After the press session earlier on in the day (if you missed it, you can read the preview here) I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to sit down with Lead Creative Designer Michael Donatelli and Associate Creative Designer Paul Mattson to talk a litte more in-depth about Carbine Studio's upcoming MMORPG WildStar. After sitting through the hour-long presentation I had quite a few questions for them…
Carl Phillips: Right, let’s start off with an easy one; how has Gamescom been for you this year?
Michael Donatelli: Gamescom has been great, better than I expected. I’ve been [in the industry] for over a decade now, and I’ve worked on a lot of IP’s that people know, so I’ve been like “Hey, we’re going out to talk about the game” and it’s an IP that’s already established or been around for twenty years, so you feel confident that there’s going to be a built-in fanbase. But this is our IP, this is something we created, so it was a little daunting, so we came out here wondering if anyone was going to like it, but apparently everybody likes it, so it’s much better now!
CP: Before Gamescom, Carbine had stated they have been taking inspiration from many animation styles while creating the look for WildStar to find the correct balance between fun and drama, using animes such as Full Metal Alchemist and Naruto as examples. As a team, how did you approach this to get the right results?
MD: Well, I can’t really speak [about the] art. I mean, I know you’re talking about the blog from Matt Morcaski, our Art Director, and every time we talk we pretty much talk about pretty much all those things you called out. I think we have one of the best art departments in the games industry, but I’ll let [the art] speak for itself. How we wrapped our head around that was much the same thing. Any time [Matt] talks about some kind of cartoon or anime style, I end up watching it so we’re in the same headspace. As I mentioned before, it’s like Firefly meets Indiana Jones, I watch a lot of these movies, trying to get into the headspace of these characters where there’s this dramatic thing, but there’s always this underlying tongue-in-cheek to the art so we mimic that in the content. That’s what we said about the trailer, which has the same kind of flavour as our quest content. One of the zones that we didn’t get a chance to show you, but would have loved you shown you guys, after you leave zone we used in the demos is called Algoroc.
Click here to read the rest of the interview...
If you haven't already, check out Part One of our WildStar Preview at the link here!
Before we got to see an in-game demonstration in action, the conversation moved on to the topic of combat mechanics. Lead Content Designer Michael Donatelli talked about how in MMOs the combat usually boils down to you and an enemy hitting each other until one of you is dead, with abilities thrown in to make the entire affair a bit more interesting and “fun enough.” Carbine decided to try and make things more entertaining for the player by adding in extra functionality, rewarding the player for smart thinking during combat. A basic example of the system we were given was how a player could double tap S (used to walk backwards) to make the on-screen character dash out of the way of an attack, and if done successfully the player is rewarded with a double damage bonus.
At this point the preview build of the game came on the screen in front of us, and we were greeted by three pre-built character choices that were highlighted in the trailer; the large Grunak Warrior, the bunny-esque Aurin Esper (essentially a telekinetic spell-weaver), and the Mal Reynolds look-a-like Human Spellslinger. We were given a brief backstory on the three races mentioned who are part of a faction called the Exiles; a group of alien races brought together for different reasons to take on the Dominion. Humanity, who were formally a part of the Dominion, broke away and joined together with the animalistic Aurin whose home planet had been destroyed by the Dominion, and have been on the fringes of space ever since. The Grunak, on the other hand, only joined the Exiles because they wanted a good fight to satisfy their hunger for battle. Donatelli was quick to point out that the three pre-built choices were done to avoid people spending 20 or more minutes in the character creation (which, if I’m honest, I probably would have done) and insisted that there would be many other races to pick from at release, as well as other classes.
Click here to read the rest of the preview...
Before this year’s Gamescom in Cologne we knew next to nothing about what Carbine Studios had been cooking up for the past few years. We reported on the developer blog which detailed the artistic direction they were intending to go with for the project, and with days to go to the big event in the Koelnmesse we were presented with a few teaser images, but other than that we were in the dark. Nothing. Nada.
Then Gamescom happened, and boy did they deliver with not only the details, but with a playable version of the game that was gleefully thrust in our faces. And it looked glorious.
Tucked away in the NCsoft area of the business centre, Carbine Studios were eager to show off their hard work to groups of journalists. Dealspwn was invited along to the press session, being presented by Lead Content Designer Michael Donatelli and Associate Content Designer Paul Mattson, to unveil the fruits of their labour. Get seated comfortably though, because there is a lot of ground to cover.
The session began with the announcement trailer being played. If you haven’t watched it yet, here it is in all its animated glory.
Right off the bat Donatelli told us that Carbine were looking to do things differently in regards to the MMO genre, as well as the industry in general. He pointed out how they had not only announced a new title at Gamescom and released a trailer, but had brought a hands-on demo along as well, something that is relatively unheard of with the announcement of a big budget title. In a continually growing section of the gaming industry they had to differentiate from the rest of the pack to get noticed, but Carbine are armed with a team who have been involved in the development of many AAA games over the years; Word of Warcraft, Everquest, Metroid Prime and Fallout to name but a few. With their collective experience they had the knowhow to break the mould; it was just a case of figuring out how.Click here to read the rest of the preview...