Heroes and Generals Launch Interview
Interview with Jacob Andersen from Reto-Moto, Game Director for 'Heroes & Generals'
A staple I do in all interviews in order to start things off is to ask that you elaborate a bit about your game that people might not know?
Jacob: Heroes & Generals a free-to-play MMOFPS set during World War 2, where you as a German, American or Soviet soldier fight in one grand, persistent online war. You can play as Infantry, Tank crew, Fighter pilot, Paratrooper, Recon on the frontline or as a General taking strategic decisions in the war.
The unique feature of Heroes & Generals is that you play together with thousands of other players in this big online war, and everything you do in the individual battles influences the outcome of this war. Yet, you still have the close teamwork in the ground combat – elements that encourage players to be social, organize themselves and make friends within the community.
Heroes & Generals recently launched from Steam Early Access, at what point did the team feel the game was ready for a full release?
Jacob: That is a very hard question to answer as we are very keen to continue the development for many years to come releasing regular updates for the game.
However, a lot of factors played into us feeling the game was ready to launch – the scalability of the servers, stability of the technology behind the game, aligning the game mechanics, making sure the three faction had equal content and for the game to find its visual expression.
After having been in open beta for two years, we felt it was time to wrap up a the loose ends and launch the game. Now we can focus on the future of Heroes & Generals, as this is only the beginning.
Jacob Andersen of Reto-Moto above
How was the journey on Steam Early Access and how did that affect the development of the game?
Jacob: Since we went early access on Steam in 2014 we have surpassed 9 million registered players and reached a wider audience. With Steam Early Access we saw a lot of different types of players playing the game. That provided us with a lot of valuable feedback from a growing community and gave us a better foundation to tweak and modify the game to welcome these players.
One example of how that affected the game are the War Battles, that initially were the only ones included in the game.The intention was that the balance of the game should depend on the decisions made by the generals, and soldiers on the ground had to make due with what was available.
Feedback during Early Access resulted in us introducing what we call “Staged battles”. Both to make the game more welcoming to players looking for more evenly balances battles, and simply to make sure that there are enough battles in peak hours.
Moving forward post-launch what sort of general content is being considered for release in the future and are there any upcoming tweaks being considered?
Jacob: The launch included several new features that obviously need tweaking so that is our initial focus. We also have a few updates which are more on a technical level that might not be very sexy for the players but nevertheless necessary. Going forward we feel that areas like the air combat and the resource management part of the strategic game is ready for an update but we are also looking into improving several of the core mechanics. It is not an easy task because we strive to hit the balance between easy-to-go action and complex tactics in order to create a varied gameplay experience with few resources.
When working on the development of maps in Heroes & Generals what were some of the goals when they were being created and what sort of changes were applied to them in preparation of release?
Jacob: In preparation of launch we gave all maps in the game a makeover, most importantly adding a new Spawn Protection system for both infantry and vehicles. We cleaned up terrain for better appearance and control point areas got a new design, that not only defined the borders more clearly but also made the gameplay more dynamic.
Getting a better system for spawn protection was a major concern for us and it required some quite big changes to the maps. And as expected they also need some tweaking after we have seen how they work ‘in real life.
Could you describe the Grand War for those that might not be familiar with Heroes & Generals as I think it’s an exciting part of the game and how this larger scale battle concept came to be?
Jacob: The main idea behind Heroes & Generals was to create an online FPS where you would feel that you're part of a larger war, instead of just a "map cycle". To create a FPS with a strategic top layer, where you don't play either the strategic part or the action part. You play both because they are connected. Some may want to play the shooter part only, but both parts are open to all players.
When you play Heroes & Generals the scope of each of the War Battles varies a lot, as the resources in each battle are determined by the Generals. You might end up attacking an occupied village with both motorized infantry and fighter planes or you might just be regular infantry. The War Battles are unpredictable and can be unbalanced – just like real life war.
When it comes to being a free to play game what sort options are available to players in terms of microtransactions or premium memberships and how did you guys decide how the credit system would be balanced?
Jacob: We have three types of currency in Heroes & Generals; Credits, Warfunds and Gold.
You earn credits when you play as a Soldier in battles – you get a soldier salary that goes up as your soldier progress in rank. Also playing tactical and smart will also earn you more credits. Warfunds are earned by playing as a general in the strategic game. Finally Gold is our premium currency.
Everything in the game can be bought either with in-game currency or Gold.
As for memberships players have the option of purchasing a Veteran Membership, that boost their soldier salary and XP-gain.
The credits system is loosely based on an earnings model. The more time you invest in the game, the more rewarding it gets (with the added bonus of skill). Game changing items like weapons and vehicles follow a simple model based on the soldier's rank and the time played. Which means that the better weapons and vehicles are more expensive for the new player but cheap for the player who have invested a lot of time.
I’m quite fascinated by the bicycles in the game, could you elaborate a bit on the work behind these incredibly fine tuned and realistic rides?
Jacob: We are always trying to find gameplay elements that are unique. And at first a bicycle might seem a little ridiculous in a war game, but bicycles were actually a part of World War 2. And it made perfect sense for us to have bicycles in Heroes & Generals for the situations where you don't have any vehicles around and wants to travel faster than running.
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