Last week we got the chance to sit down with Origins of Malu’s Michael Dunham to discuss the current state of development and some of the new changes coming to the game for 2015. The game is set for Steam early access coming up in the next few weeks and Mike’s team has been working hard to get everything ready to go. Mike explained a few of the exciting new goals coming up with early launch as well as some of the pitfalls the team faced when developing an independent MMO.
Michael began by summing up some of the pitfalls the project had from the beginning. He said that originally the team was way too aggressive in their scope. Some of the tech choices the team made were too much to bear and they had to start rethinking how they were going to make this project happen. In a bold move they decided to switch and start over using the Unreal Engine. They rebuilt the team and are now moving at a much faster pace with the game. They began to break the project down into versions which will help with their development cycle and allow the community to get more involved. Taping into the Unreal Engine also gives them the option to explore the console market as well, but that's obviously much further down the road. For now, their focus remains on keeping to their project roadmap, which everyone can see on Trello.
Version 1.0 will be modular in fashion to begin the process. Michael described the experience similar to Warcraft’s Alterac Valley on steroids. All of the abilities, combat, and movement will be in the game and players can expect to jump into a battleground style scenario for early gameplay and focus testing on combat and performance of the new engine. Michael is overjoyed with the progress on the module. He is most excited on the fully destructible environments which will resemble a real battlefield on a grand scale when the MMO version goes live.
The combat is moving in a great direction as well. The game is similar to an FPS in style but not as twitchy as some of the fast paced shooters out there. A good example we think would be TERA, which is also built on Unreal, for example. You spend time powering up spells and can see and avoid projectiles that are coming your way. The scenarios the team is working on will have several different formats for their environments. They wanted a capture the flag scenario which plays similar to rugby. Also in this format you will be able to pass the flag between players as well. The other format is a domination style game which will be a slight preview of the faction control system. Players will compete over objectives and use faction markers to stake their claim. Both sides will have the ability to destroy faction markers as well.
For the upcoming module all of the art assets will be included. All of the races will be available for players to choose from. There will be an open skill system so players can try out different styles of play, even if they're not really making their own characters just yet. Being that this is't the full MMO version of Origins of Malu, there will be template characters for players in the first version. The first module will be out for just a little while until version 2.0 and gives players a chance to voice some of their opinions on the game and tweak balance. Version two will be much more of an MMO with crafting, dynamic quests, and the whole faction warfare system. This will set the stage for the team’s end goal of version 3.0 which will offer players craft-able spells, weapons, and full scale destruction... even molecular based crafting and piece-by-piece housing.
To sum up, Michael is serious about not creating a version of Origins of Malu "Lite". They wanted to put out a full game. Players will get into the early modules to experience the much bigger game world on the horizon, all while helping a truly indie team build the MMO of their dreams. They made the conscious choice for quality over quantity and brought new life to the project. For fans of the game there's a lot to look forward to and Mike wants to include the community in the choices moving forward. Look for more from Origins of Malu this week or next as we should be getting access to the early module build soon.