Bloodline Champions is an intriguing little Arena-based PvP game with humble beginnings. Using Microsoft's XNA tools, this Indie will want to compete with the likes of DotA. We caught up with one of the leading figures behind the project, CEO of developer Stunlock Studios Tau Petersson.
Strategy Informer:The game began life as a school project. How much has Bloodline Champions and your vision for the game changed since that time?
Tau Petersson: During the time Bloodline Champions was a school project the game concept grew quickly. After much testing and many concepts, by the end of the project the concept for Bloodline Champions was settled. The game was very different earlier. It had creeps (monsters), talents and different control system before becoming what it is today. When you start to develop a new game there’s so much you want to do, the best part with Bloodline Champions I’d say is that we have scaled off everything that we felt was unnecessary to focus on making the game as fun as possible.
Strategy Informer: It sounds like you formed Stunlock Studios off the back of the first incarnation of the game. How big an operation do you guys currently have?
Tau Petersson: The team has definitely grown. But we’re only 14 people now, so it’s a very small team working on what is not at all a small project anymore. It’s challenging, but a lot of fun as well!
Strategy Informer:You have stated that one of your goals with the game is to keep a level playing field. How difficult has it been to keep game play balanced?
Tau Petersson: We work a lot on balancing; it’s a big focus for us. Just being 14 people at the studio and between us a very varying skill level in the game makes it a bit tricky to balance everything in house. Since the beta got up we’re now getting a lot of help from some of our best players to balance the game. The best players at the office spend a lot of time in the beta playing with the beta testers to get feedback on balance. Adding more Bloodlines also makes it harder to balance the game, so we’ll need even more help in the future from our players. But the response we’ve been getting from players so far tells us we’re in good shape balance-wise, and it will only get better.
Strategy Informer:Do you hope to convert any hardcore fans of League of Legends or other DotA type games?
Tau Petersson:Bloodline Champions offers a completely different game play than LoL and Dota, but we’ve noticed that a lot of our players also like playing those games, so we definitely have the same kind of audience. With Bloodline Champions unique gameplay it gives some of the players that new experience they have been looking for. Most people who try it quickly discover that it’s quite different from those games.
Strategy Informer:We’ve been playing the beta and the game seems highly polished already. What have you taken from player feedback and what tweaks will we see when the game launches properly?
Tau Petersson: We get a lot of help with balancing the game from players, we’ve also used feedback we’ve received on the bloodgate (lobby, if you will) and interface to improve the game experience for players. Most of the stuff that you’ll see from now to launch is the four new bloodlines that are getting released, plus a lot of new features in the bloodgate and shop system.
Strategy Informer:The game is free to play on a basic level. How much content will this entitle players too?
Tau Petersson: The free to play players will get access to four bloodlines per week, the bloodlines will be on a rotation schedule, giving you the opportunity to try some new ones the next week. When playing you’ll earn bloodcoins, and with bloodcoins you’ll be able to unlock more bloodlines and also some items from the shop. The free to play players will get access to all maps, game modes and the ladder as well.
Strategy Informer:For paying players it looks like buying different editions of the game will grant different content. Can you give us a brief rundown of what the differences are between each pack?
Tau Petersson: For pre-order we have two packs and an upgrade. The first pack is the Champions Edition where you get access to all the bloodlines that is currently available; you also get 3 titles, 3 avatars, 2 extra team slots, some shop coins and a VIP pass that gives you VIP status for 60 days. If you buy the Champions Edition you can also choose to buy a bundle of the new upcoming four bloodlines. The other package is the Titan Edition which is a bit like a collector’s edition for those who really love the game and know they’ll play it for a long time. It gives access to all twenty bloodlines and life time VIP membership, and you also get outfits and weapon skins for all the twenty bloodlines. On top of that you get extra team slots, a bunch of shop coins to expand your collection and a special title and chat icon that only titan players get. More information can be found at our website.
Strategy Informer:There has been talk of an in-game store. What content will be available there?
Tau Petersson: In the store you’ll be able to buy things like: bloodlines, outfits, weapon skins, emotes, extra team slots and more. We look forward to announcing the full inventory list.
Strategy Informer:On top of the paying real world money for content there will also be in-game currency called bloodcoins. Can you tell us more about how this will work?
Tau Petersson: When you play the game you’ll earn bloodcoins, with these coins you’ll then be able to unlock bloodlines for example, and also some of the other content in the store.
Strategy Informer:Will you been releasing more content post-launch?
Tau Petersson: Absolutely, our aim is to keep updating Bloodline Champions for a long time, both with new bloodlines, maps and new content for the shop. Right now we also have a bunch of features we will not be able to get into the game before launch, so some of them will hopefully make it into the game after launch.
And there you have it, a brief insight into the thinking behind Bloodline Champions. We look forward to seeing how this game progresses in the coming months. Don't forget to check out our hands-on preview.