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PAX AUS 2014 – Everything We Learned @ The BattleCry Studios Panel
Though announced back in May, PAX AUS 2014 was the first big outing for Bethesda’s ambitious BattleCry. A free to play team-based action game, BattleCry had a huge presence at this year’s PAX AUS with the BattleCry booth running shoutcasted 8v8 Capture Point matches all weekend – with tons of free shirts, pins and beta keys for those who stopped by. While the game’s presence on the show floor let players get their hands-on the game, developer BattleCry Studios’ panel on the Saturday gave gamers a peek at the some of the bigger plans they have for the game.
“A world without gunpowder”
Texan developer BattleCry studios is very upfront about the game’s origins. Mechanically-speaking, BattleCry‘s team-based multiplayer action came out a desire to take the brutal combat of character-action titles like God of War and Devil May Cry into the multiplayer space. According to the team behind the game, capturing this “visceral, highly animated combat” was something that went hand in hand with the game’s aesthetic and setting.
“Having strong female characters was a big focus for us”
Much has been made of BattleCry‘s shared heritage with Half Life 2 and Dishonored as a result of its Viktor Antonov-headed art direction but the game’s character design are also noteworthy. BattleCry‘s lead concept artist worked on 2013’s Pacific Rim and the level of detail and style shows. During the Q&A segment of the panel, developers stated that while the game’s rival factions will share the same classes, “each has a different feel” and accompanying set of animations. Furthermore, the developers even took time out of their panel to express a commitment towards “making our female characters aspirational”. They later expanded upon this interest in diversity by saying that whilst the game will launch with genders locked to specific classes, they “want to [eventually] build male and female rigs for all of [their] classes”.
“We wanted to create asymmetrical gameplay opportunities”
Though BattleCry is set to be their debut title, BattleCry Studios has a lot of experience in the world of multiplayer gaming.
With a past in both emergent online experiences like EVE and Ultima Online as more competitively angled games like Call of Duty and Halo 4, the team’s approach to BattleCry‘s melee combat is one that actually has a surprising amount in common with competitive shooters – particularly when it comes to the game’s environmental design.
“We wanted to have, like, a combat dance”
According to BattleCry Studios, “our environments have a lot of verticality and map strategy”. In addition, the team is playing around with a number of more experimental ideas to keep things interesting and “hit that sweet spot” when it comes to lethality of multiplayer melee combat. Some of these – like BattleCry‘s use of vanishing capture points to keep the action moving all over the map – can already be seen while other mechanics like environmental hazards or maps that scale in size based on the numbers players in them are still being playtested internally.
“We’re always looking for ways to bring in community involvement”
Though BattleCry‘s presence at PAX AUS 2014 was clearly one designed to get the game into the hands of players, the development team didn’t shy away from questions about the titles’ future. The news that the game’s first public beta event would be exclusive to players living in Australia and New Zealand was greeted with delight – and with the further detail that those same players would be receiving local servers, enthusiastic applause.
Though they confirmed they had no current plans for an AI-based practice mode, the developers said it was something they would be very eager to investigate if it fell within the interests of the game’s community. This answer also extended to one fan who asked if the game would look at offering players the tools needed to develop custom maps.
“Not every country is part of this treaty and there are conflicts happening outside the war zones”
Finally, in terms of exploring the intriguing world that serves as a backdrop to the action of BattleCry, the development team had a number of comments to make. Though they shut down the suggestion of an eventual Australian faction within the game and remained tight-lipped surrounding the game’s yet to be revealed third faction, they expressed a lot of excitement at the opportunities future developments for the game’s setting would present. According to them, a three-pronged conflict lends itself to a much more interesting and morally grey one – not to mention opens up a world of fascinating map designs for the 32 vs 32 multiplayer title.
You can watch the full panel below: