LawBreakers Dev Interview: VR Plans, Free Post-Launch Content, Xbox One Version Possible & More
We would like to thank Dan Nanni and Boss Key Productions for this opportunity.
LawBreakers is an upcoming first-person shooter with gravity and time-bending elements, being developed by Boss Key Productions and published by Nexon. The game is just a couple of weeks away, and we thought it’s the perfect time to sit down with Lead Designer Dan Nanni to discuss several topics, mostly regarding LawBreakers and Boss Key Productions’ future plans. Nanni didn’t rule out an Xbox One version of the game, as it might come later down the line.
Q: LawBreakers was available for players through the recent alpha and beta periods, with the most recent one taking place a couple of weeks ago. Does the team have enough time to apply the feedback attained from this most recent beta period?
Some things are easier to fix than others, and some fixes present themselves more easily than others. First we figure out what needs fixing – “This role is too powerful!” can be fixed in one, or more, of many different ways. Once we identify the solution, we figure out what it takes to fix it. Then the severity of the problem also influences when we need to aim for a fix.
When you combine all of that together, the short answer is: Yes, there’s enough time, but it depends on how complex the solution is and whether our systems already support that fix or if we have to create something new to do it.
Q: How confident are you in a smooth release?
Very confident! I’ve shipped games with Arjan Brussee before, and I know how highly he values a smooth launch.
Q: LawBreakers provides players with a wide variety of unique characters, and I got to play with a number of them and felt the difference. Do you think LawBreakers can stand on its own against the likes of Overwatch? Do you think it’s fair to compare LawBreakers to Overwatch?
I don’t think “fair” is the right word so much as it’s natural. This is just how we think and we, as people, like finding ways to compare things as it lets us communicate common understandings. I also understand that video games aren’t cheap, so players need reasons to spend their hard-earned dollars on something they don’t already own. That means developers have to sell players on what makes the game different and worth their time and money.
And yes, I think LawBreakers can easily stand on its own. If there could only be a handful of successful multiplayer first-person shooters, then we would have stopped making them back in the 1990’s. But that isn’t the case, and LawBreakers is a game worth your time and money as long as you enjoy fast-paced competitive multiplayer shooters.
Q: What was your ambition when you started working on LawBreakers?
Personally, this was my chance to work on a brand new IP and to bring ideas to a game that didn’t yet have a fully defined vision. When you work on established IPs and franchises, you must design within their boundaries. That is also fun and challenging, but I wanted to try something new.
As a company, we wanted to establish ourselves as a company worth respecting. We put our players first and want to create something we can all enjoy together. As our first game under Boss Key, it has to represent who we are and what we’re about. We knew shooters, we’ve made many, and now we get to collectively make one with our community that I think we’re all very proud of.
Q: When it comes to games that really thrive on gravity based gameplay, Gravity Rush comes to mind. What was the inspiration behind fusing something like that with an FPS game? What are the challenges?
Verticality is always a challenge. Getting players up and off the ground as a core mechanic takes a lot of iteration and time to make it feel intuitive. Blending that with different roles that can play with it in different ways, inside different maps with different game modes active, gravity altering effects – those are all additional challenges. But challenges are also what makes game development fun.
The inspiration for gravity was one of our game pillars from the very beginning. We didn’t quite know what gravity meant for us, but it was something Cliff wanted as part of the game from the very beginning. I believe his specific inspiration was the book Leviathan Wakes from the Expanse series.
Q: How well was the game’s reception in its latest beta phase? Were you happy with the reception? Since the game’s development period is nearly done and what people got to play is as close as they will get to the final product.
The reception was very good, especially on the PS4 which had its first closed beta. Players are talking about core balance issues, how a specific role is under or overpowered, the specifics on what would make a game mode tighter, etc. These are the discussions we want happening and represent discussions players will have continuously for a live, launched game. They’re not talking about major revisions, sweeping changes in philosophies, etc. That’s great for a beta.
And more importantly, the ones who are playing it are not talking about how it plays like other games. In fact, they’re very vocal on how different LawBreakers plays from anything else they’ve played before and how enjoyable the experience is.
Q: Does Boss Key Productions’ have any specific post-release plans such as free DLC, map packs, new characters, etc.?
We’re working on a bunch of stuff that will launch in the future. And we’re not charging for new gameplay like roles, maps, modes. When we have ones that are ready to drop, as long as the game is owned, the updates can be downloaded and played without limitation or fees.
Q: The fast-paced nature of LawBreakers might not be the best suited for a VR experience. However, did you ever consider the possibility of a VR version?
For now we’re just focused on standard PC peripherals and PS4 controls. VR would definitely present a challenge, but there hasn’t been a decision either for or against it. We just need to focus on the game’s launch and core offerings first.
Q: Is there any chance we can see LawBreakers come to Xbox One?
Always a chance, but for now we’re just talking about the PC and PS4. There’s only so much our small studio can do before we have to put in a formal request to extend our days beyond 24 hours.
LawBreakers releases on PS4 and PC on August 8.