How to handle the law.
The developers at Boss Key Productions are starting out with not only a big name like Cliff Bleszinski behind their whole operation, but a radically new style of gameplay wrapped around an old fashioned style of game. LawBreakers is an arena shooter that uses gravity as its crux to for a new, interesting stylized form of gameplay. This in turn allows players to moves in 360 degrees in any and all directions while trying to melee or shoot up the enemies all around. This new, interesting concept has been a major focal point with gamers interested in picking this game up in its alpha stage or early access stage on PC. But will this awesome new game ever come to console?
GamingBolt recently had a sit down with Boss Key’s Dan Nanni, Lead Designer of LawBreakers for a few questions we’ve been wondering ourselves about this very cool looking game.
"We’re still figuring out ways how to unlock the story as it unfolds."
LawBreakers is releasing in an Overwatch-dominated era but isn’t quite about heroes. What can you tell us about the influence that the Law vs. Breakers approach has on the gameplay?
So the law versus breakers approach gives us the ability to kind of tell a story about good guys versus bad guys essentially. When you’re looking at inspiration you – the X-Men on one side and Magneto and his cronies on the other. But do you still have the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. So it’s about a series of a set of good guys versus a set of bad guys and that’s where it allows us to kind of elaborate on the fiction while not touching on the gameplay. The fact that we have the same roles on both sides allows us to keep a competitive game. But it allows us to establish the world.
Does Lawbreakers have a story that plays out? Will there be lore that players can partake in and experience over the course of the game?
Yeah. So I’d say it’s a multiplayer only game, so it’s not traditional run through and learn a story. But you’ll get it through VO, through supporting features. We’re still figuring out ways how to unlock the story as it unfolds. But you’ll definitely get in game through some personality quips, you’ll understand who the characters are, they might say a line out there that will lead you to understand that there something more about them. But the game is built with a story line in mind. Everything we do is about more narration.
The atmosphere of the game is decidedly cyberpunkish and grim. How does that influence the design of the maps? What kinds of maps can players look forward to?
Well we obviously have gravity is one of our main staples in game. So we want to play with the whole verticality and we’re trying to play around with other maps that introduced verticality in different ways. It’s not just going to be the same look up to him up, shoot up. Because if you’re flying to the air, got full range of movement, we have to give you the level that supports the full range of movement as well. So we change up the center of the map. It’s not always the same from map to map; which changes your tactics, your lines, your distances. We have some more crazier maps that are in the works for the future that will really mess around with the way – with another style of gravity, or how much gravity – is it the entire map or most of the map wrapped in this bubble of 0G? These are the things we will be experimenting with and trying to find it the entire map or most of the Mac wrapped in this bubble of 0G? These are the things we will be experimenting with and trying to find a good balance for.
What can you tell us about the characters we haven’t thus far? Do they cater to different FPS play styles or do they fall into different archetypes?
I think it does both. They fall of the different archetypes let’s say, but we want every role that we release to cater to a different style of gamer. It’s not a hard RPS game, get this character and it will always beat the other character; it comes down to the situation of where at in the map are you, what kind of loadout do they have available to that role. It’s situational but at the same time the next role that we are working on right now, we haven’t talked about him yet, we want this to be about precision based gameplay, high skill player who’s really great at gaming will probably like this game a lot.
"Because in the end if you’re really good at playing the assassin, even if we have another assassin on the team it may be beneficial as long as you’re doing your job right, and you’re playing the game the correct way."
We know Lawbreakers will feature arena combat but what other modes can we look forward to, especially considering Bleszinski’s background with Unreal Tournament (which introduced the famous Assault mode)?
So we are definitely looking into modes where certain players will play as a team. You’re not forcing players to play as a team, but the fact that it’s all objective driven means that in order to win an objective you need to kind of work with your team. But it’s not about having the specific loadout that “you must have this type of role and this type of role to win the game.” Because in the end if you’re really good at playing the assassin , Even if we have another assassin on the team it may be beneficial as long as you’re doing your job right, and you’re playing the game the correct way. But the way you play the assassin in overcharge and turf war changes because the mode it self changes and dictate her style and what she needs to do in that game and that needs to evolve.
What is the current philosophy to matchmaking for LawBreakers? Will there be a ranked play mode with skill-based matchmaking?
So right now you’re just worrying about getting players into a good set of match made rolls so there’s a little bit of fair play behind it. We don’t want to just toss a whole bunch of minnows at sharks. That’s never fun. So the first one is going to be let’s get our base matchmaking working, in the long term we love to support more competitive style features so players that want to supremely fair match are willing to wait a little bit longer to get a balanced game that has a little bit more recognition, a little more prestige behind it. We definitely want to support that, that’s just something we’ll be doing further out.
How does the pay to play approach benefit Lawbreakers compared to free to play, especially with regards to content since many believe Overwatch should have taken a free to play approach?
The biggest issue of free to play that we kept on running into is if the game is free we have to figure out ways to monetize players. And we didn’t ever want to do it your gameplay. Because once it comes down to gameplay there’s a perception of “I’ve paid to win the game.” And I don’t want players to worry about players worrying about paying to win the game, “I don’t have enough money and I can’t compete,” or, “I don’t have enough money right now, I can’t play the game that I want to play. It’s not the style of my game.” So that was one of our factors in determining to go with Pay to play. Another one was also in a Freda play game cheating is more rampant. It’s much easier to get back in the game when there is no bar of entry. There’s no cost to get back in. So players are less likely statistically to throw away their accounts if there’s a cost behind it. And it winds up helping us out with keeping the cheater to less of an impact. I don’t want to say a minimum because you’re always going to have hackers out there that are trying to hack into the game. But it’s a little bit less inviting if it’s just not as easy to create a new account.
What can you tell us about the upcoming alpha tests? How will they contribute to the game’s final release?
So the alpha test for us are just growing our audience. Just growing the size to test our servers making sure they’re all functional. But every player that plays gives us data. It’s not only them speaking about the game but the more players that are out there give us more information whether or not our game balances standing up against a bigger audience. At the same time, you’ll notice that this weekend’s alpha will have a pretty sizable patch list. In that patch list is direct feedback from our audience telling us things that they liked or didn’t like, and us fixing a lot of those issues; not just bugs and everything but gameplay balance to make sure that we’re giving players the game that they want. So alphas really going to help us refine and fine-tune the gameplay.
"We haven’t really worried about a date right now. We’re building the game as we go."
Is there still any interest in bringing LawBreakers to Xbox One and PS4?
There’s definitely the interest it’s just a matter of time and when it’s going to be more of a thing. We want to make sure the game right now is solid on a single platform with the small team. Let’s just focus on it and make it just as good as we can there. When we hit that milestone, when we are happy with the way it is, we will look into another platform.
With so many high profile shooters out this year, has there ever been any consideration of delaying the game into 2017?
We haven’t really worried about a date right now. We’re building the game as we go. The Alpha is this weekend. We don’t even have a date for early access. We’re just going to go to early access once we feel like the alpha is done. And then when we’re in early access, we are going to be in early access until the game releases, and that might be next year. Just when we think the game is ready to go. When we’ve given you guys enough content to feel confident that this is a good solid product. Then from that point it’s just life service support it for years to come hopefully.