You may not be familiar with Gigantic, an upcoming action MOBA in development at Motiga. It's definitely part of the new trend marked by Overwatch, Battleborn and Paladins, which however are much more known thanks to their developers (Blizzard, Gearbox and Hi-Rez, respectively).
Gigantic is also part of another trend. The reference is to Microsoft's ongoing effort for a unified gaming platform, with Xbox One and Windows 10 enjoying cross-play and cross-buy features; Gigantic will be one of the first games to use these functionalities and Creative Director James Phinney explained to MMORPG.com how they came into the program.
This was an opportunity. We were talking about ways to get funding, and looking at selling the rights, either publishing or an exclusivity deal or something to get it onto a console. It would get it out to more people and put us in a better position financially to keep working on the game. And unbeknownst to us, [Microsoft] were working behind the scenes on this big initiative to move Xbox Live onto Windows, to make Windows 10 a good gaming platform, and to most importantly unify the gaming experience across PC and console. And so, when they talked to us and saw what we were doing, they got pretty excited, and pretty soon we were talking about things that were different from our initial conversation.
It also has real meaning in terms of development. The things that they’re doing in order to bring Xbox Live onto Windows 10 - you can have your Xbox friends list there; you can chat with them, voice chat, whether your on PC or Xbox One - all these things are massive engineering efforts on their part. And then for us, that’s the system we’re developing into We’re not developing a bunch of other stuff right now, and the upside for us in saying that we’re going to support cross-platform play and these things – there’s engineering effort there for us. We’re solely focused on Windows 10 and Xbox One, and we see the boldness of the vision they have there to bring it all together, and that part’s really good and appealing, even as a developer.
Phinney also reckons that there won't be a disparity between those playing with a controller versus keyboard & mouse users.
We unveiled the Xbox One build back at E3, and spent some time tuning the controls and that stuff. Just getting the controls to work is one thing, but the experience playing a shooter is different on console versus PC - getting all those controls tuned was an experience. So we spent quite a while where the official playtest was just playing that. Now we’re back at the point where we do both, but gotten used to it. And it’s a good experience on console.
I’ve been very sceptical. We’ve said when Microsoft was very excited about cross-platform play, we’ve said we can do it, I just – shooter controls, the precision responsiveness is just different to me. I don’t know that we can really have them play together. And so we’ve hedged our bets, we’ve said opt-in cross-platform play, but we’re exploring it to see what happens. The fact is that aside from the extreme shooter-themed characters, people do just as well with either, and in fact some of the people playing the big characters like The Margrave who doesn’t have any ranged attacks and is just a melee guy, prefer.
We’ve got our internal rankings at the office, and our number four player, Margrave is one of his main characters. He plays him with a controller against people who are playing keyboard and mouse, and he’s maintained his ranking in the office with that.
Gigantic is currently in alpha testing, and will enter the closed beta phase on August 28. You can signup for testing on the official site.