Talking Titans with the Dev Team
Did you happen to miss the GameSpace Game Show last Friday? Have no fear, the quick recap is here! On the last show, the GS2 team was met by the development studio Missing Worlds Media and the team behind City of Titans which included the Project Lead, Chris “Warcabbit” Hare, the Business Director, David “Terwyn” James, the Technical Director, Nate “Doctor Tyche” Downes and their Gameplay Design Specialist, Spiro “Tannim” Raxiotis.
The show itself was over an hour of conversation delving into the nitty gritty with some old videos as well as some never before seen footage, we’ve pulled out some excerpts of the conversation for your reading pleasure or check out the entire stream in the video below or listen to the podcast here.
Steven: Tell us a little bit about what drove you guys to start City of Titans?
Nate: Me and Terwyn were there in the first meeting.
Chris: Wait, guys, guys, let’s stop and move back about 7 years before that. Once upon a time just before World of Warcraft ever existed … there was a video game that was launched and then promptly stepped on by World of Warcraft being the worlds biggest thing, it was called City of Heroes, and it was a game about being your own super hero. …The point was, it was great, it was all about being who you wanted to be, and then one day, due to legal issue or mostly business issues, the game got shut down rather abruptly. And you know, this was a uniquely positive community, and we looked left, looked right and said, “We’ve been playing this game for 7 years, we’ve grown up, there’s lawyers, there’s programmers, there’s artists, we don’t have to take this! We can make our own game.”
David: Missing Worlds was formally founded the last week of December 2012 under a DBA, we later incorporated.
Chris: And there’s a very good reason why the worlds are missing
Steven: Is that because you are missing the world that’s shut down or you’re just missing the world you haven’t created yet?
David: There’s a reason why our logo (Missing Worlds Media) has a telescope on it. The telescope is basically, we’re searching for a new home.
Chris: So now that we’ve told you where we came from, now the next step is to tell you where we’re going. We are not recreating City of Heroes.
Steven: I think that’s an important distinction to make, to say hey, are you just creating a game from long past or are you going to be moving forward.
Chris: I think you can see by our graphics that we are definitely aiming for triple A quality as much we can. We may not always make it but we’re going to try real hard and in parts we’re succeeding. That being said, the metaphor I like to use is Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy 7 is not Final Fantasy 2, but you can see connections, you can see similarities, you can see themes. I like to think of our game as the game the City of Heroes developers would have made if they knew then what we know now and had the tools that we have. It’s not the same game but it has a lot of the same spirit, and a lot of the same intangible feel to it even though the mechanics are considerably different there’s more possibilities more choices because frankly we have better tools now.
Steven: That brings me into another point, whenever you guys started, The Phoenix Project started in 2013 and you guys were using Unreal Engine 3 at that point?
Nate: We actually began with something called Multiverse, then we went to CryEngine and then we went to Unreal 3. A couple stages so we made the right choice.
David: And Epic has been very good to us.
Steven: With that in mind lets get into the little nooks and crannies of what makes this game different than City of Heroes? In your PAX west demonstration, it looks like you had at one point a pet class running?
Nate: We have the preliminaries for the Pet Class, but the control system for it is not developed at all yet. We have to get the game itself out first.
Chris: Basically, they are all running on automatic, which makes them too good unless you dumb it down quite a bit. An automated system will destroy anything in its path.
Steven: Aside from the pet class, what classes or abilities have you guys worked on. One thing that was interesting about City of Heroes is they had different Archetypes that you could spec into, and I really liked that moreso than the way that they went in Champions Online how it was kind of cherry picking everything. How are you planning on doing that, are you planning on going back more towards classes?
Chris: You’re absolutely correct.
Nate: We’re using the City of Heroes Archetype system but with a twist, the Archetype itself picks your primary power set, what type of powers you can have, you then get a secondary pick which allows you to specialize, so you get sub types under that. We’re only going to launch with one sub type initially but we’re going to add two more to each one of them. And then as you level up you can then Master your system and get a Mastery that really changes the game.
Chris: To simplify it a different way, the Mastery is the part of the game that breaks the rules.
Ralph: So, let’s say if you had Armor as a Primary could you also have Armor as a Sub?
Chris: No, for one thing you wouldn’t have any attacks. City of Heroes taught us a lot and there are certain things that are not fun, for example the Ice Brute (in city of heroes) had Ice Armor, that had the special effect to slow people down, now the Brute, the more you attacked and the more someone attacked you the more damage you did. So, if you had an Ice Armor Brute every time they attack you they slow down so your damage goes way down. That class existed 1 week in the beta, they took it out, they were right to do so. … For that reason we’re not going to have an empathy/empathy class either for those reasons, the healer/healer class is not active enough for launch.
Nate: The way I always look at it is, watch a good super hero movie like watchman. Night owl and Silk Specter go down an alley and get jumped by 30 guys, and the 2 of them beat’em. That’s the feeling we want. It’s not like logging into WoW and you’re fighting one kobold and oh my gosh he’s kicking my ass.
Chris: That’s not to say that like (in the avengers) when Thanos comes down, you’re going to need a lot of people to take him down.
Steven: In terms of character creation this Chargen Video you put out recently, I think it’s a pretty awesome video.
Chris: You’re seeing about a quarter of the body manipulation if that, and very little of that (in the video).
David: Yes we intentionally restrain ourselves in the video simply because it allows us to go to a much higher standard than people think possible.
Chris: Well that and it took too long to film all the options and people got bored.
Steven: It’s a lot tougher to watch someone do this than if you actually got to play with it yourself, which is actually something you guys mentioned might be possible to do sometime this year possibly?
Nate: Oh yeah!
Steven: I know that you guys haven’t quite hit the alpha phase yet, maybe we can kind of get a feel for where you are right now?
Chris: We have about twenty major systems moving towards completion in completely parallel stages, so what’s happening is a bunch of things are slamming into each other at once, and all of a sudden, we have a huge chunk of the game done. Character creation was done first, but maps, quests, all these things are slamming into each other fairly soon.
These excerpts were only a small part of the interview that covered everything from classes, combat, masteries, customization, and Missing World Medias thoughts on last weeks’ news of the Daybreak Layoffs and the staffs picks on what they are playing in their downtime. Check out the GameSpace Game Show every Friday at 10pm EST or download the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever podcasts are found. Upcoming Episodes include the May 4th Star Wars episode, and the May 18th Pantheon show with Special Guests Brad McQuaid and Chris Perkins!