Interview: Producer Matt "Destromathe" Pettit Answers our Defiance 2050 Questions
Ever since the announcement of Defiance 2050 a little over a week ago, many Defiance players had questions. Was this a new game? A remaster? A continuation? Who knows!? Even the dev stream last Friday really didn't go into details, as it ended up being more of a "meet the team" kind of stream while teasing details coming in future streams.
In an effort to get some of the answers, I chatted with Producer and Product Lead Matt “Destromathe” Pettit. While there certainly are still questions about the title, we at least got a better feel for what we can expect out of Defiance 2050.
Magicman (MM): Before we get into Defiance 2050, can you introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a bit about what you do day-to-day for the title?
Matt Pettit (MP): My name is Matt “Destromathe” Pettit, and I am the Producer and Product Lead for Defiance 2050. My duties range from making sure the game releases on time to ensuring that the dev team has everything they need to make Defiance 2050 as amazing as possible! Every part of developing a game is a team effort, and we have an amazing team here working on Defiance 2050.
MM: Ok, so let’s do the big question first. What exactly is Defiance 2050? I’ve seen words like “reimagining,” “recreation,” and “latest title.” So, what is this, a new game in the same universe, a “remaster” of the original, a continuation of the main Defiance storyline, something else entirely? Nail it down for our readers.
"How you play Defiance is changing completely in Defiance 2050. Changes to core systems will give players brand new ways to play the game."
MP: “Reimagining” is the word that we really feel best describes Defiance 2050. The move to the current generation of consoles is a huge step forward for Defiance, but the innovative changes that are coming in Defiance 2050 are what really shine. Much of what makes Defiance successful will remain: the engrossing story and the amazing combat. However, how you play Defiance is changing completely in Defiance 2050. Changes to core systems will give players brand new ways to play the game, and we are very excited to reveal more over the coming months.
MM: If I played a lot of Defiance, am I going to be treading the same, albeit slightly altered, story beats in Defiance 2050 or am I looking at something totally new?
MP: The Defiance story will be unaltered for the most part, but with a new title comes new support for the game, allowing us to create a lot of new story content that we will be releasing over time. We will be expanding the Defiance universe a lot further with Defiance 2050.
MM: Can my Defiance character come to Defiance 2050 or are we all starting from scratch like Funcom did with The Secret World/Secret World Legends?
MP: Massive changes are coming to systems like itemization and gear in Defiance 2050, so players won’t be able to bring their characters and items over to the new title. Think of Defiance 2050 like a new game with a brand new leveling system and items that will be completely different from the previous title. This was necessary to ensure that Defiance 2050 is a wholly realized experience. However, definitely keep an eye out for the Valor Commendation system, which will allow current Defiance players to bring a piece of their Defiance experience over to the new title.
MM: Will players still be able to play the original Defiance or will that shut down upon 2050 launch? If it is staying live, will it be put into a maintenance mode similar to The Secret World when Secret World Legends launched where players can play it still but no more updates will be coming and all updates will be in Defiance 2050 only?
MP: Original Defiance will continue running up to and after Defiance 2050 launches; the game will receive event updates and players can continue to login and play. Additionally, we’re working on a Valor rewards system for people who jump in and play original Defiance before Defiance 2050 launches, which we’ll have more info on soon.
MM: What group activities will we have available? I must believe that map events would still be a big thing, right? Instances, PvP, what all can we expect?
MP: All of the amazing group activities from the original Defiance will be available in Defiance 2050. We are focusing the itemization from these experiences, in order to make sure that every activity offers rewards that players will want. Content in general will also get more difficult, requiring teamwork and coordination to complete some activities. PvP will be implemented, but the overhaul to the itemization system will create a much more balanced PvP play experience.
MM: Your previous letter says that Defiance 2050 is built with current Defiance players in mind. I would assume speaking about things they wanted in the original title that never made it or never got the changes players wanted. Can you give us some examples of what this means in-game?
"Gone are the days of RNG determining your fate and possibly making a purchase from the store feel like a loss, rather than a gain. Defiance 2050 sets out to make sure that if you decide to support the game through the store, you’ll never feel disappointed."
MP: We could create a list a mile long of some amazing ideas and content that our players want to see in-game. With Defiance 2050, we went back to the past, devoting a ton of time to figure out the core issues that players had with the game, and worked to resolve those issues. For example, we know that stability is always at the front of players’ minds, so we have dedicated a lot of resources to make sure that Defiance 2050 is a very stable experience throughout.
MM: Defiance 2050 is being built from the start as a free-to-play title, as opposed to the original, which had a box price for about the first year after release. How has this changed the game’s design?
MP: To create the best free-to-play experience possible, many in-game systems needed to change. We needed to move toward offering players everything they want, while still giving a sense of agency to their decisions. This drove substantial changes to the itemization system, making it much friendlier to free players.
MM: How has Trion Worlds approached F2P monetization then, given the current gaming climate being very anti-loot box?
MP: When talking about the best F2P games out there in today’s market, there is a key element that they all share: everything in-game is obtainable through gameplay. When creating Defiance 2050 from the ground up, this is something that we wanted to be sure to implement, ensuring that any monetized gains players could obtain would only provide a faster route to obtaining that special item, class, or outfit. This philosophy spurred many changes to in-game systems to accommodate the completely free experience. Gone are the days of RNG determining your fate and possibly making a purchase from the store feel like a loss, rather than a gain. Defiance 2050 sets out to make sure that if you decide to support the game through the store, you’ll never feel disappointed, and it never feels like you are required to do so.
MM: So, why Defiance? If you wanted to hit the console market and the PC market (totally makes sense from a business perspective) why not do something totally new? Why go with an IP that, while it has a core audience that loves it, admittedly didn’t really hit the “mass appeal” mark?
MP: The original Defiance was a learning experience for us, but something in which we continue to see a lot of potential. With technological advancements in consoles and PCs, we feel as though we can create the version of Defiance that we’ve always wanted to make, as well as the one that the Defiance community has been asking for. This world is something we are very passionate here at Trion, and the systems and gameplay elements that we’re building will make the game feel like an entirely new experience!
MM: (Jokingly) Any TV show tie-ins we can expect this time around?
(At this point we did ask if the SyFy channel had any ties to the new version of Defiance even if it was just a financial interest in the game/IP's continued success. Trion declined to comment citing that they don't comment publically about contracts. We've reached out to SyFy to see if we can expect to see SyFy's logo upon boot up of Defiance 2050 and will update you with any reply we receive.)
MM: You may not be the one to ask, but given this treatment for Defiance, and chance we can get mass updates or a reimagining of Rift? It is older than Defiance after all!
MM: Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about Defiance 2050?
MP: We’ll be releasing video blogs periodically leading up to the game’s launch this summer, to keep an eye out for them if you’d like to learn more about Defiance 2050 and its development. Also, we’re going into closed beta soon, so if you haven’t already, definitely hit up defiance2050.com and apply for access to get your hands on the game. We can’t wait to see what you guys think once you get your hands on it!
About the Author
Mike “Magicman” Byrne has been a part of the MMOBomb family for years and serves as the site’s current Editor-in-Chief. His love for MMOs and gaming in general has led him to covering games for numerous websites including Gamebreaker TV and XIV Nation where he proudly displays his fanboy flag for FFXIV:ARR.
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