During the first day of GamesCom, we had the opportunity to get a quick interview with BioWare’s Gabe Amatangelo. For this interview, we focused on a few of the key areas BioWare showed off at the event including the Ancient Hypergates Warzone, future Operation content, and more. To read the interview in full, hit the jump.
First of all, you’re showing Ancient Hypergates at GamesCom right?
Gabe Amatangelo: Correct. Yes.
It's the first time for many of the fans seeing it so it’s somewhat of a mystery. Give us the general idea of the Warzone and its gametype if you can.
So the Gree technology, you know the Gree race, they are sort of a super-advanced technological race. They have these things called hypergates that allow quick travel from the far-reaches of the galaxy, uncharted areas in the universe, etc. And actually the next Op we have coming up ties into this as well. So, both the Empire and Republic are trying to get control of one of these hypergates, and the idea is that there’s these two pylons on the map, and if you get control of both of the pylons, they will channel energy into your hypergate to try to charge it up. The first person to charge up their hypergate, their fleet can come through. And when their fleet comes through, they annihilate – they finish off the other team, and you win. That’s the idea, that’s the sort of context of it.
What we’re showing here for the first time, and the first time we’re letting people play it as well, is – all of it, except for the finale. We just don’t have the finale on what we’re showing here. Obviously when it goes live that’s the intent. You can see the hypergate open as it gets charged more, and more throughout the match.
The game mode is a deathmatch, two point objective hybrid. So the way it works is, you rack up points for every kill, and when you get both objectives, you cash in on those points. So it’s like if you have 200 kills, there’s a little PiP on the bar that says you got credit for 200, but you don’t actually get it until you get both of the objectives, and then it charges in, so the deaths if you will, supply part of the fuel to charge up this hypergate. But you have to channel it in to your hypergate ultimately to get it charged up.
So, it’s not wholly deathmatch, but it is a deathmatch two point objective hybrid. Now, of course if neither side captures both objectives for the entire match, then it will literally be decided by who has the most kills. The points you get for the kills are not 1-to-1, it progresses as the time goes on. It starts off with you getting 2 points per kill, then 4 points, 6 points, etc. It progresses as the match goes on in different stages.
Sounds like it will be a lot of fun!
It’s going to be fun for everyone because the big punch line that I forgot to mention is that when you get control of both of the objectives and they’re channeling into the hypergate, they will overload and they will blow up. It’s a slow moving expanding explosion that everyone has to run out of the way of otherwise they die. You get people snaring, and trying to knock people back into it, etc.
So that counts as a kill too?
That counts as a kill too, but it counts as a kill for the next charge up because that sort of happens at the end of both objectives, so that counts toward the next objective. But yeah, so it is, if – for anyone who’s played Warhammer Online, it’s very much inspired by Khaine’s Embrace, but the map is a bit more symmetrical than Khaine’s Embrace. Khaine’s Embrace was a hybrid-deathmatch two point objective capture. So basically when you get both objectives the objectives reset after an explosion, and the center area is the only safe area, so everyone kinda tries to run while looking over their shoulder to get to the safe area.
So the idea is that the center area will be a general melee?
Exactly, and it brings everyone together where just mayhem ensues. And that’s where you know, tanks obviously play a big part in controlling the center at that point in the game. Healers, they always have a part in healing.
Ok, that covers the first question. Second thing which was a huge thing on the internet was free-to-play, and so, with F2P on the horizon, what limitations are there for F2P players concerning PVP?
Sure, they’re only going to be able to do like one Warzone a day or something like that. We’re still sort of hammering out the specifics on what is restricted for that F2P option. With the F2P option, you can get to level 50 but you can only do some content like, it’d be like some of the older operations, maybe just Eternity Vault, and we’ll give you a taste of Warzones, like you can play one a day or something like that. Flashpoints, maybe one a week, two a week, I don’t know.
Those are the types of things that we’re sort of seeing what that option entails. That kind of sums it up, it’s basically content restrictions, though you can effectively get to level 50.
How about ranked PVP?
No you can’t do ranked PVP; you can’t do the new Ops. We’re going to be doing frequent updates that they’re not going to have access to all of the stuff in the new updates. Oh yeah, there’s going to be a lot of incentives to still be premium, and then we have the whole cartel coins, and that whole system.
