Interviews Category

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

Final Fantasy XIV’s Naoki Yoshida on Stormblood’s release, AI issues, and MMO history

After all this time, I’m sure some of you forgot that my original E3 2017 interview with Final Fantasy XIV’s Naoki Yoshida was supposed to have a part two. That’s OK, since, well, the team’s been a bit busy since then. With the expansion out and some fires smothered, the much loved game director finally was able to get back to some of my questions.

Naturally, the first question I had to ask was how Yoshida is feeling about Stormblood following early access, launch, and the release of the first content patch updates. For now, he said (through translators) that he’s relieved but that the expansion had “an unexpectedly high number of new and returning players [who] came back to the game, which caused some issues and frustration.” One of them was the DDOS attack, for which he again offered apologies.

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Ship of Heroes talks indie scope, community positivity, and designing the world

Ship of Heroes is gearing up for PAX with drop-ins with community vloggers, including The Positive Gamer, who has a flythrough video of Apotheosis City in the game accompanied by an interview with Heroic Games CEO Casey Mcgeever, Environmental Artist Eric Gooch and PR lead Justin Roberti. Mcgeever shows off some of the newer corners of the city, including some of its more unusual, organic architecture and tactically designed bits (glass ceilings that provide cover, for example). The group also demonstrates how players will move between levels of the ship — remember, the “city” part is only one level of the spaceship the whole shebang is flying on. There are even massive “windows” out of the cityscape that look out into the starry void and betray the white clouds and blue sky in the level.

Heroic says it’s focused on creating a positive community, and crafters and market monkeys, take note: All that is still planned for the game, including an auction hall, though that last may not make it for launch.

“We were originally planning to build a bigger game, as you know,” Mcgeever says. “If you’re BioWare or EA, you can do anything you want. […] But we’re a small indie team, so we need to make a game that’s going to be really fun to play and has excellence in everything it has, even if it has only one city, only one ship level to begin with — it’s going to be a cool ship level.”

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Touring Trove’s new Eclipse expansion with the Trion team

The big solar eclipse may have been yesterday, but today marks the beginning of Trove’s Eclipse! And luckily, this one will last much more than a couple of minutes. Today’s the launch day for the pixel game’s big expansion that devs have been showing off on streams throughout the month. If you’ve been following the news, you know that there will be some exciting editions to Trove once those expansion doors open. I sat down with Trion Producer Rick White, Senior Animator Ted Sanger, and Art Lead Robin Luera to talk more about these changes that White noted will offer something for everyone.

“For the Eclipse expansion,” he said, “we really tried to push adding new content for our three different segments of players: our beginning players, our mid-ranged players, and our power users and endgame players.” These new features include subclasses, a gem forging system, an expanded Shadow Tower, and the worlds atlas. Let’s dig in!

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John Smedley talks about the game industry but is mum about his studio’s project

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.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 131: Just surviving

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:

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Interview: Daybreak’s Just Survive drops H1Z1 branding for massive revamp and relaunch today

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.

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Cliff Bleszinski thinks streaming the LawBreakers testing was a mistake

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.

Source: Eurogamer via Gamasutra


Ubisoft on Skull and Bones’ business model, ‘treasure chest’ lootboxes, and live events

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.

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VR is still on the table for Star Citizen

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.

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Guild Wars 2 devs open up about the new elite specializations

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!

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The Stream Team: Stepping into the Reach with ESO’s Creative Director

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!

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Black Desert team on the male Ranger, mobile version, and SEA server

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.

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LOTRO: Mordor is still aiming for a July 31 release

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).

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