November 7, 2007 // 2:51 pm
- Hello Everybody! My name is Josh Hamrick
and I'm a game designer on BlackSite: Area 51. I've worked on a several pieces of the project, from game systems to the user interface. BlackSite as a whole has been coming along great and the team is definitely ready to get it out the door and into your hands.
We're extremely proud of some of the things we've been able to pull off for the game including the story, the characters and even our rail shooters which we think everybody is really going to dig. It was important to us as a team to put that sort of love into the campaign but also the multiplayer experience as well.
Today I'm here to fill you in on our competitive multiplayer. Being able to give you guys an update on BlackSite multiplayer means a lot as I've been playing FPS multiplayer since the early days of Doom. While I love single player games, multiplayer is what really gets me excited as a gamer.
I know many of you have been asking and commenting about our removal of the online co-op feature, and unfortunately we just weren't able to get that into the final game. But we do think we've been able to deliver a great multiplayer experience nonetheless, and do still hope that some of you will give it a chance.
We are well aware that there are a ton of gamers out there (like myself) that really live for the next great multiplayer experience. There are also a ton of untapped casual gamers who haven't played many shooters. Because of that, one of the core values for the team is bringing you two groups together and expanding our audience as much as possible. Every system was put together in a way where we could get the most out of it in single player as well as multiplayer and we wanted to make sure nothing was overly complicated to use right out of the box, but that extended time with the game would allow them to learn new ways to player. The phrase "A moment to learn, but a lifetime to master" became our motto. There are several weapons in the game that were inspired by this motto. While anyone should be able to begin using the weapons immediately and having a blast with them, extended time with weapons will more than likely lead to finding new and improved ways of using them.
We have eight maps in BlackSite that are pulled from key locations in our single player campaign. Almost all the maps were either hand made or at least hand polished by our amazingly talented multiplayer lead Tom Bonner and designer Harold Handlin. Tom and Harold really did a great job with the flow and balance of the maps and we know that you guys will really appreciate all the hard work that the multiplayer team put into them. They not only play great but they look great as well. The levels and weapons both really are a testament to the extreme talent of our art team.
BlackSite has four multiplayer game modes. Three of the four are standards that we have all come to expect in any multiplayer FPS: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag. We also have a unique multiplayer experience called Abduction. Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch are classics and as long as the game systems are all working well together they make for great time in almost any FPS. I can assure you that BlackSite is no exception and these modes play great!
Abduction is also a stupid amount of fun and we know that there will be large groups of people that will only ever play Abduction. The scoring system makes for a really competitive game and simple changes such as max score and the map size really change the feel of it. There are a large group of Midway Austin employees that swear that the biggest maps are the only way to play Abduction while another group fights for the right of the small maps!
While all the other game modes are all a tremendous amount of fun, it's BlackSite's Capture the Flag that gets me the most excited. In my history with FPS MP, I've noticed that some games provide a great experience for Capture the Flag while others just don't have what it takes to hold up. Those games generally just turn Capture the Flag into a frag fest instead of the tactical cat & mouse game that its meant to be. I'm happy to say that isn't the case for BlackSite and that Capture the Flag is easily one of my favorite game modes (this a statement I think 95% of our team will agree with).
The way our weapon systems work, choosing your arsenal really pays off the way you play and encourages the teams to cover the field in a way that is similar to soccer. You end up with backfield guys who are solely playing defense, offensive players who will be the one bringing the flags home and midfield guys that are their do offer support to both groups. The number of players in each section changes per team, but the layout is almost always the same. Because of this, BlackSite Capture the Flag turns into that tactical game that makes the mode so much fun. We know that if you're serious about the game and communicating with your team, you'll find this mode to be extremely rewarding.
We feel strongly that with our maps, weapons and game modes, casual and hardcore players alike will be able to get the most out of the BlackSite multiplayer experience. We sincerely hope that people pick it up and keep coming back to it again and again because they are having as much fun with it as we have in the office over the past few months. My only words of warning is that the BlackSite dev team will be online and playing (you'll know it's us when you see us!) and although we realize we have months of experience on you guys, we will still make fun of you for losing just the same =). See you online!