Turbine is most famous for making MMOs such as Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online, but [i]Infinite Crisis[/i] is a departure for them as they enter into the increasingly crowded realm of MOBAs. We caught up with Executive Producer Jeffrey Steefel at PAX East 2014 to chat about Infinite Crisis as it approaches an open beta launch.
Could you tell us your role at Turbine entails?
Jeffrey Steefel (JS): I'm the executive producer for Infinite Crisis
, which means I am to blame for everything. You could equate me to a priest in an MMO!
SPOnG: Infinite Crisis
is a MOBA that is set in the DC universe, how much of it have you used?
JS: Infinite Crisis
has all the superheroes from the DC stock of characters including Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Superman etc. But we've also extended it to the multiverse 52 universe of DC. This has given us a huge opportunity to have a large breadth of characters. So not only do we have Batman, but we have Batman from Gotham by Gaslight, or Nightmare Batman who is a vampire. The same thing for Superman; in fact we just released Nightmare Superman this past week, which is where Superman comes from the Phantom Zone. In terms of Infinite Crisis
it gives us a lot of diversity for kits, roles and skill sets we're going to have and it also gives you an opportunity to see different facets of the characters. So that's where all of the characters come from.
All MOBAs have the same language, but each has their own dialect. What is Infinite Crisis
The dialect of Infinite Crisis
starts with super villains and superheroes, so players must feel powerful. The game has an isometric viewpoint and the camera is fixed while a little bit far away from the character, which that led us to make destructible environments. That started the conversation that led us to interesting parts of the actual gameplay. By 'destructible' I mean you have parts of the map that you can actually impact. This allows the player to change the map, but not in a fundamental way.
For example you can't take Infinite Crisis
's tri-lane map and through destruction turn it into a two lane one. But you can for example bust down a wall or blow up some cars that are lining a lane and open up a new way to gank [ambush] into that lane. That's part of the strategy, it doesn't change every time but everyone is aware of those opportunities. It also makes the player feel powerful and makes the impact of what they are doing more exciting.
It's great for spectators as well as it gives viewers events to watch for and focus on. The epitome of that is in our second map, which we released recently that has a doomsday device that is in the middle of the map that teams can fight over. Once a team takes control of it, they have one charge to control a laser cannon from space, which they can shoot anywhere on the map. This allows teams to blow up a tower, take down an opposing team's production and it's great to watch, with it being an event that is visually pleasing to watch for those that are spectating.
In terms of the gameplay itself, we have two major focuses. One is (that) team fights are important to the point where we have expanded the way they work in Infinite Crisis
to make it more aggressive and a more active experience early on. The other aspect is events that can be triggered by players. I've already spoken about the doomsday device, there are also power relays that can activate meteors that fly in from space onto the map. We give lots of these objectives that teams can strategise around and fight over back and forth, which is at the heart of MOBAs, but we leaned into that.