Spacetime Studios on why its Dark Legends vampires are much scarier than Twilight's, and why 'real' buttons offer a better experience in MMOs
'The vampires in our world are coming from a different place than the sparkling variety'
Mobile MMO specialist Spacetime Studios released its massively multiplayer online experience Dark Legends on Google Play last week.
We thought we'd take this opportunity to catch up with Spacetime's chief creative officer Jake Rodgers to find out what the studio's latest effort is all about.Pocket Gamer: In your latest game, Dark Legends, players are cast as vampires, battling humans who've turned to the dark arts. How can players expect to experience that battle in the game?
Jake Rodgers: As a member of the Vampire Nation, you are being hunted by humans and other creatures who seek to destroy your race.
Ancient power flows through your veins, allowing you to carve through piles of enemies very quickly. Players will rely on blazing speed; precision attacks; unholy powers; and very sharp swords. Using powers and taking damage depletes your blood pool, which can be replenished by feeding on enemies.
From the very beginning, the combat experience was designed to deliver the feeling of being a powerful vampire.Dark Legends is free to download, but you can use real money to purchase in-game platinum. What is platinum used for in the game, and do paying players gain an advantage?
Platinum is useful for acquiring better equipment and customising your character with things like a long black cape or a masquerade mask, but it also can help you unlock content faster.
There are many ways to enjoy Dark Legends for free, and lots of ways to enhance the experience with platinum.
Buying certain upgrades will give the player an advantage in combat, and vanity items will enhance your social experience with other players in the vampire district.Dark Legends's vampires don't seem like the most sensitive souls. Were you ever tempted to soften their fangs a bit to appeal to the Twilight crowd?
The vampires in our world are coming from a different place than the sparkling variety.
Our vampires are in an epic struggle to survive, and, as such, have brought all the weapons and skills at their disposal to bear against this threat. The gameplay supports the story, and the story isn't about talking and getting married - it's about survival and bloody vengeance.
That said, we're already working on lots of clothing and customisation options that are based on vampire themes throughout the ages, i.e. representing characters from our favourite vampire books and films.Dark Legends is optimised for the Xperia Play, and so were your previous games (Pocket Legends and Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles). What makes you want to support the Play so fervently?
The Xperia Play brings the elegance of the console controller form to mobile devices.
In my opinion, it's simply a better experience to have the give of real buttons and a more tactile surface available while playing a game like the Legends series.
Navigating the world and using skills on the D-pad gets your fingers out of the way of the action. Because of the familiar layout of the PlayStation buttons, you are able to look at what you are doing, rather than at what you should be tapping on. It's the best of both worlds.What level of effort is required to optimise a title for the Xperia Play? Why are so many developers supporting the device?
Relative to the overall development, it was a minimal amount of effort regarding technology. It just required a slight modification to our game interface.
I suspect that so many developers are supporting the Xperia Play because so many developers are also gamers. Gamepads are a well-matured interface between fingers and fun.Do you know what proportion of your players use the Xperia Play?
It's a decent slice of the total Android phone users we have. It works the other way, too. I think people who have the Xperia Play are probably seeking out the kind of gameplay we offer.As a treat to you lucky, lucky Pocket Gamer readers, Spacetime has made a special The Butchers weapon available exclusively to you. Click here to find out how to unlock it.