We had a great opportunity in the show floor meeting rooms to meet with Andy Hong, Project Manager for the new FPS MMO Huxley: The Dystopia. We were able to snag an interview from him, and afterwords, get our paws on a short hands-on demo of the PvP aspects of this interesting game.
Hit the jump for the juicy tidbits and hands-on impression!
Gamer Limit: Can you tell us your name and how you are affiliated with the game?
Andy Hong: My name is Andy Hong and I am the Project Manager for Huxley: The Dystopia
GL: Can you tell us about your game, Huxley: The Dystopia?
AH: Huxley is a First Person Shooter MMO that takes place in a persistent world. There will be NPC’s in the city that will give players quests and you go into a questing zone, kinda like an instance, and you do the quest objectives. You can actually do the quest with your friends, up to four people together.
GL: And the game is in a beta phase right now?
AH: The closed beta of phase 1 is going on right now, it started yesterday, and its going to go up until June 14th. Phase 2 will come a month or two afterwards, while we update the game and fix all the problems.
GL: Are you guys going to be offering PvP?
AH: At its heart I feel like Huxley is a FPS. So, we have two PvP modes. One is called Local battle, where its set up like an FPS where you go in and set up a channel and set up a room. We have 16vs16 in there right now. And also, we have something called the battleground, with larger scale, larger maps, more players, 32 vs 32 right now, and the results of the battleground affects your city. So, in the story there has been a cataclysmic event that wipes out civilization, there has been a few survivors, but some of them have mutated into a different species. So, the mutated decide to form a faction and the non-mutated species decide to form another faction. Now, those factions are at war against each other.
GL: So you start out as a rookie, and as you progress do you gain levels or do you have a skill system?
AH: You gain levels by participating in quests and also by PvP, and you gain military rank by participating in PvP.
GL: Now, are there different classes? Does everyone choose how to specialize as they level up?
AH: Players can choose from three different classes. One is the Phantom, one is the Avenger, and one is the Enforcer. The Phantom is a light armor and long range weapon sniper type of character. The Avenger is a medium armor and medium range weapon type of character and the Enforcer is a heavy armor and close range type of character. Those are the combat styles you can use in the game.
GL: And, do those have a factor in the weapons you can use?
AH: Yeah. There are weapons unique to each class. You can take skills points in other classes secondary weapons, but you can’t use their main weapon.
GL: Do you have a balance system set up so players will need the other classes?
AH: Yeah. The way the developers set it up each of the characters classes balances each other out. Phantoms are stronger against Enforcers or Avengers are stronger against Phantoms. At the same time there are different skill sets you can use for each character. Each character class has their own unique set of weapons and a unique set of socket skills. An example of a socket skill for the Phantom is the ability to turn invisible for a short period of time. They can also set up a decoy for people to shoot at while they are cloaked somewhere else. The flip side to that is the Avenger has a thermal vision goggle skill where they can detect the Phantoms and the Enforcer has a skill to accelerate his speed to close the gap between Phantoms and Avengers.
GL: Do you ever plan on going past 32 vs 32?
AH: Yeah, we are still trying to develop a larger scale battle, but they are still working on that so its in development.
GL: Are both factions playable?
AH: Yes. Once you come in you can be either the Sapiens or the Alternatives and the battleground is the war between the two factions. And if your faction is doing better than the other, your city starts to reap benefits. Like, your item costs go down or sell an item back to an NPC and get more money back. We are working out more benefits and rewards for that.
GL: Do you guys have plans for players to assault the opposing faction’s city?
AH: Yeah, the way the battleground will work is there are different points on the map that you can overtake and once all those maps are overtaken, you gain access to a map that simulates taking over the other city.
GL: Are there different match types besides Deathmatch?
AH: Yeah, we have Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and we have Hyper-speed mode.
GL: Hyper-speed mode?
AH: They are still kinda developing that, tweaking it a little bit. We also have a mode called Capture the Radar which is like dominating a position and whomever dominates it longer gets more points.
GL: Do the factions have different abilities?
AH: An example is the Alternatives have the ability to increase their damage at higher levels, more so than sapiens.
