When one door closes, another opens. Petroglpyh may no longer be working on End of Nations, but that doesn’t mean they still don’t have projects on the go. Victory, is their latest title. A Tactical MOBA of sorts, this WWII themed action strategy sets teams of two against each other in order to control key territories, and/or wipe out the other player. We spoke to Lead Designer Evan Humphreys to find out more:
Strategy Informer: So, you’ve said Victory is not an RTS – what is it then? Real-Time Tactics? A MOBA? A Tactics MOBA? What would that be… MOTA? MOBTA? Shall we coin something right here right now?
Evan Humphreys: The term MOBA is interesting. Technically it stands for “multiplayer online battle arena” – a term that could apply to just about any online multiplayer game from Call of Duty to World of Tanks – but it has come to mean something highly specific these days. We’ve been calling Victory an “Action Strategy” game, but it’s technically a MOBA too – I like MOTA, “multiplayer online tactical arena”.
Strategy Informer: What kind of core experience are you looking to offer players? You mention ‘strategy’ a lot, but 20 minutes doesn’t seem like long enough to really strategize in the true sense of the word.
Evan Humphreys: There are two main elements to the gameplay of Victory – meta “deck building” strategy and in-game tactics. Players will be able to develop a strategy for play by customizing the composition of the companies they bring into battle with nearly one hundred different units at launch. One player may focus on fast attack with the intention of harassing the enemy, while another might plan to turtle up and hold ground. Also, there’s a definite strategic element to coordinating with your team to develop a plan for a given match.
Strategy Informer: Do you think this will become a click-per-second game like Starcraft?
Evan Humphreys: With Victory we have specifically set out to give those who are less fast on the mouse tools for equal footing. The combat is not nearly as hair trigger as Starcraft, and we’re planning to put into place many ease of use improvements to allow players to compete without having to be blazing fast. Players who love fine control will still have options for high reward play, but we wanted to make sure more hands off players will have viable options as well.
Strategy Informer: You mention the environment a lot – elevation, line of site etc… I guess you’ll be focusing a lot on the level design then, to give these aspects real meaning. Do you worry this will detract from the core gameplay?
Evan Humphreys: In some ways the environment is part of the core gameplay. As a tactics game, the key to success in Victory is intelligent use of the terrain and the map – controlling the high ground or the cover, ambushing enemies in tight passages, or scouting from high vantage points. We’re putting a lot of thought into creating great maps with lots of options and interesting scenarios.
Strategy Informer: Let’s talk about the ‘collectable’ aspect of the game? We gather you’ll be collecting units, but what does that entail? Why would a player bring one unit as opposed to another to form part of their Company load-out?
Evan Humphreys: Players will be able to get packs of units with currency earned in game or real world currency. These packs will be randomized, so even the cheapest packs have the chance to give you the rarest units. The units themselves have a variety of capabilities, making what the player brings a personal choice – one player may like transports, while another focuses on artillery and mortars, and a third rolls with the heaviest tanks they can find. The units are all balanced against each other – some units such as the Panzer VI Tiger tanks may be more individually powerful, but a player using Tigers will have fewer tanks than a player using Crusaders would have.
Strategy Informer: You mention there are many routes to Victory, talk to us about that a little bit. Looking at taking control point vs. obliteration… is that unit based? Or could someone by-pass your army entirely and just go crush your spawn area, or something like that?
Evan Humphreys: Each map on Victory has several key regions that must be controlled. In order to win, a team must control the majority of the regions for a total time period throughout the match. Players can also win by completely wiping out the enemy’s units. In practice, this means that when a team gets ahead in territory, the other team must come out to fight (unless they have a sneaky strategy), so games generally end when one team is too reduced to keep fighting.
Strategy Informer: Sorry to hear about End of Nations by the way – must be hard to have a project shelved like that. Are all of Petroglyph working on Victory now? Or do you have other projects you’ve got going on as well?
Evan Humphreys: It is not uncommon for a developer to hand off the project for live support to the publisher. We are very happy with our productive collaboration with Trion and we’re looking forward to EoN’s release. We do have other projects in early stages of development though all of them are in stealth mode at this time.
Strategy Informer: You guys have worked on a lot of games over the years… which past projects do you think you’re drawing on the most in order to make this game? In terms of lessons learned, the particular skills or processes you’re using to make this game etc…
Evan Humphreys: Victory is drawing on experience learned from all our past projects. Though each strategy game is different, there are a lot of aspects that are similar for all of them – map design, unit design, balance – that we’ve been able to apply our knowledge to in Victory. We’ve also learned with our experience with past online games the importance of community interaction and feedback – something we are making one of our core principles of Victory.
Strategy Informer: Let’s talk about the Kickstarter campaign. You’re asking for 700K, which seems fairly modest. Is this a top-up to already existing resources petroglyph has? You managed to make a fully working prototype, after all.
Evan Humphreys: Based on our calculations, the 700k budget will be sufficient to release the core game. All of these funds will go to the development and release of the game. The prototype was developed by a very small dedicated team, but in order to take the game into production we need proper funding.
Strategy Informer: Do you have a back-up plan in case you can’t get funded?
Evan Humphreys: If the Kickstarter campaign does not success, it is unlikely that Victory will get published. We really need the help of Victory fans to make this dream come true.
Strategy Informer: There are A LOT of pledge rewards as part of your campaign… are you sure you’ll be able to afford all of this AND make the game?
Evan Humphreys: We analyzed all of the potential rewards very carefully when orchestrating our Kickstarter Campaign. The cost of individual rewards is built into the campaign. We are completely confident that we can deliver the game and all the pledge rewards.
Strategy Informer: Speaking of rewards – there’s a lot of talk about ‘Pay-to-Win’ when it comes to free-to-play business models. When people pledge to support your game though, they get gameplay bonus’ etc… that will give them a distinct advantage when the game is out, and there’s some pretty advantageous stuff to be had in your pledge rewards. Do you think this counts as paying-to-win? Will it upset the player balance?
Evan Humphreys: The bonuses players get basically amount to a “head start”. Players playing without having pledged at the kickstarter will be able to reach the same level as the Kickstarter backers, it will just take them more investment in time and/or currency. We’re very cautious of pay-to-win problems, and are taking care to ensure that the footing will always be relatively equal between all players.
Strategy Informer: Finally, there’s an image on your kickstarter page with a dude modelling a T-shirt. He’s holding a pretty cool gun. How much would we have to pledge in order to have that gun?
Evan Humphreys: Kickstarter rules prohibit campaigns from giving out guns. We promise to let you hold it when you visit the studio though – on top of our cool WWII immersive experience!
There you have it then – something a little different, and something that really only has one chance to work. Anyone interested in backing this game can go to the Kickstarter page here. Will you be getting involved?