Give a little back story behind Online Soccer Champions. How did the game come about?
The game was developed to fit an underserved audience; there is a large portion of the world’s population who love online games but didn’t have the chance to interact in a virtual world all about The World Game: Soccer. The online game space has matured to a state where it’s not just about fantasy settings, and there are other genres and experiences that people are looking for.
A few years ago, we set out to create an authentic soccer game for a global audience. Since then, Online Soccer Champions has been in development and gone through several iterations – previously under the name “Interzone Futebol.” This year, however, we are finally releasing the game to a wider audience in multiple markets. We have upgraded both the client and the server to the latest version of Big World, the 1.9 release that supports 64-bit architecture on the backend and several other improvements we wanted to take advantage of.
We were also able to update all our ‘on pitch’ animations with motion capture performance, thanks to our partner Mixamo. They delivered the mocap work quickly and efficiently, resulting in smoother animations and an ability to quickly iterate and tweak things moving forward… and even more animations are coming soon!
How do players progress in the game? Is there a leveling system?
Yes, OSC is all about taking a character and customizing their progression to suit each player’s style. Every player earns experience points (EXP) based on the actions taken on the pitch -- many events will share EXP with multiple players on the same team. As players fill their EXP Bar and level up, they receive a skill point that can be spent in our Skill Tree.
In general, all stats are use-based; players are rewarded for what they do on the pitch, if they focus on completing a lot of passes, then they will become better at passing. Players will also earn special sponsorship items and achievements for how they conduct themselves in a match, team play is encouraged, and a portion of the EXP is shared between all the teammates when the game is successfully completed.
Talk about the live matches and group play, how does that work in Online Soccer Champions?
All games are live and with a group. 11 players on each side comprises a core game; but you can also play with as few as six a side (during the beta). We’ve also integrated a matchmaking system, and a guild-like ‘Club system’ where players can create their own Soccer Club, then enter our competitive leagues.
Sports MMOs continue to be a growing genre, how does OSC fit into this area?
Quite well! We’ve focused on the core ‘on pitch’ experience, to give players an exciting skill-based challenge. We also have a public social space, with multiple instances that will be created dynamically in response to our online population. We feel that there is plenty of room in the Sports MMO genre for innovation; and with World Cup fever at an all-time high in the US, it’s definitely an exciting time for us to be launching this game. And of course, we’ll have much more to come.
What are your favorite elements about the game that really brings soccer fans into a match?
I really love the team play aspect– just like in real life soccer, one player can’t win a game. It takes a team effort, and we’ve tried to recreate that experience in Online Soccer Champions. We’ve gone an extra step to include controls that show what your team mates are thinking to help translate that on-the-pitch instinct to a virtual medium. Finally, the customization aspect is really nice – players can choose what style of game they want to play; just like real life.
What are your expectations for closed beta?
Well, our biggest challenge moving into closed beta will be looking at the balance of skills and progression with our player base. It’s great to bring the game to a wider audience, we really want to hear what the community thinks and make any improvements that we can to benefit the core game experience.
Do you see a crossover among fans of MMOs and fans of action sports games coming together in OSC?
Absolutely. Our game has the best elements of both, there is a core tactical action game, where players use WASD controls to fight for position, attack and defend. Then there are more MMO elements: How a user specs their character, progression up to that point, items they have won or purchased all determine the outcome of a match.
How can players find out about closed beta and get involved in testing?
Thanks for asking, more information is available at OnlineSoccerChampions.com. Keep an eye on this site for more details. And we’re progressively letting more players in to the beta, so you can still signup and get a beta code that gives you access to the game!