Interview with Atanas Atanasov, producer of Earthrise and director of Masthead Studios.
1. How is the beta of Earthrise coming along, and when is the game expected to be released?
The Earthrise beta is going well. We are very happy with the beta testers' feedback and their dedication to helping us make the game a compelling and enjoyable experience. Our plans are to continue adding new beta testers in the coming weeks.
It is still early to speak about the release date, but make sure to follow our announcements on our website, which will be the fastest way to learn the exact launch date for Earthrise.
2. Could you tell us a little about the Player vs. Player aspect of the multiplayer and what makes that stand out?
We zealously uphold the concept of a completely player-driven economy and combat system. With an environment in which the NPC factions don't bind players permanently, they will have to devise their own survival strategies. In Earthrise, players won't play against the game, but against each other - or if diplomatic enough - with each other. We provide players with the option to control a specific territory, a branch of the market, or the entire map or market! If you're resourceful enough, it's within your grasp.
3. With the crafting mechanics, how many actual items will be possible to craft?
We have over 800 technologies. Every item in the game, including ingredients, follows the logic of the setting, which is very easy to comprehend once you grasp the idea of the setting and the lore. For example, the nanitic conversion units (of which there are several types) are used in every projectile weapon, as they produce the projectile from compressed matter prior to shooting. So, if you are a nanitic convertor crafter, you'll know the best location, circumstance and buyers for selling your items.
4. Could you tell us a little about the market-based economy in the game?
You can buy and sell everything in Earthrise. And honestly, this is the only way that you can supply yourself with decent gear and ingredients. The idea behind the economy in Earthrise is that everything is player-created and player-generated. You're going to find it extremely hard to progress through the game without interacting with other players. There are no rats that can drop you a high-tier rifle; no bosses with epic loot that out-stats every other item in the game; no quest will supply you with good gear - you have to rely on crafting or larceny to earn your bread. In Earthrise a good fighter, a good crafter or a good guild won't have to compete against the game - only against other players.
5. What helped decide on making the game skill-based?
It was mainly the desire for such games on the market. A skill-based game gives the player much more freedom, more choices and more opportunities. We wanted to create a game that stands out from the typical class-based theme park titles, and I believe the skill-based system was the right way to go. It is much more challenging to create a good, skill-based MMO, but we love challenges and I think that the efforts will be worth it in the end.
6. What attributes will be customizable for the personal hovercraft that will be used for transportation?
This is still in the planning stages.
7. Is there an emphasis put on the long-range weaponry?
Almost all of the weapons in the game are ranged. But, don't be fooled by this. You won't be forced to fight your battles from tens or hundreds of meters away. We encourage you to bring the battle close to the enemy, where most of the weapons perform at their optimum. This will place you in dangerously close proximity to the enemy, who can decide to charge into close combat, where lots of your advantages can diminish if you don't play carefully. In Earthrise, the combat is all about quick decisions, agility and coordination between the players.
8. The weapons will vary from standard to futuristic weapons; What is your favorite futuristic weapon and why?
This question is like asking a parent which one of their kids they love most. I don't have favorite weapon, as every type offers distinct advantages. For example, the flamethrower does what you imagine - close range, heavy damage with cone attack effects; the tactical rifle is for players who like to shoot from a distance similar to that of a sniper rifle; the launcher is a long-range weapon with area of effect damage. There are also close combat weapons like gauntlets and blades. Earthrise will have weapons for all play styles, and being a player who wants to try many aspects of a game, I would arm myself with most of them.
9. Could you enlighten us a little on the use of 'robotic companions' and to what extent they can be programmed?
There will be no robotic companions upon the release of Earthrise. We are currently focused on the main game features, which are the open sandbox world, skill-based system, PvP mechanics, crafting and player-driven economics. We do have plans to add robotic companions after release.
10. Could you tell us anything about the pricing structure for Earthrise?
Earthrise will be a subscription-based game. No microtransactions or item stores will spoil the fun of playing it. We decided to go with this classical approach mostly due to our belief that a game should offer the player a full experience - it should not be cut into pieces and it should not interrupt the player's flow by asking him to buy a certain item or content.
11. What type of 'gamer' will Earthrise appeal to?
While Earthrise stands out as a unique setting and game environment that appeals to a specific audience, gameplay is designed to be easy to approach and adopt by casual players with little or no experience in the MMO genre. Controls are simple to use, combat is straightforward and relies on player skill and simple skill-based combination mechanics. Detailed storylines, with a series of optional secondary quests, provide direction in character development that's easy to follow for casual players with limited time to explore each facet of the game.
While casual players can enjoy the game without going too in-depth, the interwoven player-run economy and complex social competition for influence and resources provide addictive mechanics for hardcore players to fine-tune their characters. They can choose from hard-to-get player-made equipment and hundreds of new abilities modified by researched tactics, a process that can consume thousands of hours of planning and experimentation. Through victory on the epic-scale battlefields for control over the world's most rare, sought-after resources, hardcore players will ultimately be able to gain fame and recognition not just among the non-player denizens, but with the other players that they are capable of protecting or aiding in their adventures.
12. Is there anything else you would like to add?
In the past few years, the Earthrise development has had its strengths and challenges, just like any MMO. Developing a MMO is a difficult, lengthy and sometimes, an unpredictable process. We are doing our best to exceed the expectations of our fans, which is one of the reasons we don't release a lot of updates or videos - we are focused on development.
We also would like to thank all of our community members and everyone who follows the game for their interest and support of Earthrise.
Thank you for taking the time to field our questions!