On GamesIndustry.biz, QC Games President and CEO Dallas Dickinson has plenty to say about his company’s game, Breach, which is currently in early access. His primary focus is on how his team approached the challenge of asymmetric gameplay and how that provides varying strategies for players:
When you set up a game where the goals for each side are exceedingly different, finding the weird optimal paths… maybe in the psychology of the player, you already know you’re doing something different from that player so what other weird things can you try out?
To support that, Dickinson said Breach gives players on both sides — hero and Veil Demon — “a deep toolkit” to pull strategies from. He hopes that will lead to both a number of viable strategies but also full-length matches and “50-50” final boss fights between players and Veil Demons.
He also brings up Heroes of the Storm, which, in creating non-standard MOBA maps that tried to do something else other than the typical three-lane push, wound up restricting itself and reducing the number of viable strategies. That stands in contrast to League of Legends, Dickinson said, which tries to “offer one to four alternative strategies” every season to counter what Riot Games perceives as optimal strategies.
In short, Riot seeks to improve variety by giving its players more to do in its core mode, whereas HotS tried to do that by giving players more modes to play. While those might seem equivalent on the surface — more is more, after all — it made it so that, in those alternate modes, there were optimal strategies that made those modes repetitive. I’m not intimately familiar with all of HotS’ mechanics and maps, but I’d assume that it was difficult, or impossible, to tweak those maps or heroes so as to introduce that same level of strategy without causing other problems across the rest of the game.
Whatever the case, it’s nice to see devs for a new game looking at the efforts of games that have come before them — even games that don’t seem to match their exact genre — and getting to the core of what worked or didn’t work and why. Dickinson also had some things to say about Evolve, which was more similar to Breach, with its asymmetrical gameplay, so make sure to check out the full interview.