-first interview on the game. Read on for Smed’s thoughts on game funding, business models, permadeath, graphics snobbery, DLC, and just what genre this game really belongs in.

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Life is Feudal transforms into an MMO with its March beta test

A long time ago, back in the stone ages of 2014, Bitbox did alpha testing for its upcoming MMO, Life is Feudal. It was an ambitious sandbox with terraforming, building, landownership, bartering, trade routes, diplomacy, and PvP. However, devs discovered (and disclosed to fans) that the small team just couldn’t afford to keep heading in the direction they wanted at the pace they desired. At that point, Life is Feudal: Your Own — a scaled-down, non-MMO, pocket version of the game — was born. With this, players were able to experience the various systems being developed for the game just on a smaller server.

But that did not mean the MMO version was forgotten, and those who have been waiting to dive into this game on a more massive scale will soon have that opportunity. I sat down with Vladimir “Bobik” Piskunov, CEO/CTO of Bitbox, to talk about the state of development for the MMO. And one of the first things I learned is that the closed beta is slated for March 2016.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 44: Guild Wars 2 sounds and space questions

For our final podcast of 2015, we have a special treat for you: a double-header of interviews! First up is a talk with ArenaNet’s sound design team on the audio of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns, followed by a talk with Paul the Space Ace as he answers your astronomy and gaming questions.

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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Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs on economy, crafting, and Star Wars Galaxies inspiration

In anticipation of the today’s livestream, Camelot Unchained boss Mark Jacobs spoke with us about the implementation of crafting and trade in the game as explained on the website on today’s stream. It’s Jacobs, so you know the answers aren’t bullshit.

Massively OP: Regarding merchant stalls in lieu of an auction hall: From other MMOs, I know that there will inevitably be one really great, convenient spot for stalls, and if you’re not there, you’re sunk without a search system. So first, is there going to be a “vendor search” system so people can tell what’s for sale and where? And second, how are you going to deal with demand for the stalls in the “best” spot? And if the answer to this is bidding wars and auctions for the best stalls, how are you going to stop uberguilds from dominating all serious trade? If the answer is extremely high rents, how are you going to ensure that people still sell the “cheap” stuff (like lowbie gear and consumables) that isn’t worth it to stock in high-demand, high-rent areas (this is also a serious problem in modern Ultima Online, for example, like reverse food deserts).

Mark Jacobs: Great question, but I hope you’re prepared for a long answer. However, since you and your readers know me, you knew going in that it would be hard for me to write a short answer to a question like this one.

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR developers reflect on 2016

We all have those things in our lives that continue to pull at us, drive us, to learn more or do more. Sometimes it turns us into an obsessed captain Ahab chasing our giant white whale until it destroys us. Other times, obsessions can turn us into an industry giant like Steve Jobs. But most of us aren’t Ahab or Jobs; we are just everyday men and women with families and careers designed to give us fulfillment in our daily lives. And behind that veil of normality, we build these shrines to something we can’t not think about.

My shrine is built to Star Wars.

This past week, I met with three other people who have built a shrine to Star Wars as well, but these gentlemen have been able to make quite a career out of their obsession with Star Wars. These guys are, of course, the leads on Star Wars: The Old Republic. I spoke to Senior Producer Bruce Maclean, Lead Creative Designer Charles Boyd (former Lead Writer), and Lead Technical Designer Michael Backus.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk to them about the four years of SWTOR and specifically the creation of the latest expansion Knights of the Fallen Empire. We talked about the creation process and how the game became what it is now. And we might have revealed some things that are yet to come.

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MechWarrior Online’s 2016 world championship, steam launch, and more

The MechWarrior Online content train is charging full steam ahead, and that’s not just because the game is now on Steam! Back when MWO launched in September 2013, devs made no secret of the fact that the game wasn’t finished. In fact, #nofinalproduct wasn’t an excuse for the state of the game then, but rather a commitment to continuing to add features and improve it. And that’s a promise Piranha Games delivered on. Over the last two years the game has definitely grown, from new maps to expanded faction warfare features to a tutorial training area for new players. Following in that trend, even the MWO’s Steam launch party this past weekend was about much more than just celebrating the strides already made — it heralded the new things to come.

What’s in store for players? Phase 3 of faction warfare — with its careers, a new 4v4game mode, leaderboards, contracts, and more — was revealed, as was a new level of customization with decals. Additionally, Occulus Rift support was introduced and even demonstrated. But the most celebrated news of the evening was the announcement of the 2016 MWO world championship tournament! During recent press festivities in Vancouver, I had the chance to sit down with Russ Bullock, president, and Bryan Ekman, creative director, to chat about these upcoming changes. I also inquired about their hopes and plans for future phases.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 41: Trove talk

How do you add PvP to an MMO after its launched as a strictly PvE game? That’s the fascinating question we have for Trove’s lead developer today on the podcast! Also on tap for discussion: the new SWTOR subscriber rewards, TSW’s Issue 13, LOTRO’s insta-95s, and more!

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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No Man’s Sky has neither missions nor collectibles

No Man’s Sky is a big game, what with 18 quintillion planets that would take 600 billion hours for players to explore, according to Kill Screen. The website recently talked with the game’s managing director Sean Murray, and the resulting interview is a lengthy one, though it probably won’t take you 600 billion hours to read.

There’s little in the way of gameplay information or reveals, as the piece focuses on what it’s like to be a struggling indie game dev and picks Murray’s brain regarding the genesis of the project. Murray does offer an interesting nugget on why the game lacks traditional busywork, though. “Somebody said, ‘Aren’t you worried about the fact that the game doesn’t have missions or quests or collectibles, and would you consider putting those in?’ And I had a kind of little breakdown. I was just saying, like, because I have this argument with myself all the time, because it would be really easy to put those things in. And we think that, fundamentally, there are enough games that have those concepts.”

The game has a new PSX video, which we’ve included below.

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Crowfall addresses victory conditions, Malekai lore

When it launches, Crowfall is going to have to deal with the problem of winning. The most recent Ask Me Anything event for the game on Reddit touched upon the reasons why PvP games have tended to have difficulty holding on to players, but also touched on one of the major issues facing Crowfall with new campaigns and new victory conditions. In order to discourage players from thinking a campaign is won or lost in the first week, the developers are specifically planning on ramping up the volume and quantity of rewards as the campaign goes on, thus ensuring that the struggles remain anyone’s game until the end.

Players can also expect the game to support smaller and mid-sized guilds in competitions, as J. Todd Coleman personally hopes to make mid-sized guilds the de facto norm for the game. Monsters will exist in the game world, but primarily to serve as persistent threats and material sources rather than major opponents. And if you’re not on board with the current iteration of the game’s Hunger Dome, that’s fine; it’s simply an environment for testing the game, not something that will be carried over for launch.

Want something that’s a bit more focused on the game’s lore rather than systems? Check out the details on Malekai, Lord of Shadows. He comes pre-packaged with spiders.


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