Interview with Battlerite Developer!
Battlerite is a MOBA in its purest of form, and nearly not a MOBA at all. There are no towers, bases, or 50 minute matches. Everything is solved in direct player versus player combat. The player moves the character with the WASD buttons on the keyboard and aims skills with the mouse. The game offers a wide array of unique champions and arenas so every different fight pans out completely differently. Battlerite released the 20th of September and holds the number one spot for the Steam Top Sellers page.
Stunlock Studios once made another multiplayer arena game: Bloodline Champions, which was released in 2011. Even though the title was well received by critics and won several game rewards, it never truly took off in terms of player numbers. This time around, Stunlock wants to leave a mark with Battlerite and earn itself a spot within the still growing esports environment.
Martin Lövgren, Creative Director of Battlerite recently spoke with Twinfinite about the design of the game, the team’s past mistakes, and what they think will make Battlerite stand the test of time.
Twinfinite: What is your role during the development of Battlerite?
Martin: So we are are a pretty small company, there are 25 of us now but we started as 14. So because of the small size, you have to sometimes work on different aspects of the game. I have been working on matchmaking, the UI, progression system, and the character pipeline. Right now my main focus is on the new ranking system.
How did you and your team experience the launch?
We were very excited even though we had no clue how it was going to be received. All of our games always did very well, but we didn’t really have a huge expectations about how it was going to explode in terms of sales. We thought we had a good strategy planned which was focusing a lot around Twitch. As the day progressed, we saw the numbers keep growing and it was almost unbelievable, since we fought so hard for it. We worked on the game for about one and a half years. It started out a bit slower since we didn’t have our full team on it, so I would say roughly a year of full production.
What is the focus of the development team now?
So every critical bug has top priority. We are also trying our best to get the servers stabilized and build protection for people that try to hack us. There is also a lot of focus in new champions and improving the ranking system. There is a lot to do but we think the most important thing is to keep adding content, which is what the player wants.
So going back into time a little bit, what did you guys learn from Bloodline Champions and how did you apply that knowledge into Battlerite?
So a lot of the Battlerite champions are based on the BLC [Bloodline Champions] Champions, should we expect most of the BLC Champions to show in Battlerite in one way or another?
We are not sure if we are going to add them all. We are looking what Battlerite needs in terms of game play before we add them in. We don’t want to force characters in that don’t belong in the game. We know that the BLC Champions were overall very well received so we might tweak them if the community really wants them to come back.
We are definitely going to add new characters that haven’t made an appearance in BLC, though.
Battlerite was made with competition in mind. Are there any plans for an official Stunlock Studios Battlerite League? Or do you want to see what the community comes up with first?
Right now we want to see what the community comes up with. We want to see what the community prefers; do they want to see 2 vs 2 or 3 vs 3? Can we support both game modes? So right now we don’t have huge plans in terms of creating direct tournaments. Our focus lies more on creating the infrastructure to make it possible to have an esport by growing the community first.
Bloodline Champions came out with esports in mind. Why do you think Battlerite is going to perform differently as an esport?
I think esports is a lot more acceptable right now because more people know about it, especially in Europe and the US. When we worked on Bloodline Champions, Twitch wasn’t big and esports was mainly a thing in Asia. Of course there were tournaments, but it was very hard to get a viewership going. I think we were a bit too early. Right now there still isn’t a real arena game that is focused on 2 versus 2 or 3 versus 3. We didn’t see any big competitors so we thought that we could fill a hole in the market. So I think we can really make a mark in the esports scene.
How do you think Battlerite is going to fit in against the likes of DOTA and League of Legends?
One of Battlerite’s strengths is that the games don’t take long. A Battlerite game takes around 5-8 minutes on average, where a League or DOTA game can take over 40. If a player doesn’t have the time for a game of League, he can always hop in and play some more Battlerite.
At first glance, Battlerite might look like a regular MOBA, but it has a completely different pace. I most certainly think there is a spot for Battlerite in the traditional Arena/MOBA genre.
Other than maps, skins, champions and the new ranking system, what kind of content can we expect to come out in this phase of development?
In the near future we are mainly focused on the things you just mentioned. Since we have everything under control we want to be very flexible so we don’t want to plan super far forward. We want to focus on what the community wants. If game modes will be very high requested, it’s definitely possible that we are going to see more game modes in Battlerite.
Any ETA on the two new champions that you guys talked about on the Steam community page?
I can’t really say anything about the champion yet, but I think we are going to release some kind of teaser in early or mid October, and at the end of October they will be available to everyone who supports us on Early Access.