Earthrise: An Interview with Senior Game Designer, Plamen Hristov

Posted By | On 01st, Nov. 2010

We had an exclusive opportunity to speak with Plamen Hristov, who is the the Senior Game Designer of Earthrise, an upcoming MMO. Check out the full interview below.

GB: Earthrise sounds like a very interesting concept, but we have seen similar projects before. There are many post-apocalyptic sci-fi games, and while I’m sure Earthrise will be a blast to play through, gamers would be heavily satisfied if they were assured that they will find a fresh and innovative title. What exactly do you plan to introduce in the game that will wow us all? The MMORPG genre is full of opportunities to innovate.

HristovEarthrise will differentiate itself from the other MMOs because it was designed to give players a great deal of freedom. It is a game that offers something for everyone, and players are free to experience all aspects of the game. Earthrise features a skill-based system without restrictions, a faction system in which players can change sides at their will, an enormous open world full of contrast and a very rich backstory. The game also has a sophisticated crafting system and a market economy.  Adding to the unique story and internally built proprietary engine, Earthrise will offer players a departure from other MMO titles. Players looking for something other than class-based fantasy MMOs will be fully satisfied with Earthrise.

GB: What exactly are the Player vs Player mechanics that Earthrise will feature?

Hristov: The PvP mechanics in Earthrise have a strong connection with game economics and itemization in an enormous open world without instancing. Players will have to cooperate with one another in order to coordinate and acquire crafting stations, and to protect their crafters. They will also have to conquer bases to gain access to better crafting options and resources, and to participate in lore- driven encounters.

GB: The official information released for Earthrise says the game will feature customizable armour and thousands of sci-fi weapons. That certainly sounds interesting. Just how detailed is the armour customization?

Hristov: Players can create a wide variety of equipment in Earthrise, while having the freedom to specify what aspects of the crafted item to upgrade or enhance. They can select from a large set of designs that have a substantial impact on the statistics of the item, thus making the variety of itemization even greater. Also, players have the liberty to change the appearance of their equipment. They can change the base colors, as well as use large color gamma combiners to make even more variations of the gear.

GB:      Could you give us some examples of some new, whacky, fun weapons? We would certainly love to get a taste of the weapons we will be using some time from now in Earthrise.

Hristov:In Earthrise, even the basic weapon designs have a specific behavior, but if you want an example of a whacky weapon – let me introduce the A-Unit. It’s a weapon suitable for a jack-of-all-trades character – using nanobotic projectiles it can engulf the enemy in a swarm of matter-devouring particles, or it can be used to create a zone in which the nanobots heal and restore the strengths of allies. The cool thing about the A-Unit is that the enemy can never guess your next move.

GB: How does the dev team plan to make Earthrise’s story fresh and different? Are there choice-based levels or something similar that will determine how the story progresses?

Hristov: Earthrise has a vast backstory that embraces every aspect of the game that the player might encounter in his adventures. I can even say that the only thing that we don’t explain to the player is how he must play. Being a sandbox title, Earthrise players have the opportunity to explore the entire world and the mechanics, as well as the lore of the game.

GB: How many types or “classes” of playable characters are there in the game? Can you tell us some of the types?

Hristov: Earthrise is designed as a classless game, giving each player the option to choose what he prefers to be in every single moment. There are a lot of combinations that form different roles. As we’ve mentioned before, those roles can be changed mid-combat, giving a real sense of freedom and unpredictability. Still, there are some variants of equipment-plus-skills combinations with which  the player character can become something similar to classes featured in other titles, such as a ranged DPS, a tank, a PvP tank, a melee character, a healer, a group buffer and so on. It is important to note that even if we can specify a class, Earthrise gives players more options than a typical MMO. For example, the “healer” or “buffer” can also do a good portion of DPS without losing much of his main purpose capabilities or he can quickly switch to another role at any given moment, if desired.

GB: Earthrise seems to be a game that concentrates on sandbox a lot. Of course, sandbox is a given if you’re talking about an MMO game. But how extensive and free will Earthrise’s sandbox be?

Hristov: Earthrise has everything that is required in order to be identified as a sandbox game – a large open world without instances or any separation between players in the world; every single item comes from crafting; everyone can play any role; all skills and abilities are available to everyone; the freedom to be an outlaw, a rebel, or a dedicated loyalist; the possibility to conquer and control territories or bases; game economics that are influenced by players, and much more.

GB: What kind of RPG elements will you introduce in Earthrise? Because RPGs featuring guns generally shift more towards shooters rather than role playing, will you concentrate more on being a shooter, or will you keep true to the RPG formula?

Hristov: We prefer to keep things in balance. In Earthrise, we’ve featured an action-combat gameplay that allows players to collaborate and combine their efforts to achieve greater results. A player’s missile launcher won’t stop pounding enemies with missiles without an ally nearby, but if that player combines efforts with a savvy teammate to hold the enemies back, the results can be devastating.

GB: With so many spectacular MMOs in the market already out, how do you plan to keep Earthrise above the quality levels of the competition? What drives you to create a game in such an overly popular genre?

Hristov: I don’t think that we’re similar to other games in the genre. While others may rely on clichés to build their world and well-known, if not boring, mechanics to drive their gameplay, we’re trying to help the players accomplish their goals by giving them what they need to go their own way.   We welcome every sci-fi fan who wants to explore the world of Earthrise.

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