Robert Dominic Ventre II
Staff WriterThe developers at Turbine, Inc. are hard at work on the upcoming free-to-play PC game, Infinite Crisis: a MOBA (i.e. multiplayer online battle arena) which takes its themes, characters and story from the DC Comics universe. The world of MOBAs is currently dominated by games such as League of Legends and Smite. While there's always room on the playground for more competition, the team behind Infinite Crisis has stated that they intend to bring a fresh, new take on the genre which they hope will appeal to gamers unfamiliar with MOBAs while also retaining veteran players. Jeffrey Steefel, Turbine's executive producer for Infinite Crisis, spoke with Digital Spy in regards to the game and its progress: "There's a spectrum, and we're learning towards, I wouldn't say easy - there's no such thing as easy in a MOBA - but it's definitely easier to pick up, which is what we want," (Read about Digital Spy's hands-on preview of Infinite Crisis here) Riot Games' League of Legend (LoL) is currently the MOBA forerunner, having been released in 2009 before quickly becoming one of the most played games across North America and Europe. LoL provides serious competition for Infinite Crisis right out of the gate, but Steefel hopes that the draw of the DC Comics canon coupled with a novice-friendly tutorial system will draw subscribers regardless: "We're hoping to get, because of DC and it's slightly different and fresh, to get some new people that haven't actually played MOBAs before. The more friendly it is in the beginning, the better." MOBAs are notorious for punishing 'lax or unpracticed players, as learning how they work can be a challenge in and of itself. Turbine hopes to address this problem directly by providing new users a chance to learn how to participate without fear of being stomped into paste by the opposition while fiddling with the controls: "Now during the course of the next few months and throughout the year it's going to be about a succession of tutorials," Steefel goes on to explain, "These are in the game - how do I play? How do I walk, how do I talk, how do I engage enemies, characters and skills? Essentially giving you a safer place to learn, so you don't have to be getting killed when you're playing." Based on the 2005-2006 comic storyline of the same name, Infinite Crisis will explore the DC universe and allow you to command some of its greatest champions and villains, from Superman himself to the wily and psychotic Joker. What could potentially separate Crisis from its contemporaries, aside from featuring some of the recognizable comic book characters of all time, is the variation it provides on traditional MOBA gameplay. The game will include a typical triple lane map with lethal defense towers placed throughout, but has other stage layouts that feature varied destructibility and objectives: "The five-point map is a good starter map, where players can learn basic mechanics, they're not messing around with team dynamics, they're just trying to figure out how to take control of opportunities." Steefel has also stated that professional MOBA players were heavily involved with the game during its closed beta, providing insight that he would have otherwise been unable to provide, "They want - and this is interesting - that balance between freshness so it feels like there's something new here, there's something that feels different to what I've been doing, but at the same time, they want it to be familiar enough that they're not trying to learn how to drive a car right now," Steefel wanted their responses to be brutal and honest, to aid the development team's progression, as Turbine has primarily been involved with MMORPGs before taking on Crisis: "Beyond that, why we've got the pro players involved so early, we wanted them to be merciless with us. We said you guys don't think the game is playable, or is exciting to play, or giving you the response we want, then we know we're not ready. If you guys starting feeling that way, then we know we're ready to actually put this in front of a lot of different people. We feel like we're there. We'll be balancing from now until I'm dead, probably." Players can expect to give Infinite Crisis a try when it hosts its open beta, beginning on March 14th.
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