Everyone who has been a subscriber or already has the game, and for every month that they have subscribed before the F2P launch, they will be racking up a bunch of these cartel coins. And then even after, if you’re a subscriber you will get a stipend, but it’s not going to be as much as you rack up right now. So if you really want to stock up on those coins, this is the way to do it. And the things that you can purchase with the coins are going to be things like boosts, new kind of like cosmetic things. It’s not going to be the sort of thing like purchase super lightsaber weapon to annihilate everyone in one shot, there’s not going to be anything ridiculous like that if I have anything to do with it. It’s not going to be a pay-to-win, it’s going to be a pay-for-content. It’s pay for content, pay for access, but it is, it’s kind of like a trial that allows you to see the whole story for the game, as opposed to just a little section.
Next question, Nightmare modes, any update on Nightmare modes, and when they are out for Denova, or even Flashpoints?
Nightmare mode for Denova, it’s going to be soon, one of the sorts of quick updates, the monthly updates that we’re doing. I mean we’ve got the majority of the work done for it, so it’s a matter of when it comes out is down to the testing thing, I can’t give an exact date, but soon, very soon.
I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s shortly after Terror from Beyond comes out, which is in the next update.
Next one, very recent, yesterday The Grand Acquisition Race came online. Anything you can tell about world events? Are they coming more often or, just every few months, every year?
Our long-term plan is to get the world events to be really frequent, and we’re going to continue to add them to the game. In the immediate future, we have this one, and then we’ve got another one that is actually going to be – so we’re going to have, what we want to do, is in January, what we’re targeting to do, this may or may not happen, so you can’t hold me to it. But what we’re targeting to do, is have a fun anniversary to the Ilum shenanigans that happened. An alien race might invade, and they might crash into Ilum and there might be some new activities that happen on the planet. We’re targeting that for, January is when we’d like to see it, but we’ll see when it happens, you can’t hold me to that! I know how everyone does, and then I’m going to have the Executive Producer on me saying “you said a date!” and it’s like “no, no” but that is our target, because that’s when we’d like to have it because of the spirit of, and just sort of laughing at what happened.
Sounds nice for PVPers Last question, Jeff Hickman told us that there will be a six week schedule for new content, but next one should be –
Oh great, see they don’t tell me – I know all the stuff, but I don’t know what I can talk about, so if Hickman said it! Then there you go.
He said it in an interview that there will be new content every six weeks is that something you think the team can stick to?
Yeah, we’ve got a lot of stuff in the pipeline, and you know, at least, you can’t sit here and say a year from now, everything that’s lined up, but I can say with a pretty high level of confidence that definitely for the next foreseeable future, we’ve got a lot of stuff to release on a regular pattern. Six weeks in fact. So we’ll see the Terror from Beyond, and then shortly after, probably HK-51, or something in the Belsavis area, and then the new warzone, something along those lines.
A new Flashpoint was mentioned, I think, just last Q&A?
We have a new Flashpoint in the works, I don’t know what was promised in the new Q&A
Just a Flashpoint.
I can’t say anything specifically about that. The only things that I can talk about specifically are the Ancient Hypergates, Terror from Beyond, and the HK-51 on Belsavis. Also we talked about how we’re doing a whole new planet with a new level increase.
Makeb, yup. That’s going to be continuing a massive amount of story content. We’re really excited about that as well.
What do you think about Gamescom? Any difference to E3, are you enjoying it?
This is my second year at the Cologne Gamescom, last year I had something like 80 presentations, and I had to conserve my energy. I couldn’t go to any of the parties, I couldn’t really sort of, you know – I had fun on the stage. This year I’ve got back up, Cory Butler is going to be helping me with some of the presentations, so I hope to explore a little bit of Cologne. Gamescom itself, last year – today’s preview day, so it’s hard to judge. But last year we had, it was insanity. It’s kind of like what E3 was ten years ago when E3 was open to the public. It’s a lot like that, except there’s more space. If I remember correctly there’s something like 20-30,000 people that couldn’t get in to the convention hall last year. So, it can be crazy!
Well enjoy yourself and thanks for the interview!