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Mania Exclusive Interview: Video Game Producer Ben Cousins
Mania Gets the Scoop on Battlefield Heroes
By Edward Goodsmith
August 29, 2008
Battlefield Heroes is the newest game to join the famed Battlefield franchise. This particular iteration added a bit of a twist, first it’s totally free, and second it’s cartoon-like, and bloodless, which means it’s fun for the whole family. Currently Heroes is still in closed beta, but Mania was fortunate enough to secure a key, and give you a taste of the game play.
You’ll start by creating a hero. The first choice you’re faced with is which side you want to fight on. The Royal Army, which looks deceivingly like cartoon versions of the allies , or the Nationals, which look a bit like the Soviets. After you decide which side to be on you’ll have to pick a class. Currently there are 3 classes available. First is the Soldier, who according to the description, “Takes control of the battle to help his compatriots reach their goals.” Next, we have the Gunner he simply “Takes a beating and keeps on ticking”. Finally, there’s the spy-like Commando that “Sneaks up on his prey to unload decisive attacks”. From here you can customize the basic look of your character, and go even more in-depth once you load the game up. It appears that in the future the in-game store will offer even more customization accessories.
Once you’ve created your character it’s time to jump in. The game will load up, and match you with similarly leveled people. So, if it’s your first time playing, and you’re a level 1, then you’ll be matched with other level 1s. The game play is pretty straightforward, point at bad guy, kill bad guy, and repeat. Each class has abilities that can be leveled up by gaining in-game points. In-game points are earned by completing missions, like killing 5 people without dieing, or capturing 4 bases in a single round, and so on. The abilities range from a shield that gives you a health boost, to faster running, to being able to see enemies behind walls. There’s also an emphasis on Teamwork, for instance, if you’re facing 3 enemies, you loose, regardless of how good you are.
After we had a chance to familiarize ourselves with the game we sat down with Ben Cousins, Executive Producer for the Battlefield franchise, and ask him a few of our burning questions. Read on to find out what he had to say.
Q: We've heard that Battlefield heroes won't launch like a typical game, in that it will just grow the Beta more, and more, until every hardcore gamer is in on the beta, and then have a soft-launch. Is this true? And if not when do you expect to launch the game?
A: This is correct, similar to the way Facebook are rolling out their 'new' layout, we have started with a small functional closed beta, we now have over 10,000 people in that beta and the plan is to have millions of registered users before we remove the number restrictions and completely open it up to the broader market. Given our projected user numbers in the closed beta are about as large as those for Battlefield: Bad Company, we expect that every hardcore gamer who wants access to the game, will be in the closed beta at some point and wont have to wait for the 'launch'.
Q: Since the game is ad supported, what type of placement should we expect? I know I've seen the single banner ad in the Beta, but where else will they pop up?
A: We will have typical clickable ads on the game's webpage, which is where a lot of the entertainment of the service takes place (forums, registration, friends list, meta-game, store, profile page and social networking), we also have ads in the game's auto downloader/launcher, in the game's front end and in the game's loading screens and end-of-round screens. There's no plans to have posters or billboards in the actual game world though.
Q: How will the store feature work? Would it use some sort of in-game currency to purchase the upgraded weapons, accessories, or...?
A: We have a couple of types of in-game points that you earn through play, which can be used to buy certain types of items, and we also have items that are available to purchase for real money. We will be very careful however not to sell items for real money which give paying players an unfair advantage.
Q: Do you see this being the next evolution of the video game? Or is this just a niche that other developers will ignore?
A: We really think that this type of game is the next step for the expansion and evolution of the videogame market. I think there are a lot of developers and publishers out there watching Battlefield Heroes very carefully.
Watch battlefield-heroes.com for more beta keys to drop, and then join in on the fun! We’re told that the games eventual soft-launch will be sometime between Q4 2008 and Q1 2009. Watch Mania.com for more news as it become available.
Click the photo below to see some more shots of the upcoming game.