Interview: ZMR's Producer Matt Denomme
En Masse Entertainment is getting ready to unleash drones in their free to play shooter, ZMR (Zombies, Monsters, Robots). We thought now would be a great time to catch up with the game's Producer, Matt Denomme, to catch up on where the game's been and where it's going in the future.
Magicman (MM): Can you introduce yourself to our readers who may not know you and tell us a bit about what you do on ZMR each day?
Matt Denomme (MD): Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me today! My name is Matthew Denomme. I am the producer of Zombies Monsters Robots (ZMR) at En Masse Entertainment. As the producer, I am responsible for all aspects of the ZMR service, including content release planning, events and promotions, day-to-day operations, service monitoring, and business strategy. I also love to interact directly with the game’s community on a frequent basis via our subreddit (http://www.reddit.com/r/zmr), collecting player feedback and discussing the game.
MM: Before we talk about the game and its updates, I have to ask how the initial concept discussions went. I picture someone pitching a board of directors a game saying, “Yeah, we’re going to have zombies, monsters, robots, drones, space…etc” and blank stares around the room. Am I far off?
MD: En Masse Entertainment is the publisher of ZMR, so we were not directly involved with the initial conception and development of the game. Yingpei Games, who are comprised of members of what was previously known as Epic Games China, are the game’s developers and are the source of all the wacky and wild enemies and scenarios players will encounter in ZMR. In speaking with them, it’s clear that they pull their inspiration from a range of sources—including movies, television shows, comics, and, of course, video games—when coming up with concepts for new content. There really are no boundaries for what Yingpei will mash-up, as is evidenced by the numerous updates we put out last year. That’s why we felt that the title Zombies Monsters Robots was so fitting for such an over-the-top, anything-goes shooter!
MM: We’ll get to the Game of Drones update, but before that, can you give us a kind of “State of the Game” for ZMR? How have the previous updates been received, are you gaining players, give us the scoop?
MD: Over the course of 2014 and early 2015, we released eight major updates that introduced a ton of new content to the game, including more than 60 new maps and 175 new weapons. These updates saw players fight mummies in a dimension based on ancient Egypt, battle weaponized dinosaurs on a tropical island, become a monster in Patient Zero and Mercs vs. Monsters modes, pilot a mech in our Steel Corps update, and, most recently, blast-off into space to fight zombies on the moon! Each update has been well-received and introduced little tweaks and changes in an effort to continually improve the game.
ZMR is supported by a passionate and tight-knit community of players. With the Game of Drones update and the game improvements contained within it, we hope to make the game more accessible and welcoming for a larger community of players.
MM: Game of Drones launches on April 14th and adds quite a bit to the game. Let’s chat about the drones themselves first. What do the mechanical monsters add to ZMR?
MD: Drones serve as AI companions to players in co-operative modes. They provide backup and support, but are not powerful enough alone to carry you through some of the higher difficulties. They are great for solo players, but they are also beneficial to larger teams, in terms of the extra firepower they provide.
Players can level up and customize their drones to increase their abilities and grant them new skills. In this way, drones serve as something to work on and build-up alongside the player’s character, adding new depth to the sense of progression in the game.
Game of Drones introduces four drone types in total, each with their own unique appearance and attack method: the Gatling Gundrone, Thunderdrone, Lazerdrone, and the elusive Dragondrone.
MM: Let’s talk new maps! How many maps does Game of Drones bring ZMR up to now and what about the number of different play modes?
MD: ZMR adds five new maps and one new mode, bringing the map count up to 67 and the unique mode count to 14! We like to promote ZMR as “the ultimate shooter playground,” and when you add it all up, it’s kind of hard to argue with that!
Game of Drones adds a new Assault Ops campaign, “Occupied Earth,” which will challenge even veteran players with a Nightmare difficulty mode. “Guillotine” and “Chopping Mall” are two new maps that support both co-operative and competitive play. “Charnel Halls” is the second map to be introduced for our wholly-unique Mercs vs. Monsters competitive mode. And finally, “Rundown” is a PvP-only map that takes place on an abandoned city street with fully-functional (and extremely lethal) moving streetcars.
Game of Drones will also see the addition of Capture the Flag mode to the PvP side of things, which will be added to 12 existing maps, as well as the new map, “Chopping Mall.”
MM: Your team decided to basically overhaul the leveling experience and rewards system. Was this a result of player feedback for the game, its cash shop, or what?
MD: The decision to overhaul the leveling rewards was one that was supported by game data, but more so by the feedback of players, who have repeatedly expressed discontent with the lack of progression offered by the current level rewards. While the bevy of new features and maps we’re introducing to the game is great at keeping players engaged and interested, it was clear that the leveling system, in its previous incarnation, did not offer compelling enough rewards to motivate players to keep leveling-up.
With Game of Drones, we have adjusted the rewards unlocked at every level from 2 to 70, in an effort to make them more meaningful. Now, players will unlock more permanent weapons, new drones, and permanent weapon modifications, which will contribute to a sense of long-term player progression that the game was previously lacking.
MM: Before we go, I HAVE to ask…where the hell does your team go from here?? Zombies, monsters, robots, space, drones…what else can you POSSIBLY add at this point?
MD: Yingpei never stops creating, and already has some cool new stuff in the works. We have a boss rush mode coming that will mash-up all the crazy bosses we’ve released thus far into one challenging gauntlet. Beyond that, we have a couple new maps that will rocket players back into space to face new challenges, as well as a three-part co-op campaign that will see ZMR venture into the uncharted emotional territory…
I’ll just leave it at that for now. Thank you very much for taking the time to chat with me about the Game of Drones update! We’d like to invite all your readers to download and play Zombies Monsters Robots for free at www.playzmr.com or on Steam. You can also interact with myself and the En Masse community team on the official ZMR subreddit at http://www.reddit.com/r/zmr.
My thanks to Matt for taking time to bring us up to date and provide a bit of a clue regarding what we'll be seeing next in ZMR!
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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