GL: Can you import your character from the PvE to the PvP server to use your leveled up character?
AH: Once you start up a game, the PvE and PvP are interconnected. So you have one character that you level up for both. You can level up using quests and PvP, but in PvP you will earn medal accomplishments and you can use that to level up your rank and you also get regular exp, but you get exp and items for crafting in PvE.
GL: How are you guys planning on incorporating the storyline of the cataclysm into the quest line? Are you guys going to have story quests that everyone can do together?
AH: Exactly, story quests will be the quests you do to learn more about the story, what happened and NPCs will tell you do this and this, and then you will see the progression of the story as it surrounds you, the character. So, the cataclysmic event happens before you enter the game, and the two factions are at war. You come into the game as a new rookie soldier for one of the factions.
GL: Does Huxley have any crafting, like making weapons or altering weapons in any way?
AH: Yeah, there is a crafting system that you take item drops from monsters and buy recipes from the NPCs in the city, and you can craft different items. And, at the same time, there is also a weapon tuning system where you can increase the performance of your weapon like the accuracy or the damage.
GL: What influences did you guys have for the world or the way the FPS feels?
AH: The game plays very fast with hyper action, so I think the developers got a lot of inspiration from the Quake or Unreal Tournament series. However, or game has the skill system and also balanced classes. As far as the world and the story is concerned, I think they got a lot of inspiration from the Adolf Huxley books. He talks about a dystopian society.
GL: So it’s influenced by his books directly?
AH: Not directly, but like an umbrella idea.
GL: Speaking of the world, how big is the persistent world?
AH: It’s actually pretty big. It would take one character from one end to another about eight to ten minutes, but the city can fill a maximum of 5,000 people at one time.
GL: Are there multiple cities, or is it just one city?
AH: There is one city for one faction and another city for the other faction.
GL: Do you have a release date in mind?
AH: Later this year. Huxley: The Dystopia is going to be free to play and free to download with micro transactions.
GL: Now, speaking about micro transactions, how are you guys going to do that?
AH: When you think of micro transactions you have to consider what is convenient for the user and what makes the users experience better. We are looking at items like teleportation items or move to a different server, move stats to another server, access another faction, change class in midst of leveling. If you leveled your Avenger character to top level but you want to try out the other one, but you don’t want to spend however many hours you can buy an item to access another class at your level. Also there are vanity items for your avatar. There are also items to help you in battle but not enough to upset the balance between characters.
GL: Do you have plans for future content?
AH: Of course. With micro transactions and online games you are looking at continued developer support and we will continue to get regular updates.
GL: What about new classes?
AH: For now…there aren’t any plans. We are still trying to polish up the balancing for these characters.
GL: Thank you very much for you time Mr. Hong.
AH: Thank you!
After our interview I was treated to a little of the local battle PvP action. Mr. Hong gave me a quick rundown of the skills and the controls, and he set me on my way. Right from the start I realized that Huxley’s Quake and Unreal Tournament inspirations were spot on, actually, it was like playing the games of yore, but with a few big differences. I was playing the Enforcer class so I had a shotgun, a grenade launcher, and some other gun I was unable to identify. The most interesting part of the game was battling the other classes and having to adjust my tactics based on their abilities. The Avengers would be able to hit me from a decent distance and the Phantoms would snipe and cloak making it difficult to close the distance. However, being the big brute I was, I could give myself invulnerability and increase my speed to make up for the pesky ranged weapon wielders.
Another interesting facet to the game was the lack of weapons on the field. Each player is sent into the game with their own equipment and the only thing that you pick up are power-ups (which looked like just double damage) and ammo supply kits scattered throughout the map. The lack of micro management in the heat of battle is a welcome reprieve to bum rushes to the big weapons. My time with the game was short, thanks to the fickle internet connection, with a disconnect to the server, but I was able to determine that being free to download and free to play, Huxley is a bargain. I hope that we will get to see some more of the persistent world in the future and the exciting changes they have in store for their promising product. For now, I will have to just wait and hope I get into the second phase beta.
Gamer Limit would like to thank Mr. Hong again for sitting down and telling us about this intriguing title.