Cliff Bleszinski on Free-to-Play and Community, More Details on New Project Surface

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Having just announced his return to video game development, Cliff Bleszkinski is dishing out the details on his upcoming free-to-play PC shooter code named BlueStreak.

Choosing a Reddit AMA as his vehicle, Bleszinski answered a ton of questions about his new studio, Boss Key, and his new project.

Naturally, the most popular questions called for his thoughts on microtransactions in a free-to-play title. Here’s what he had to say:

“The #1 question that comes up in Free to Play every time.

Honest answer: I’m not sure, and it’s entirely too easy to tell or make the call. Free to Play is one of those genres that means something entirely different depending on the game. For every model that feels like Las Vegas methods (Zynga, Candy Crush) there’s folks who do it right, like League of Legends, or WarFrame.

I’ve never shipped a Free to Play game before. That’s one of the MANY reasons why we’re going with Nexon, they can provide server structures and a global peek into gamers of all types and guide us into a game that’s more “Shut up and take my money” as opposed to “shaking you down for your hard earned cash.”

So we’ll experiment, tweak, tune, and most importantly, build a positive community around the game as we develop it.”

As for why he chose a free-to-play model? Mostly, accessibility. He also promises to keep pay-to-win practices out of the picture as well:

“Anyone can just jump in and play your darned game. I’m DETERMINED to not do Pay To Win. Since this game is a shooter I want that one player who likes the game and doesn’t feel like spending any money to be able to take down the trust fund kid that’s spent a ton of money to have All The Stuff.”

Bleszinski also noted that he and his COO Arjan are huge fans of user-generated content, but his team needs to build the community before figuring that out. Community is, seemingly at the heart of his project, as he explained:

“My goal is to:

Build the company While we build the community While we build the game

Got new concept art? Post it. Get playable builds out as early as possible. It’s the new era of transparent development, honestly, there’s no real reason to hide what you’re doing. Get the community involved and have them see how the “sausage” is made. Weekly podcasts.

I’m actively recruiting for a community manager as we speak. Community is everything.”

As for gameplay details, he and his team are “pretty excited” about considering building their project on Unreal Engine 4, but that has yet to be determined. The game will ship on PC before the studio takes a wait-and-see approach with regards to launching on other platforms. Bleszinski wants his shooter “to look fantastic on the high end rigs but also run on a potato.”

Inspiration from Team Fortress 2 will be borrowed, but “it remains to be seen if we’re going to do no classes, light classes, or super identified roles,” he said. He is also targeting 5 vs. 5 game modes with initial focus being on Free-for-All.

With so many shooters already out there, it appears that Bleszinski is confident his project will stand out. He commended Titanfall developers Respawn Entertainment for proving that there are still new ideas to be explored:

“There’s still PLENTY that can be done in regards to environmental manipulation, weaponry, and player movement in the FPS space.

TitanFall tapped into some of the things that excite me in this area – wall running, double jumping, the smart pistol, the mech ‘absorb bullets and fire them back at people.’ That’s the kind of thinking the FPS market needs, less damned red dot iron sights.

When’s the last time you led a target in a mainstream shooter? Pretty rare, it seems.”

Bleszinski also wishes the development process to be a transparent one:

“My COO loves to say about our coders, for example “Your task list for the week? Throw it up online!” That’s the level we’re gunning for.

A while back I saw American McGee posting concept art for a female character for one of his games on Facebook. The girl had high heels on, and it was an action game. A fan pointed out to him that that makes no sense, and the heels were lost.

That’s the sort of magic I’m gunning for here.

When I’d get into work before I’d get a build note email that had all the tasty new things the coders had implemented, I’d look at each one, and go meet with them with some notes and things to change/tune.

I want fans of Boss Key/BlueStreak to have that very experience and excitement.”

Lastly, here’s a bit of concept art for BlueStreak:

projblues_610

 

What are your thoughts on the project so far, having learned a little bit more about it? Tell us in the comments!

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