Gigantic Interview with Designer Carter McBee At first glance you might think you know everything you need to about Motiga’s next title Gigantic. It’s free to play. It’s a MOBA. It’s coming to PC. It’s a tale you think you’ve heard before. But if you look a little closer, you’ll realize Gigantic offerings go deeper – Gigantic is also coming to Xbox One, will be cross-platform, offers a unique 3rd person action adventure camera and deploys a never before seen win condition. Each match is a 5 on 5 PVP skirmish, but the true champion of the arena is a mammoth size guardian each side must defeat in order to secure victory. The guardians are the namesake of Gigantic and will enter the battle alongside heroes in order to defeat the opposing team’s guardian. Gigantic offers players of various genres the chance to feel at home with the character offerings. There is a sniper based character for traditional FPS fans. If you prefer brawlers, one tank-melee hero offers no ranged attacks and is still effective in combat. Other characters are skilled more like traditional MOBA selections or inspired by a RPG background. Gigantic is currently in alpha-production, with a beta to release in August on Windows 10 and Xbox One. Carter McBee, Gameplay Designer with Motiga, discusses the current state of Gigantic, what players can look forward to and how the community is important to the development team. “When you jump into Gigantic, it feels fluid. If you are familiar with any action game or shooter you will know how to move around instantly.” McBee goes on to say that during convention-demos such as PAX, GDC or E3 players are having fun even when they don’t know the exact mechanics. “Its accessible, but there is a lot to pick up. That learning is fun because of the fluidity of the environment, skills and combat.” The environments set the tone for how the match can play out. Currently, there are three maps available, with plans to increase the quantity closer to release. “The maps add flavor to the game and each plays differently. We’ve already released the smallest we will ever make and the largest we will ever make. The Canyon is the smaller, more straightforward map. We expect it to be more teamfight oriented. Temple map has multiple paths, it is more about the smaller skirmishes.” McBee reinforces the current map diversity, player selection, guardian count and balance are those of an alpha build. The game will be larger upon release and supported throughout the years to come as long as there is a player base engaged. One way Motiga will ensure that player base is feedback from the community. “We are a community focused company and hope to make a community focused game.” Players can already see community feedback through the developers Q&A sessions and engaged social media – which shares fanart of the playable characters. “Gigantic is a competitive game and we recognize that. We are trying to prevent the toxicity as much as possible. When we go to trade shows we bring along community members (non-employees) to work the showfloor. We have them coaching the players. In that way we are constantly taking the community’s feedback to heart.” To reduce the toxicity associated with some MOBA communities, Gigantic is building in a check and balance system to limit when the game is effectively over compared to when the actual match will end. “In a lot of competitive games 5 minutes in you know who is going to win but the game needs to play out for another 30 minutes. And people are just getting angry. There are going to be matches where one team is just going to win, hands down. If you are getting crushed and there is no way to come back the session will end in about 7 minutes.” The seven minute match sounds like a built in mercy-rule for when everyone knows that victory is guaranteed. The typical match will last about fifteen minutes. If it is a close game and players are being conservative with their strategy, games can last between 20 to 25 minutes. This doesn’t mean that the team winning in the beginning is necessarily going to win in the end. “We also want to encourage dramatic reversals – you always feel like you have a chance to get back. Other times we have games that look like there is a steamroll, but there is a comeback. In a traditional MOBA there is gold, items and stat increases throughout the match. With our game there is no money or items. There are levels ( 1 – 10 ) but you are never more than 1 or 2 behind. It becomes a rallying system as opposed to pointing blame because someone fed the enemy kills.” This way players can overcome their opponents by deploying a new strategy or adapting to the environment, instead of feeling that there is an impossible stat-difference holding them back. McBee goes on to say the team is working on creating a balanced world for players. “The way we do that is take feedback from all sorts of places. First, internally we play the game every day at 4:00 and jump into the queue. We play a couple of games. After each test, anyone on the team can write a post for changes. We look at that feedback and see what we want to do. We do a new build internally everyday.” “Second, of course we have our Alpha environment. New builds once a month. Third, we have a core-test environment, people who are better than we are. When we first opened it up we were crushing them for two weeks but now they steamroll us. These are high-end competitive players pointing out shifts. Finally, data analysis to see what happened in a game or look in the alpha environment to see if a character is winning 80% of the time.” McBee says playing Gigantic is the most rewarding part of working at Motiga. At other places he worked the designers don’t have time or motivation to play the game they are working on because of the crunch in development. Because of the time spent playing the game and feedback loop from the community, Motiga is able to rapidly develop and enhance the balance for Gigantic. When asked about microtransactions, McBee admits nothing official has been announced yet, but he doesn’t think they will do anything unexpected. “We will be selling cosmetic items. There are models out there that prove you can sell items that aren’t pay to win. We will be announcing more during the beta, but the gameplay should speak for itself.” Gigantic releases in Beta this August for Windows 10 and Xbox One. There will be cross-platform play available, but players will need to opt-in to be matched with the opposite platform. For more news on Gigantic, check out their website and be sure to download the beta (or full game)…it is free and could be your new favorite game. Level Up, Friends!