MAG interview talks classes, communication, beta
Friend of the site (seriously, he likes us!) Jeff Rubenstein sat down with Zipper Interactive’s Lead Designer Andy Beaudoin and VP Michael Gutmann (actually, he stands next to Michael) and practically assaulted them with questions, both his own and some from the readers of the PS blog, about upcoming 256 MMO frag-fest MAG (or M.A.G. – depending on your orientation).
Clocking in at a mighty 11 minutes plus, there is literally more information here than you can shake an Armalite AR-10 carbine gas-powered semi-automatic weapon at.
But, for those of you who prefer news in textual format, or just can’t watch video right now and still want the skinny, here’s the details in handy Super-Summaryâ„¢ format.
- MAG has been in development for over three years with Zipper’s decision to leave the successful SOCOM franchise based on an opportunity to create something truly spectacular based on the PS3’s new technology. When they realised it would be possible to have 256 players online concurrently – this was a prodigious goal to aspire to.
- Don’t think it’s just a massive Charge of the Light Brigade with people running about haphazardly and dropping like flies. There is a story behind the explosions with all three private armies each having an ethos and certain plot-driven objectives.
- You will choose one of the three private groups available when creating a character and then “level up” your mercenary by engaging in skirmishes. Later on there is the opportunity to create new characters from different factions.
- Speaking of characters, you do not pick a class from the getgo. Medics can shoot people and plant explosives but, as the game progresses and you skill up with personalised enhancements, your character will gravitate towards a certain class. Referred to as “load outs” and not “skills”, these perks will forge what type of character you become. It’s quite possible that there will be many “Jack Of All Trade” characters per game.
- There will be a beta but there are no details at the moment. Expect to hear something “soon”.
- Rating will be T for Teen-erific so don’t expect explicit head shots or detachable limbs. This will ensure a larger fan base as MAG “needs a lot of people to feed it.”
- It’s chaotic but it’s not “chaos”. Though each game ultimately ends with everyone merging together and fighting it out, there are “tactical objectives” that are scattered throughout the map that need to be achieved before the all-out culmination of conflict at the end.
- Players will quickly learn that working as a team will garner more experience points. If your OIC tells you to “project a bridge” for example, players who do this obtain higher XP.
- Considering the amount of people online at the same time, communication in the game is key. The Squad Communication Channel allows you to speak to your squad members. There is also a Command Channel that allows the Squad Leaders to talk and conspire. Finally, there is the Company Channel which allows all four platoon leaders to converse with their OIC.
- The OIC (Commander) role emanatesÂ certain special abilities to other players. Stay close to your OIC and you’ll be able to run faster, plant bombs quicker etc. It’s up to the individual how the OIC takes control of the game. Some may want to sit in a tank and bark orders while others might want to lead from the front and proffer their “aura bonus” to their team mates. Everyone has access to the CNI (Command Network Interface) to check objectives, view the map and basically figure out where to go and how to achieve assigned goals.
- Game modes will be similar to what people have experienced before with the necessary tweaks. After all, a 256 player Capture The Flag round would be “like a herd of ants running about the place”. In its place is “Escort” which involves stealing your enemies’ vehicles. “Suppression” is like a training round against your team mates (think Team Deathmatch) while “Domination” sets up some secondary objectives before culminating on one big key goal.
- If you’re worried that your OIC is some noob with no experience, think again. Getting to the higher echelons of command will take (some) time. You must play enough games (not too many apparently) before being considered for the role of Squad Leader. It seems that the match making process is quite complex and even checks to see the last time you acted out the role when deciding who gets the nod. There are sixteen Squad Leaders and four Platoon Leaders per match. Achieving the ultimate accolade of OIC will only happen after you’ve proved your mettle as Platoon Leader and chalked up some wins.
There you have it. There’s more in the actual interview which you can view below.