Talking Gigantic with Carter McBee of Motiga

One of the titles receiving copious amounts of buzz this year is Motiga’s upcoming free to play MOBA, Gigantic. After using my press credentials to snag an appointment, I was able to play a match of this rising star. What I found was a colorful, fast-paced game that centered around controlling the map and setting the conditions for my team’s enormous guardian to attack the other team’s, stunning it so that we could damage it. There was so much going on, that I found myself following the instructions of an experienced teammate, a tactic which led to victory. Afterwards, I was afforded the opportunity to have a conversation with lead designer, Carter McBee.

[Hardcore Gamer] So, Gigantic is a third person, over the shoulder, MOBA-like game. What’s the elevator pitch? What separates this from other MOBAs?

[Carter McBee] What separates Gigantic from other games is, well, we’re calling it a “shooter MOBA,” mostly because it plays like a shooter than any other MOBA. It’s definitely not a traditional top down, click-based MOBA, but it plays more like an FPS.

I noticed that mode that I played here had no creeps or anything like that. 

Right. That’s another thing that kind of sets it apart. When we set out to make the game, we didn’t start off with a MOBA and try to figure out what we wanted to change. We wanted to make a PvP action game. The structure that the game took lent itself to being called a MOBA; it’s something that people are familiar with. You have a hero that you play, you have a certain set of skills. So, there’s definitely a lot of MOBA elements to it. When you get in and play it, it doesn’t really play like a traditional MOBA.

So, there are sixteen characters here to choose. Do you have a personal favorite?

Well, part of my job is balancing them, so I’m not allowed to pick a favorite. (laughs) I will say that I tend to gravitate towards the more complex heroes. For example, Wu, the frog-like hero has got some interesting skill interactions going on. Through his skills and his upgrades, you can play him so that he does combo moves. You get a certain upgrade, and after you do the skill, you combo into another skill and it does something different. So, there are some heroes like that that are more complicated, but once you get the hang of them, they are really fun to play.

So, I noticed that when I was playing that the levels up happens at a quicker pace than I am used to when compared to other games of this ilk. Was that intentional design or was it the game I happened to be in?

Probably a little bit of both. We try to keep the game length down to 15 to 20 minutes, which we consider an ideal game length. Which means you level up pretty quickly. Most games, you should be either at max level or approaching it.

As far as maps go, most MOBAs are known for having just a couple that get learned in and out by the players. Do you have a specific goal in mind for how many maps that you want to have here?

Right now, we have three fully playable maps, and there is a fourth one that is development right now. It’s coming along. We don’t intend to stop making maps. Our maps are what kind of gives the game a feel from match to match. We want each map, because we don’t have different game modes, to feel like a different game mode with the same rule set. We feel  that it’s important to keep making new maps.

My understanding is that you will be doing a character rotation, like this one is free this week. 

Yeah, it is a free to play game. We will have a hero rotation. We haven’t announced how it’s going to work because we are still finalizing it right now. The idea is that there will be a certain set of heroes that are free to play, and more can be unlocked as you go, just through leveling up, getting crowns (in-game currency), or you can purchase them with our hard currency.

Going through that, I imagine that you will do your best so that it feels balanced so that it will feel possible to get the next character without ponying up the dough, while still actually, you know, turning a profit.

Right, there is definitely a balance that we have found when we were testing our progression. When we are playing internally, we have everything unlocked. What we found was, when we tested our progression, taking away a bunch of heroes, we actually found that it was pretty fun to work towards those heroes. There is definitely a balance there. We want them to feel obtainable, but not something you can get instantly. Part of that goes back the rotation, as well. It’s a weekly rotation, so each week you’ll have a chance to play something. If you do discover a hero that you like while it’s on rotation, you can buy it then or have something to work towards.

I do appreciate that, not being forced to pay but having the option in the free to play game. However, another way these things tend to make money is skins. Now, I didn’t see any options here, because it was meant for us to just get in and play. Do you guys have a target for skins when you officially launch?

We have a number of skins that we have already made and we will be continuing to make more. With the skins, each hero can have a base skin and a weapon skin. It’s kind of a two part thing, and you can mix and match a certain hero skin with a certain weapon skin. There’s lots of combinations there.

These skins aren’t just simple palette swaps?

No, the skins are totally different models. Each skin has some variants that are their own skins that are kind of color shifts, but also change the model. The skins are very unique from each other. It’s important, of course, to keep the silhouette of the character identifiable, but each skin feels unique and cool.

Based on the variety of character skins and weapon skins available, how many unique variations per character would there be, if you can say?

I think each hero will, at least in the short term, will have three of each. It will end up being more than that because of the color shifts, too. We’ll actually end up with nine different skins for each hero, and nine weapon skins as well.

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