The multiplayer online battle arena genre has become one of the most popular genres over the last few years thanks to games like League of Legends and DOTA 2. A few developers are putting their own spin on the genre through by mixing up the formula in one way or another. Games like Monday Night Combat and Awesomenauts took the core MOBA formula and put their own twist on it.
Kiz Studios is also going down that path with their free to play game Trans-Galactic Tournament which will hit the PS4 later this summer. We were fortunate to talk to David Bednar (Writer/Animator) and Drew Allen (VP Content Development) about what we can expect from their game.
Could you give us the high level overview of Trans-Galactic Tournament?
TGT is a multiplayer battler that features monsters, aliens, and robots all battling for glory in the greatest competition in the universe. It’s a combination of MOBA-style tactical gameplay and FPS-style game modes and speed. It’s fast and frantic, and at launch it is exclusively for PS4.
How did you come up with the idea for the game?
We love games like League of Legends and Team Fortress 2. We wanted to take the top-down strategy of the former and meld it with the fast objective-based combat of the latter, and then we filled that with weirdo monsters.
Is it fair to call your game a MOBA?
Well, our game is multiplayer, online, and consists of battles in arenas, so as far as a core definition goes, you could say it's a MOBA.But we like to call it a "battler", as it's very different from what most consider a MOBA -- it's more about fast, fun and furious matches, with more emphasis on getting in and playing, and not worrying about farming, or memorizing timers. We've eschewed a lot of traditional elements of that genre. That's why we like to call Trans-Galactic Tournament a battler or (the longer version) "Class-based battler."
What makes your game different than the other MOBA’s on the market?
Well, we're aiming more on the combat component, and less about the farming, timers, etc that MOBA conventions follow. In our game, it's all about speed - TGT is a fast game—most matches are 5 minutes or less. Our game modes are different too. We don’t have a traditional three-lanes-plus-jungle mode. Instead we’re launching with Plunderball (Capture the Flag), Conquest (a hectic King of the Hill mode), and Deathmatch. Also, there’s no in-game levelling—instead, you buy and equip gear for your Champs to alter their stats and abilities outside of matches. We really want players to do all their setup before the match (or after, readying for the next), and just focus on the combat and objectives once they are in the game.
What are the key elements of a good MOBA to you and how are you building them into Trans-Galactic Tournament?
Fun, teamwork, strategy. What we love about League, DOTA, or Smite is that they bring players together, let them work together to achieve victory, and create moments players remember when the battle is over. We try to do that, and our game lets you push people off cliffs, so we hope we’ll do well.
The game has a really fun art-style, why the decision to go in that direction?
We got tired of seeing the same fantasy tropes over and over. We didn’t want to limit ourselves, so if we got a cool idea for a Champ, we could just go for it. Our style guide was somewhere between Mos Eisley Cantina and latter-day TMNT toys—you know, the ones that were making so much money, they just told the toy designers, “Yeah, sure, a basketball-playing giraffe? Have it in plastic by Monday.” Because we’re those people.
How many different champions will you have?
We’re launching with 10 Champions when we enter open beta. After that we’ve got a pretty aggressive schedule for releasing new Champs.
Do you have a favorite champion and why?
Rook is one of our favorites. She can raise walls inside the arena to block or trap opponents, and she has a teleportation ability that makes her pretty fierce in Plunderball. I think a lot of the team’s favorite, though, is Zert, who’ll be coming along after launch. He’s a super cute little robot who has a push attack that can knock other players off cliffs for an instant kill. In the right hands, he’s a terror on the field.
How many skills will each champion have?
Each Champion has a basic attack and three skills.
How did you approach the arena making process? What are the key elements of a good battleground in your opinion?
We try to give each arena a unique personality. From pirates bombarding the fields to steep cliff faces to ancient temple battlegrounds, every arena is designed to be fun, interesting, and affect the gameplay of the mode set there. I think one element that sets our arenas apart is our attention to elevation. Characters with high ground have a real tactical advantage, but expert players can use teammates or even foes to jump to places they normally can’t access. It makes combat more physical and the teamwork more immediate and rewarding.
Will there be an early beta for the game or are you going straight to a release version of the game?
We are in a small closed beta on PS4 as we speak. We are going into open beta later this summer. It’s just getting started, and we’re looking forward to getting feedback from the PlayStation community before full launch.
Why the decision to make this a PS4 exclusive? Will there ever be a PC version?
We've really enjoyed working with Sony, and we feel like concentrating on one platform will help us have a successful launch. Once we've built that foundation with the support from a PS4 exclusive launch, we will start looking at other platforms. And right now that plan includes bringing TGT to PC.
Are you taking advantage of the touchpad on the PS4 at all?
We looked into using the touchpad, and we think it’s a super cool feature, but it isn’t part of the main control scheme. Currently the touchpad is mapped as a button to display leaderboards.
How will you handle matchmaking to ensure that new players don't become fodder for experienced pros?
We plan to use the Glicko 2 rating system as a foundation to evaluate player skill while taking into account factors such as player level and grouping. More experienced players have a higher rating so they have less of a chance of being matched-up with new players.
As always when it comes to game development we have a solid foundation for our system, but we’ll be monitoring and improving its behavior and features as we gather metrics and feedback from the community.
We know you have to eat; so, what kind of things will players pay for in Trans-Galactic Tournament?
Players can use hard currency to purchase Champions, weapons, emotes, and skins. What they can’t buy is wins. The extensive, stat-altering workouts and badges can only be purchased with currency earned in game. Almost all items can be unlocked for free with enough hard work and in-game currency, and we have a Champion rotation that allows players to try out two Champs each week for free. TGT is a game that lives and dies based on the quality of its players and the skill of its community—the only way we’ll be successful is if everybody has a level playing field. That said, if you do buy a skin, you won't be disappointed. You can dress Oddilus up like a bobcat, an Aztec warrior, or George Washington. I'd pay for frog-leaping amphibious George Washington, wouldn't you?
Is there anything we missed that you think is important?
We're just really excited to bring TGT to PS4. We've always thought the game would play well on console, and this version is the leanest, tightest version we've ever put out. We hope people have as much playing it as we do.
We'd like to thank David and Drew for taking the time to answer our questions as well as Ted for coordinating the interview.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
Hi, my name is Charles Husemann and I've been gaming for longer than I care to admit. For me it's always been about competing and a burning off stress. It started off simply enough with Choplifter and Lode Runner on the Apple //e, then it was the curse of Tank and Yars Revenge on the 2600. The addiction subsided somewhat until I went to college where dramatic decreases in my GPA could be traced to the release of X:Com and Doom. I was a Microsoft Xbox MVP from 2009 to 2014. I currently own stock in Microsoft, AMD, and nVidia.