Interview: Switchblade’s Development and Lucid Games’ Success

Even with it’s explosion to popularity years ago, the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) genre is still rife with new and exciting ideas to discover. Launching out of Steam’s Early Access program with a new seasonal Battle Pass, Switchblade has driven onto the scene with engines hot for action. Developed by Lucid Dreams, this MOBA combines the best of both worlds in lane-battling, tactical driving, and rapid-deployment combat systemic of classical Strategy Games. Last week I got the chance to sit down and discuss the game’s development with David Deeble, one of the team’s designers.

 

With most popular MOBAs featuring a greater focus on individual characters standing out, rather than their tools, why the focus on different types of vehicles rather than say their pilots?

We started Switchblade with the goal of making a great vehicle action MOBA, so it’s natural that the vehicles themselves are the focus. Early in development we knew that vehicles needed to be more than just tools and that players should be able to identify with certain traits or characteristics inherent to a vehicle’s gameplay – so, you have the sneaky rogue archetype being fulfilled by the Goofer or the Sniper Prince as the glass cannon and so on. By approaching the design in this way, I think that our vehicles fill the role of the traditional character commonly found in other MOBAs. We also allow players to create and customize their own Pilots so they can forge a sense of identity for themselves – it’s a more relatable way for players to interact in our shared spaces within the game.

 

While currently there’s a skin system in place, are we going to see further vehicle customization options arise in future, such as tires or framework in a similar vein of Rocket League or Mechwarrior Online?

Customization on vehicles is something we’ve talked about internally. It’s a topic that comes up in the community occasionally, but not all that often. Ultimately the discussion always comes back to “how does this impact gameplay”, for example any significant change to a vehicle’s silhouette may impact how identifiable a vehicle is over distance – the skin system we have allows us to create some really cool and unique designs while maintaining authorial control in the interests of gameplay. We do have some ideas in the pipeline that could satisfy all considerations though.

switchblade

With the distinction between different vehicle classes (Tanks, Artillery, Support, etc.) and some of the game’s escorting AI mechanics, is there a potential exclusively for Player vs. Environment encounters or perhaps a main storyline in the future?

Never say never, but right now we’re focused on making the best vehicle action PvP MOBA we can.

 

While the roadmap for Switchblade has been largely laid out as early as February of this year, the game is still in Steam Early Access. What are the team’s plans going forward to push outward from Early Access into a full release?

We have some major updates on the horizon including Leagues (our first competitive playlist), a brand-new map and new vehicles. We’re in a pretty good place right now in terms of stability and all our major systems are in place so our focus can begin to shift toward content creation and managing the live game. Ultimately, we’ll leave Early Access when we feel ready but it’s pretty close!

 

As with many games in the industry, microtransactions are often frowned down upon, particularly with the traditional or seasonal pass. How does Switchblade’s Season Pass stand out in this often-downtrodden field?

Our focus has always been on creating a great multiplayer experience that anyone can jump in and enjoy from day one. Microtransactions in Switchblade are completely optional and purely cosmetic – and they always will be! Our pre-alpha testers may remember our old “Tech” system that allowed players to buy items and modify their stats – we learned the hard way that this was completely counter to the type of experience we wanted players to have. One of the key pillars when creating our Battle Pass was to get the right balance for players to earn everything in a reasonable time frame – but we also give time-poor players the option of progressing their pass. It’s a fine-line between balancing the system for good commercial sense and not pissing off our community – I think we’re doing a good job if we’ve got content that players want to spend a little money on to support us while not interfering with anyone’s enjoyment of the game.

switchblade

Are there plans in the works to see an expansion of the world’s story beyond the edges of the game’s narrative arena?

Yes! Actually if you check out some of the vehicle descriptions in-game you’ll see hints at the wider Switchblade universe. Internally, we have a wiki page with plenty of lore that really fleshes out the world, it’s definitely something we want to get out there in future releases.

 

Currently there are concerns that there’s not a real end-game feel to gameplay, rather a tepid, eventual finale with the destruction of the enemy base during matches. How is the team working to diversify the end-gameplay?

We’re constantly gathering analytical data from the live game and listening to the community, and that really feeds back into our plans to improve the game. It’s still early days, but we’re working on a more refined ruleset for overtime and actively investigating how to make a more satisfying back-and-forth with Tower destruction. In earlier versions players could actually heal their own Towers, and while we felt this perpetuated “turtling” it gave players a reason to defend an exposed power-core rather than abandon it completely. We’re working right now to create a good balance between attack and defense, while not letting one team snowball a victory.

 

How happy is the team overall with Switchblade’s production and reception thus far?

