The stages of pre-launch development always conjure some measure of protection for a fledgling video game. It may be rough, but that’s OK, it’s still in alpha. It doesn’t have all of its features, but that’s OK, it’s just beta. When a game is still in testing and players are (mostly) enjoying it for free among a smaller community, there tends to be a lot more goodwill and shared excitement.
It’s no wonder then that some games, such as Allods Online and Trove, choose to stay in the safer confines of beta as long as possible. Maybe they stay a little too long, extending a four-year college degree to seven and begging their parents for just one more semester’s tuition. But sooner or later, it’s time to graduate, become a live game, and head out into the tougher real world.
On July 9th, Trove’s graduation will commence. Some won’t see the game’s release as any different from the day before’s open beta, but for Trion Worlds, it means a great deal. We sat down with the studio and talked about the journey this blocky sandbox has taken and how it’s finally ready to play with the big boys.
Today we’re hanging out with Broadsword Online Games, the indie studio that emerged from the implosion of Mythic Entertainment a while back. Broadsword is now steward of the Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot franchises and is actively developing both of these veteran MMORPG titles.
We’ve got three members of Broadsword with us today: President Rob Denton, UO Producer Bonnie Armstrong, and DAoC Producer John Thornhill. Check out what they have to say about expansions, developing for classic MMOs in a modern era, and the future of Broadsword.
The fact that WildStar is transitioning to a free-to-play model this fall is old news now. Folks have been hashing out their opinions on the matter for the last month and have indeed been talking about the possibility for far longer. So what more could be added to the conversation by talking to Carbine at E3?
Information — lots of information! Sitting down with Creative Director Chad Moore and Product Director Mike Donatelli, I learned more details about the both transition itself and the mega content update coming with it. The pair also announced that WildStar will be releasing in China soon, its first step in expanding globally.
As you’ve all heard by now, MMO giant Wargaming announced a reboot of the classic game Master of Orion during this year’s E3. The company might be known best for its free-to-play war franchises, but it actually started out as a single-player strategy game company with the Massive Assault games, which makes it uniquely equipped to handle this franchise. The original MOO (yes, even the Wargaming team affectionately says “moo” when discussing the game) is a strategic, turn-based RPG from 1993 that gave rise to the 4X genre and phrase: eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate. You play the commander of one one of 10 races in a galaxy of other civilizations leaving their homeworlds to conquer the stars. But across the franchise (there were three games in the original series), players aren’t just asked to blast their enemies; they win through a point system that covers everything from, yes, raw power, but also things like research and diplomacy.
Skyforge has entered its final beta test, which means that open beta and soft launch is just around the corner. If you’ve been watching the game with interest since its initial announcement, there’s a sense of completeness at its impending launch, and no small measure of satisfaction… but at the same time, we’re not out of the woods yet. There’s still another testing phase to go through, after all, and that means more players putting the game through its paces.
We took the opportunity to ask a few questions of the development team to see how the beta process was going and what elements are still being adjusted. If you’d like to know more about the testing as it’s being run from behind the scenes, read on.
Console fans rejoice: After a lenthy beta-testing period, PlanetSide 2 finally launched on the PlayStation 4 in both North America and Europe today. Now folks who don’t want to want to sit at their monitors to play this MMOFPS can hunker down with their PS4s and televisions to join the ongoing war that their PC counterparts have been participating in for the last couple of years. Interestingly, what those players will see when they log in is not exactly what they expect. I sat down with Andy Sites, the game’s director of development, at E3 2015 to discuss what awaits when players jump into the game on their consoles.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
fans are still hungry for more Knights of the Fallen Empire
information, and we can’t blame them. As we noted in yesterday’s part one of our BioWare interview
with Lead Designer Michael Backus
, Studio Creative Director James Ohlen
, and Senior Producer Bruce MacLean
, this new expansion will be quite a departure from how the game has developed up to this point. Today, we bring you part two, which focuses on companions, new content, some tidbits on the Eternal Empire, and what goodies players get when they grab the expansion. Oh, and did we mention the regular class stories are getting overhauled as well?
Destiny has already launched some downloadable expansions for itself, and they’ve been cheaper than the upcoming The Taken King. In fact, they’ve been much cheaper than The Taken King‘s Collector’s Edition, which contains several bits of physical swag and some exclusive emotes, which has caused considerable uproar in the Destiny community, particularly veterans who feel they’re being asked to rebuy content they already own (sound familiar?). A recent Eurogamer interview with the developers focused around defending the price, which largely came down to saying that it’s a justified price for a very large amount of content.
Players didn’t like that either. Forbes called the entire interview “tone deaf.”
Long before NCsoft officially announced that Blade & Soul was heading west, fans were eager for the chance to get their hands on the game — including a number of us here at MassivelyOP. So I might have had a slight grin on my face when I sat down to experience a bit of gameplay on the Summoner class at this year’s E3. I also talked shop with Producer Nicolas Coutant, Social and Community Director Omeed Dariani, and Brand Manager Julianne Harty, who revealed Blade & Soul’s “full-access free-to-play” business model for the western market. We also touched on subjects ranging from story to closed beta and pre-order packs to cats.
Yes, cats. According to Dariani, “This game is all about cats.”
So what’s with Knights of the Fallen Empire
? Inquiring Star Wars: The Old Republic
fans want to know! That’s why we sat down with the BioWare
devs at E3
to suss out some answers for you. We also got to see some of the expansion in action; Senior Producer Bruce MacLean and Studio Creative Director James Ohlen walked us through a demo of part of chapter three in the new story sequence. Afterward, Lead Designer Michael Backus fielded more of our questions.
What is Fallen Empire? It’s more than just the biggest SWTOR expansion to date. MacLean summed it up succinctly by arguing that this expansion is “a return to BioWare’s cinematic storytelling — it is a Star Wars epic where you are the central hero.” He emphasized that this expansion is about going from heroic story moment to heroic story moment and described the game as “cinematic action-packed RPG experiences thick with plot twists, surprises, betrayal, redemption, and hard choices.”
I’m standing with my PR contact at the Life is Feudal
booth when suddenly a guy with a thick Russian accent walks up to me, picks up a toy of a wooden bear at a computer, and starts to move it so the bear paws at the keyboard. “This is how we make games in Russia” he laughs.
This was my E3 2015 introduction to Vladimir Piskunov, CEO of Bitbox and friend to veterans of Shadowbane, Darkfall, and other PvP games (or at least, the guy inviting the veterans to Life is Feudal‘s alphas).
While Heroes of the Storm just released, Blizzard is not resting on its laurels. The Eternal Conflict is coming, first on the public test realm June 23rd, then in a hoped-for release on June 30th, but the overall push will last a few months.
This expansion has had a quick cadence, especially after Technical Director Alan Dabiri and Senior Artist Phill Gonzales admit that the game’s basically been released in all but name for awhile now. I spoke to the pair at this year’s E3 2015. Read on!
Massively: We’re on the horn with The Secret World Lead Designer Romain Amiel, who’s taking time out of his schedule to answer some questions about the game’s recent storytelling milestones — and perhaps hint about where it’s going next. So Romain, now that Tokyo’s wrapped up and you’re able to look back on it, what would you say was the zone’s greatest success in terms of development?
Romain Amiel: I was quite happy with the overall result of Kaidan. The environment captured pretty well the urban essence of a giant city like Tokyo, or rather what it would be feel like under similar circumstances. It felt huge and eerily devoid of life. It gave us a great source of inspiration to create memorable characters and stories of survival.