First Impressions: Gigantic Rampage Edition’s classic Clash mode and the game’s overall plans for the future


I admit that when I was first invited by Gearbox Publishing to get my hands on the resurgent Gigantic, I was mostly awestruck. I was stunned to be playing a MOBA that I actually missed more than I expected, controlling a character I adored quite a bit, all while being told that it would be coming back without any microtransaction baggage; what I was not immediately focused on was the bigger implications of that monetization switch.

So when I was invited back for a second time to play Gigantic with Gearbox producer Maverick Bautista and PR manager Brad Crespo last week, I was able to keep my overall glee a bit more in check and tease out a few answers about what Gigantic Rampage Edition’s prospects for the long term may look like. But I was also giddily playing the original Clash mode.

For those who are former players of Gigantic, I can happily say that all of the main pieces of the original game are there in Clash, with longer matches that grant teams three opportunities to wound the opposing team’s guardian, a bit more strategy in terms of placing defending pets on nodes, and of course the arena shrinking at the end of two clashes.

Most of what’s different is obviously the two new maps and the quality-of-life addition of auto-leveling features that can be toggled on or off. For those who would rather make moment to moment decisions on their build based on how a match is going, you can still individually select what skills to upgrade and how. For those who would rather fixate on the match itself, auto-leveling is an option that works for either premade builds or custom builds.

On a personal level, I found that playing Clash was both an exercise in forgetfulness and eagerness to learn and grow. I managed to get a few matches in with Bautista and Crespo as my teammates while all of the other slots were filled with bots, so I was primarily carried by the devs along most of the way considering they’ve gotten some map-specific strategies tied down and knew how to manipulate bot behaviors a bit more. I didn’t make it easy for them initially by accidentally falling out of the stage a couple of times, but I started to slowly work my way forward and contribute damage as Mozu.

Even so, watch out for Bautista if he plays against you. The man is an absolute monster at this game. Genuinely.

Over the course of our play session, I asked about whether Clash mode would be something that players would be gently nudged forward into, especially since Clash is planned to be the mode that features in ranked when that goes live post-launch. I was assured that there are not going to be any progression limits or locks for those who would rather play nothing but Rush mode; in fact, those who want to earn XP and complete certain fortune cards are probably better off with the faster matches in Rush than the comparatively longer ones in Clash.

On the subject of post-launch support, I had to open my time with the devs by asking about what the longer term life cycle of Gigantic’s prospects are, especially considering there are no microtransactions to support the game and this was already something that was shut down before. Bautista ultimately said that the team is going to be taking a wait-and-see approach here.

The primary focus is (understandably) to release the game, address issues, and balance things as needed, while the previously promised features like more skins and ranked play will come later, but after that the team will be paying attention to overall reception among new and old players in order to forge ahead with later updates and support. Microtransactions were not mentioned as part of any later game plan, and Bautista did suggest that developer Abstraction Games might have its own additions like new heroes. For now, Gearbox and Abstraction are focused on the near-term road bumps that are very possibly going to crop up when it all goes live.

Even with that vague answer, I didn’t get the impression that Gearbox is setting Gigantic up to fail. It was made pretty clear from my time with the devs that there’s a deep affection for this game and a desire to see it come back, and it’s releasing on pretty much every platform and digital storefront out now with the exception of the Nintendo Switch, all with cross-platform matchmaking available, so ideally fans won’t be waiting for long spans of time to get a game.

The matter of Gigantic arriving at a point when the MOBA subgenre doesn’t feel quite so crowded also seems to be a point in favor of its longer term prospects. When I brought up the timing of the release, Bautista agreed that a bit of good luck in that regard is likely going to be a boon.

Still, it seems like time is going to really tell the tale here, but Bautista talked up the amount of support from old fans and previous playtesters about where Gigantic Rampage Edition is headed. In that regard I’m probably not alone in just being starstruck at the MOBA coming back. Everyone involved really seems to be fixated on the immediate return, including the devs and publishers, which might certainly cause some wringing of hands except for the fact that it seems like the audience never really went away, and the game’s new and old modes both feel like refreshing breaths to what seems to be an otherwise stagnant and settled sub-genre.

In spite of my personal worries about what the far future of Gigantic looks like, I have always been one to accentuate the positive and enjoy what I can enjoy, and I enjoy the hell out of Gigantic. It’s going to take me some time before I regain any of the middling skills I had in Clash, but the opportunity to refine them once more – or perhaps ignore them wholesale and just enjoy Rush mode instead – has me pretty excited. And that excitement definitely feels shared by the devs.

Massively Overpowered skips scored reviews; they’re outdated in a genre whose games evolve daily. Instead, our veteran reporters immerse themselves in MMOs to present their experiences as hands-on articles, impressions pieces, and previews of games yet to come. First impressions matter, but MMOs change, so why shouldn’t our opinions?
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