Heroes and Generals: New Beginnings Interview
Interview with Jean-Marc Broyer, CEO at RETO-MOTO
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?
Broyer: To put it as short as possible. Heroes & Generals is a free-to-play FPS at massive scale. It is a combined arms game where you evolve your characters and play as Infantry, Tank crew, Fighter pilot, Paratrooper, Recon, or even as a General fighting as Germany, United States or Soviet Union in WW2. All tied together through a persistent war system where all your actions will influence the outcome.
It’s been just over a year since the launch of Heroes & Generals, what do you feel are some of the biggest changes that have been implemented since launch?
Broyer: It has been a very eventful year since we launched Heroes & Generals. We have put a lot of work into aerial combat introducing nine new planes and improved controls. The first aid kits in the “Medic”-update was also an important addition to the game, as was the training bots that new players get to fight against.
However, the biggest changes are coming, and we are already seeing the benefits of Operation Glasnost, that deals with improving our community relations. We have dedicated ourselves to be more transparent, strengthening our relationship with the community and providing information – engaging even more in the forum and doing weekly Dev Streams on Twitch. We established the RETO Insider Summit as another way of getting closer to the players and meet with them at our headquarters in Copenhagen. We put the players first, always.
With the game having received a solid number of updates over the first year, will that continue into 2018 and is there anything in particular being worked on currently?
Broyer: First, I would like to mention that our game service, toolchain and backend – elements that players don’t directly see – have been taking a back seat for too long as the team had to prioritize getting the latest updates in front of the players. We are getting back to work on these tasks to provide the appropriate framework to deliver features and content efficiently and reliably.
The biggest player facing project we are working on is the Vehicle gameplay update. It consist of a number of elements like armor, modular damage, terrain, handling, tank vs tank, and a new deploy system – all of which will have a positive impact on the gameplay in general. We are also working on Russian terrain maps and lots of other stuff.
So yes. We will continue to put out regular updates.
When it comes to developing fresh content for the game, what are some of the key goals and do you feel frequent updates helps keep the community engaged?
Broyer: Being a free-to-play game putting out regular updates and new content is part of what we do. However, we are not here to “make a quick buck” by squeezing the players, rather we are focused on long term engagement and retaining the players longer.
The key to us is our relationship with the community and delivery of meaningful and enjoyable content and features that engage players more. We will continue to focus on players feedback, on crafting comprehensive answers and be transparent in what we do and why.
I noticed there was a recent update to the game towards the end of the year, what sort of new features were included with that?
Broyer: We just put out the 1.10 Update ‘Colmar Hamlet’ just over a week ago.
Colmar Hamlet is the name of the new map for the Encounter Game mode. It is designed to provide new players with an easy-to-understand layout, while at the same time giving veteran players a different gameplay experience compared to the existing ‘Samrée Depot’ encounter map – the new map puts a higher focus on your aim and ability to use cover.
The update also contains 42 helmet covers making it possible for players to customize their soldiers even further. And a new set of weather setting makes the game look stunning and vibrant.
Building on that, I noticed a number of weather options being added to help provide extra variation. Will the team be looking to expand on the types of conditions in the future?
Broyer: We have a total of 12 weather settings combining time of day with weather conditions, this provides a lot of variation to the game experience on the individual maps. At the moment we do not have plans for any further weather settings or conditions.
There’s been a recent increase in interest towards the World War era of the shooter genre, what does Heroes & Generals do differently and why do you feel the distinct style is attractive to players?
Broyer: World War 2 is an evergreen game genre. It is a time in history that greatly impacted how the world looks today, and it offers a wealth of great stories still to be told. We think it is great that WW2 games are a trend again.
One thing that really sets Heroes & Generals apart is the combined arms aspect – you can get to play five different types of soldiers in a battle with three factions. That is a lot of different soldiers fighting at the same time using more than 60 weapons and 75 vehicles.
And you can get to play as a general – and that is a key aspect of making Heroes & Generals unique – taking control of resources and making strategic decisions in the persistent online war that impact other players. A war where your wins and losses as a soldier makes a difference.
Has the team considered porting the game over to consoles, a number of larger previously only PC titles seem to be embracing the modern hardware?
Broyer: At the moment we solely focus on Heroes & Generals on PC. As mentioned, we have a lot of tasksin regard to the game service, toolchain and backend. And we have great features and content in production. That said, this is something that we are willing to consider when the time is right for us.
After this first year since launch, do you feel that Heroes & Generals has come closer to capturing the authenticity of the targeted era and what aspects of the game would you like to enhance going forward?
Broyer: It is important for us to stress, that while we strive to be authentic in what weapons, vehicles, equipment and uniforms we include in Heroes & Generals, the game is not a simulation. We want to make it a fun to play game for both new and veteran players – and I think we have achieved that knowing fully well, that there is also room for improvement.
The Vehicle gameplay update is going to enhance the game in a lot of ways. Not only will all the elements of this major update make all vehicles from motorcycles and APCs to Tanks and planes be more fun to play it will also enhance how the game is played and how tactics used.
Lastly, I would like to leave a spot for you to say something or go over anything I might have missed during the interview?
Broyer: Patience is important. We are a small team, so we have to be very selective on what we spend our time on. We listen to our community, we appreciate the feedback and constructive input – it is very inspiring. Our mission is to deliver the ultimate WW2 game experience … one step at the time.
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