We’re absolutely thrilled – the game’s out there, people are enjoying it and we have a strong and passionate community who are really invested. They can be pretty tough on us but we love it – we’ve always maintained that it’s their game as much as it ours!

switchblade

Currently there’s a very wide spread of vehicles across the different types. Is there a planned or ideal cap for the development team?

The cool thing about Switchblade is that we’re still finding fun new ways to play. When we start developing a new vehicle we ask ourselves how will this vehicle challenge players, what niche does it fill that we haven’t explored yet. So long as we can answer those questions then we’ll keep updating the roster. We’ve got some really cool vehicles in the pipeline that expand on the tactical aspect of the game, so right now the sky’s the limit!

 

Is there anything you’d like our readers to know about Switchblade, its upcoming development and its future?

It’s a great time to be playing Switchblade right now – the upcoming launch of competitive Leagues is our biggest update yet and I’m really excited to see how competitive play changes the game, we’ve also got the new Monorail map just on the horizon and of course our very first Battle Pass is still running. Switchblade is a real labor of love for us so if you’d like to join our passionate community then you can grab the game free on Steam and on PS4 from the PSN store.

A big thanks to David for sitting down with us to talk about Switchblade.

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Switchblade, the MOBA with Vehicles is Now Free to Play

Vehicle-based games are rare so when Switchblade graced our inbox we knew had to talk about it. Switchblade is a 5v5 team-based MOBA where all the combat takes place with heavily armed sci-fi vehicles in a massive arena. The game is currently in Early Access and is being developed by UK development team Lucid Games. You can find it on Steam right now and Playstation 4 is scheduled very soon.

From a development standpoint, the move to free to play also represents a transition from Early Access to beta. Of course, this can’t quite be accurately displayed in places like Steam. For them being in beta means that the game is effectively feature complete. Beta is about getting player feedback, squashing bugs, and introducing more content.

If you’re interested in learning more about the game there will be a developer livestream tomorrow, January 23rd at 3 PM GMT on Twitch. They don’t have an agenda planned for the livestream but they will be there to answer player questions, celebrate the launch of free to play, and giving away some in-game currency. If you have a question already in mind send them a tweet and they’ll be sure to answer it on stream. This is especially great since 3 PM GMT is 10 AM Eastern so there’s a good chance you won’t be able to watch the stream live anyway. Thankfully the livestream will be available on social media after it wraps up so you’ll be able to watch it whenever you get the chance.

If you’re interested in giving Switchblade a try head over to Steam where you can grab it for free. If you haven’t already seen it be sure to check out the brand new, explosion-packed trailer below.

Source: Press Release, Official Blog

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Switchblade Tries to Mesh Vehicular Combat and MOBA Gameplay

While the Great MOBA Crash of 2016 has come and gone, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few dev studios trying to take a unique stab at the sub-genre. For example, we’ve got here a Switchblade early access announcement, which is trying to combine the great tastes of MOBA-like gameplay and vehicular combat at the end of this month.

switchblade early access

Switchblade features 5v5 arena combat where teams battle it out in a futuristic sport with a variety of sci-fi vehicles. Each vehicle type plays a unique role in team composition and fits into one of five roles, be it support or long-range fire or harasser and scout. The objective of gameplay isn’t immediately spelled out, but the protection and destruction of towers on each of the game’s maps appears to be the primary goal.

Switchblade is due to arrive to early access on both Steam and PlayStation 4 on Tuesday, August 28th. Details on what’s available in early access, including play modes and more, can be read here and a trailer showing off the game in action is embedded below.

Our Thoughts

Frankly, we’re going to need a little more information about just how matches work in Switchblade, but we’ve got to admit that the wrinkle of attack vehicles and the pacing of the game certainly seems to bode well for this one. Consider us extremely curious.

Source: press release

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The MMO Alpha and Beta List: September 15, 2017

For a moment I considered posting the lyrics to Wild Wild West and leaving this week’s MMO Alpha and Beta List summary at that, but I came to my senses rather quickly. The good news is that Wild West Online is now in Alpha!

From the makers of Verdun comes an all-new World War 1 shooter called Tannenberg. Early access for it begins November 16th.

Viking badassery Valnir Rok is headed for Early Access as well, expect to see it start September 26th.

If you own Fortnite you can log into the test server and try out Battle Royale.

Closed Beta on Royal Blood begins September 25th.

And if you don’t have enough vehicle-based arena battles in your life check out Switchblade which is in closed beta for PC and PS4.

Waterfight game Battle Splash is now in Open Beta and you can look forward to Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands PvP in open beta from September 21st to the 25th.

Seed

Thanks to our friends over at MassivelyOP we discovered Seed this week and filed it under announced but unplayable. Along with it, we added ARG Wizardry game Maguss. It looks like what you’d get it Harry Potter and Pokemon Go had a baby. I for one cannot wait to play!

