We caught up with Battlerite marketing director Johan Ilves to learn more about the team arena brawler now that it's launched on Steam.
MMORPG.com: For those who may not be familiar, can you give us an overview of Battlerite?
Johan Ilves: Battlerite is a team-based arena brawler focused on pure PvP combat. It’s the spiritual successor to our first game Bloodline Champions, which took inspiration from WoW Arena. Imagine the intense teamfights from a MOBA mashed with a top-down shooter.
MMORPG.com: What's important about Battlerite's distinction as a team arena brawler vs. a standard MOBA? Also, what sets the game apart from its peers?
Johan Ilves: Battlerite is the fighting game of the MOBA world. It looks like the standard MOBA at first glance but it plays very differently. You move with precise WASD controls and it’s all about landing skillshots. The game’s focus on teamfights, quick games and action elements makes it stand out. We have a lot of players who don’t even play MOBAs, but are totally invested in Battlerite.
MMORPG.com: As a free-to-play title, players will naturally be curious about the game's business model. How do things work in Battlerite? Are loot boxes a thing?
Johan Ilves: Battlerite’s business model is designed to be fitted and fair to all types of players. We don’t have any power-progression, making everyone fight at equal grounds. People may claim owning more champions than someone else is power, but we see it as diversity and we put a lot of effort into having all champions equally balanced.
With the Champion Pack we want to target players who prefer a one-time buy that gives you all gameplay now and forever. The loot boxes are a fun and nice way of handing out rewards to our players. Receiving random outfits and weapons for all champions also gives incentive to try out new characters, making the total gameplay experience more distinct. Having a loot box system also allows us to keep the price down and there are many people who really enjoy the excitement of purchasing and opening a bunch of chests. We also have the Token currency that allows you to purchase certain items directly.
All in all it's a flexible and, we’d like to think, an appreciated system and we believe it's very suitable for our game.
MMORPG.com: Battlerite was in Early Access for over a year. Could you give us a rundown of some of the key improvements or additions that have been made to the game over the course of Early Access?
Johan Ilves: We have received extremely positive feedback early on and were amazed with how many players took part in our Early Access. Listening to player feedback, adapting our gameplay systems and pushing the quality of our champions, both gameplay and art-wise, have been our top priority during Early Access.
We have launched Early Access with 15 champions and gradually added another seven to a total of 22 for the F2P launch. We’ve put a lot of effort into balancing champions and creating new ones as well as made some big changes to hitboxes and movement, expanded the tutorial, added new game modes such as ‘Battlegrounds’, overhauled the ranking system, improved the Battlerite System, added achievements and quests, revamped the menu UI and a lot more.
On top of that, we have been scaling up and improving our pipelines that would allow us to create new champions and new features faster, as well as improve the new user experience. We’ve been hiring a lot of new talent to be prepared for the scope of the F2P launch.
After gaining some confidence from the successful EA period, we concentrated a lot more on marketing and promoting the F2P launch. Needless to say, we are very happy with the outcome.
MMORPG.com: Given the game's tight focus on competitive PvP, what lies ahead for the future of Battlerite as an esport? Do you have any specific plans you can share at this time?
Johan Ilves: Looking at how competitive Battlerite is at its core, we’ve always had esports in mind. Already during Early Access we started setting up tournaments and working on organically growing our esports scene together with our community. With the growth of the game we will definitely invest more in esports, but that’s all I can say for now.
MMORPG.com: Now that the game is live, what are some changes or improvements you're looking to make to the game in the near term?
Johan Ilves: There are obviously tons of cool features and improvements we would like to add. Right now we are continuing to improve the new UI. We are also working on a Pre-Match Lobby, that will greatly improve the champion picking and adds a strategy phase before the match starts.
MMORPG.com: Looking a bit down the road, what can you share about your long term plans for Battlerite?
Johan Ilves: Apart from adding new Champions we will be improving our social systems and trying to strengthen Battlerite’s image as a truly competitive game. We will be looking into a dynamic tournament system, which would include everyone, not only the top hardcore players. Keeping our players happy is our top priority so we will continue to grow Battlerite with a steady flow of exciting events and new content.