This past Feb. 1 saw the release of , the greatly hyped release by Hi-Rez Studios. A project five years in the making, it pushes innovation through its oxymoronic blend of shooter style and massively multi-player online role playing game (MMORPG) elements. The MMORPG aspect of this game, allowing for thousands of players all over the world to assume customizable avatars, works seamlessly with fast-paced combat. Accessible through Valve’s Steam application, this is quick fun that any casual gamer can pick up.
The game’s production history is also worth noting. The company, Hi-Rez Studios, is homegrown in Ga. and comes from humble upbringings. Ga. itself has lately become a hub for digital entertainment with the Georgia Game Developer’s Association (GGDA) pushing for legislation that allows local industry growth.
“We’ve worked with legislators to create tax credits for the video game industry. We meet with international executives to get them to relocate here and have a trade show called SIEGE that’s grown to over 900 people this year,” said Clinton Lowe, President of the GGDA.
“[Hi-Rez Studios] was founded by entrepreneur Erez Goren. He had this idea of going back into the games industry and making the games he always used to play,” said Todd Harris, the Executive Producer of .
This five-year project was done in conjunction with the development of its own studio and team.
“The inspiration was that MMO’s allowed you to be in a persistent world, but we liked that combat and energy of shooters. We wanted a game that was really fast-paced like an online shooter, but the matches would be persistent and really matter,” Harris said.
Using the popular role-playing game , frames classic RPG elements, such as creating and developing the character’s unique identity, and puts it in an action-oriented context. The shooter component of the game is similar to the series in that it features a jetpack for flight as well as third person action.
Stylistically, the game’s colorful design and graphics are reminiscent of the Disney movie , and, while not stunning, are certainly easy on the eyes.
The controls and mechanics of gameplay are all simple enough to learn with of a curve of a half an hour at most. With relatively accurate and easy to use guns and swords, the game is well suited for beginners and veterans alike with not too much of a skill gap.
A game like this has actually been attempted in the past. The game also featured similar elements, but unlike this one, failed from too many glitches and technical problems. Fortunately, avoids such issues with its constant patches and upkeep.
“We’re starting a genre which has challenges of its own. Like foreign food it’s unfamiliar at first, but you get used to it. was definitely a key milestone. However, our encounter size is a lot smaller and we avoid having tons of people,” Harris said.
is unfortunately not available on Mac. On the PC, for a monthly fee, players can gain access to features like weapons creation and player versus player combat.
A fun, easy-to-pick-up game makes this one a winner. Whether one seeks a long-term commitment or quick action, can offer both.