Majestic The Card Game has finished its Kickstarter campaign.Sadly it was not successful.

Another card game has been spotted on Kickstarter this week though! Champions of Megara is looking to raise €50,000.

 

You can find all of these games and many more in the list below. Keep an eye out for the new  flag for everything new this week.

 

Pre-Alpha and Alpha

Wild West Online

Wild West Online

Arcfall Official Site MMO Survival
Ark Park Official Site Dinosaur VR
Ashes of Creation Official Site Fantasy Sandbox MMORPG Alpha Dec 15
Bless Online Official Site MMORPG Korea Alpha
Breakaway Official Site Sport Brawler
Camelot Unchained Official Site Fantasy MMORPG
Children of Ur Official Site Glitch-revival
Closers Official Site Anime Action RPG September
Copia Official Site Strategy Card Game
Crowfall Official Site Strategy MMORPG
Dogma: Eternal Night Official Site Gothic Horror MMO
Dragon of Legends Official Site Online aRPG
Dual Universe Official Site Sci-Fi MMORPG Sept 30
Durango Official Site Mobile Dinosaur Survival Launches Q4 2017
Eco Official Site Global Survival Game
Empyrion Official Site MMORPG
Exidium Corp Official Site Sci-Fi Sandbox
Fangold Official Site Digital TCG
Forsaken Legends Official Site MMORPG
Legends of Aria Official Site Sandbox MMORPG
Lineage Eternal Official Site Action MMORPG Delayed
Little War Online Official Site 2D MMORPG
New Dawn Official Site Survival Sandbox
OrbusVR Official Site VR MMORPG
Preta: Vendetta Rising Official Site Hack and Slash MORPG
Project Gorgon Official Site Fantasy MMORPG
Pumpkin Online Official Site Non-Combat Game
Rebel Horizons Official Site Sci-Fi MMO
Sacrament Official Site Indie MMORPG
SamuTale Official Site Sandbox MMO
Sea of Thieves Official Site Pirate Adventure MMO Technical Alpha
Skara – The Blade Remains Official Site MOBA(ish)
Tale of Toast Official Site Indie PvP
Valiance Online Official Site Superhero MMORPG
 Wild West Online Official Site Wild West Sandbox MMORPG
Zombie Barricades Official Site 3rd Person RPG

 

Early Access

Abatron Official Site RTS FPS
Age of Heroes VR Official Site MMORPG inspired VR
Arena: Cyber Evolution Official Site Sports MOBA
Battalion 1944 Official Site WW2 Multiplayer Shooter
Battlerite Official Site Team Arena Brawler
Boundless Official Site Voxel Sandbox MMO
Citadel: Forged With Fire Official Site Fantasy Sandbox MMORPG
Conan Exiles Official Site Open World Survival Launch Q1 2018
Dark and Light Official Site Dark Survival MMORPG
Days of War Official Site WWII Shooter
DayZ Official Site Zombie Survival
Descent: Underground Official Site Multiplayer Sci-Fi Shooter
Divided We Fall Official Site Team Strategy Game
Fortnite Official Site 3rd Person Action Builder
Gloria Victis Official Site Sandbox MMORPG
Golden Rush Official Site 4-Team MOBA
Grav Official Site Sci-Fi Sandbox MMO
Guardians of Ember Official Site Hack’n’Slash MMORPG
H1Z1: Just Survive Official Site Zombie Survival
H1Z1: King of the Kill Official Site Battle Royale Survival
Heavy Gear Assault Official Site MMO-ish PvP Arena
Hellion Official Site Multiplayer Space Survival
Hyper Universe Official Site Side Scroll MOBA
Islet Online Official Site Sandbox MMORPG
JCB Pioneer: Mars Official Site Survival Sandbox
Jeklynn Heights Official Site Match-Based Multiplayer
Kings and Heroes Official Site Co-Op Action RPG
Labyrinth Official Site CCG RPG
Lifeless Official Site Zombie Survival
Line of Defense Official Site MMOFPS
Linkrealms Official Site Sandbox MMORPG
Naval Action Official Site Naval Sandbox MMO
Novus Inceptio Official Site Sandbox Survival MMO
Of Kings and Men Official Site Multiplayer Strategy
One Tower Official Site Micro MOBA
Osiris: New Dawn Official Site Space Survival Adventure
Out of Reach Official Site Survival Sandbox
Overpower Official Site MOBA-Style MMOFPS
Pathfinder Online Official Site Sandbox MMORPG
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Official Site Battle Royale Survival
Project Genom Official Site Sci-Fi Shooter
Quake Champions Official Site Shooter
Riding Out Official Site Horse MMO
Rokh Official Site Sci-Fi Survival
Saga of Lucimia Official Site Sandbox MMORPG
Savage Lands Official Site Multiplayer Survival
Shroud of the Avatar Official Site Fantasy MMORPG
Star Citizen Official Site Spaceship Simulator
Stash Official Site Turn-Based RPG
 Tannenberg Official Site WW1 Shooter Nov 16
The Black Death Official Site Medieval Survival MMO
The Exiled Official Site PvP Sandbox
The Isle Official Site Dinosaur Survival
The Culling Official Site Battle Royale Shooter
Throne of Lies Official Site Social Deduction
Tiger Knight Empire At War Official Site PvP Strategy
TUG Official Site Sandbox Survival
Utherous Official Site Fantasy Sandbox MMORPG
 Valnir Rok Official Site Norse Sandbox Sept 26
VRobot Official Site Robot Smash VR
Wild Buster Official Site Sci-fi Hack’n’Slash October
Wild Terra Official Site Sandbox MMORPG
Win That War! Official Site MMORTS

