505 Games And Roll7’s promising and fast-paced Tron-like title, Laser League, went into several phases where it allowed players to try out the game and provide necessary feedback to further develop the title and improve its weak points.
Rol7’s Directors Simon Bennett and John Ribbins were interviewed in April’s issue of PlayStation Official Magazine, where Bennett and Ribbins answered some of the more interesting questions related to how Laser League came to be and post-release plans. The game’s vibrant colours and fast-paced gameplay seems like a fit for a PlayStation VR version, however, Bennett wants to make sure it “adds genuine value to the community.”
Funnily enough, exactly what you’ve just said there. I mean, anyone who ends up playing the game will realise that a first -person version of Laser League would be absolute chaos, and fundamentally questions how on earth these players actually know where they’re meant to move on the screen. We thought it would be really cool to have VR experience, but a lot of these things come back to: are you just putting it in there because it’s a thing, or are you putting it in there because it adds genuine value to the community and the player base? I think that would just be a bit shoehorn, ultimately.
He continued to discuss the importance of communication in such a game, and how it is a different experience whether you’re playing couch co-op or with an online friend.
When we started playing it alone and not communicating directly, not chatting with people at the same time, it is a different experience. It’s not as visceral, necessarily. But watching people who played it on the open beta, they’d come back with some sort of general sentiment that we’ve always had about the game when we’ve been playing it, which is that it’s addictive, and that their heart-rate is going and it’s just as exciting. I think if people are partying up, for example, on PlayStation and using the chat, like, I’ll send you some footage, there are people who Twitch-streamed it and they’re chatting with the guys they’re playing with and they are screaming, grown men are screaming like you’ve never seen before! It’s absolutely intense. I think it is definitively possible to have a very similar experience, but there’s nothing better than being in the same room and playing it together.
Finally, considering Laser League’s competitive nature, eSport is always a possibility,
Bennett: You can create a videogame that has a community that becomes competitive around your game and wants you to start setting up tournaments and build a big enough community and player base that then that happens naturally. In order to achieve those things, you need to tick various boxes around the game: it needs to be balanced; it needs to play very well online; if it’s an online game, it needs to not be massively cheatable, There’s a series of different things and people need to be able to inherently see that competitive nature in order for it to move into the sphere of ESI.s and tournaments and stuff like that. We have always said that we will never use the word espons when pushing this game. This game is a fun game and we try to make a videogame experience that people will really enjoy.
Ribbins: I see eSports as being the most hardcore in the way that you would approach playing a game. If you’re an eSports player, you’re seeing it in a very different to someone who’s just grabbing from PlayStation Plus or PlayStation Store whatever. The criticism that was levelled at OlliOlli and Not A Hero, both of those games, was that they are hard games, that they require quite a high level of skill, even at the beginning, in order to succeed.
What we realised we had, with Laser League, is a game that literally anyone can pick up. You’re like, “Yeah that stick moves, and that button does that ability;” and you can very quickly pick it up and get into it and have fun with it. That’s one of the things we didn’t want to lose. It’s awesome that people have said, “Is this the next eSport?” and “This could be an eSport!” That’s really cool, but, really, our goal was, this time around, in many ways, to make something more accessible than we’ve made before, that has a lower barrier to entry and means that more people can get into.
Obviously, as a by-product, if, at the other end of the scale, there’s enough depth and enough balance between Twitch gameplay and high-level strategy that means it could be an eSport, then that is great and that is something that we would love to grow post-launch, but our initial goal with the thing was to make something that anyone can download and jump in and quite quickly get to grips with and start having fun with.
Laser League releases for PS4, Xbox One and PC, and is already available on Steam’s Early Access.