Our readers already know that things are not going well among backers of Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, as developer Visionary Realms confirmed the rumors of a 247 side mode that would spin-off from the originally proposed – and crowdfunded – MMORPG project, while potentially charging as much as $750 to play it. The rancor caused by the reveal has prompted a quickly put-together Q&A session with creative director Chris “Joppa” Perkins to talk more about the decision and the game mode itself.
The very first question asked is a direct one: Why is the studio chasing a different game? Perkins explains that the devs haven’t been able to keep players engaged with what was being offered in its monthly 24-hour tests, so the 247 mode came from a desire to give players something that’s replayable and satisfies the need to “front-load systems and experiences” of an MMORPG while also testing specific features.
He also argues that “certain hardcore rulesets and survival mechanics [fit] really well” with the genre, while the extraction gameplay mode gives the studio the ability to create session-based tests. As for when the MMORPG will be playable again, Perkins once again says the goal is next year, possibly next spring.
Perkins also addressed “the elephant in the room” in this answer of the game’s long development cycle, attributing it to decisions made along the way as well as factors out of the studio’s control while still claiming that steps backward were taken “in order to move forward again.”
When asked about monetization – specifically why VR doesn’t charge a monthly subscription for the MMORPG instead – Perkins states he doesn’t have confidence that Pantheon is in a state where that would be widely adopted by players or fund the game’s development to an unspecified point that it needs to be. As for monetizing 247, Perkins reiterates that monetizing the mode “is not a decision that [Visionary Realms has] definitely made,” then argues that industry expectations of the MMORPG genre – that games are free-to-play and are propped up by microtransactions – “compromise so extremely” what the studio is after that meeting those expectations “is a non-starter.”
Finally, Perkins believes that 247 mode will be different from other MMORPGs that have tried the same thing because Pantheon “is what this studio exists to create” and it’s “committed” to making the game. “247, in its essence, exists to serve that goal,” Perkins claims.
Other portions of the Q&A session talk about when NDA will drop (there’s no timeline), whether Perkins is willing to reel back the MMORPG’s scope in order to get it out of the door (general response can be very roughly summarized as “not really”), whether VR would open itself up to volunteer development (a very careful “no” here), and whether the studio would consider going back to a more realistic art style instead (no major reworks are planned but added “grittiness” to the current style is being considered). The full video awaits below.