 

Closed Beta

Switchblade

Battlerite Official Site Team Arena Brawler
Dauntless Official Site Co-op Action RPG
Escape From Tarkov Official Site Military MMO
Fable Fortune Official Site Digital TCG
Fairy Tale: Hero’s Journey Official Site Online RPG
 Fortnite Official Site PvP Battle Royal Mode
Fringe Wars Official Site Space MOBA Spring 2018
Lost Ark Official Site Diablo-esque Action Game Korea Only
Luna Online Official Site Anime MMORPG SE Asia Beta
Moonlight Blade Official Site MMORPG Korea Only, Sept 7-30
One Tower Official Site Micro MOBA
Paragon Official Site MOBA
PigBang Official Site Mobile MOBA
 Royal Blood Official Site Mobile MMORPG Korea Only Sept 25
Shadowgun Legends Official Site Destiny-like Mobile
Shattered Skies Official Site Survival Shooter
Shot Online Golf Official Site Golf the MMO
Soul Master Official Site RTS/RPG Blend
 Switchblade Official Site 5v5 Vehicle Arena PC & PS4
The Amazing Eternals Official Site FPS-Deckbuilding Strategy Formerly Called Keystone
Total War: ARENA Official Site RTS Battle
Worlds Adrift Official Site Sandbox MMO

 

Open Beta

Battle Splash

ArcheAge Begins Official Site Mobile Spinoff
 Battlesplash Official Site Water Shooter
Dreadnought Official Site Internet Spaceships PS4 Beta
Ever, Jane Official Site Jane Austen MMORPG
INSIDIA Official Site Strategy PvP
Kritika Online Official Site Action RPG Launch Sept
MU Legend Official Site Action MMORPG Delayed to Nov
Paladins Official Site Team-Based Shooter
Raiders of the Broken Planet Official Site 4v1 Shooter Sept 15-16
Shroud of the Avatar Official Site Fantasy MMORPG
Supernova Official Site Sci-fi MOBA
 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Official Site Shooter Sept 21-25
Transformers Online Official Site Overwatch a-like Chinese Beta
Virtual Earth Online Official Site World Building

 

Crowdfunding

Champions of Megara

 Champions of Megara Kickstarter Digital Trading Card Ends Oct 7
Citadel of Sorcery Open Donation MMORPG
City of Titans Kickstarter Superhero MMORPG Coming Soon
Exile Online Gofundme Dystopia Cyberpunk In Development
Life is Hard Kickstarter RP MMO Ends Sept 29
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen Open Donation Fantasy MMORPG
Sacrament Patreon Indie MMORPG
Shadow’s Kiss Patreon Vampire Adult MMORPG
Star Citizen Open Donation Space Simulator MMO
Valiance Online Open Donation Superhero MMORPG Ongoing
War of Conquest Kickstarter MMORTS Ends Oct 5

 

Announced But Unplayable

Chronicles of Elyria Official Site Sandbox MMORPG
City of Titans Official Site Superhero MMORPG Pre-Alpha 2017
 Maguss Official Site Magic Location Based ARG
Harry Potter meets Pokemon Go
 Seed Official Site Survival
Ship of Heroes Official Site Superhero MMORPG
Alpha Dec 2017, Beta Dec 2018
Untitled Funcom Conan Game Turn-based Strategy
Vermintide 2 Official Site Warhammer Shooter
Wizard Online Official Site VR MMORPG
Confirmed on hiatus but not dead

 

Giveaways

Seas of Gold

Seas of Gold

The Amazing Eternals Beta Keys
Seas of Gold Beta Keys

The post The MMO Alpha and Beta List: September 15, 2017 appeared first on MMOGames.com.