A few days ago at Gamescom 2016 EmuGlx’s own Milan Radosavljević aka Wahad got a chance to talk a little bit with Dan Nanni, lead designer of LawBreakers.


EmuGlx: All my questions… are in Serbian… so I will have to translate as we go, so yeah if you could please introduce yourself to our EmuGlx readers for our start of this interview?

Dan Nanni: Yeah of course! My name is Dan Nanni and I am the lead designer of LawBreakers

EmuGlx: Nice! Ok.. so, the game is announced before Overwatch but it will be released unfortunately, after Overwatch. It’s not the same game, but some of the players are comparing them a lot. So we wanted to know, how did you get an idea to make this kind of game, was it following the trends of the multiplayer scene or some other inspiration from other games? Have you maybe borrowed some ideas for other titles on the scene?

Dan Nanni: So the main concept came from Cliff, he had an idea of having a “game vs game” type of the game and he knew he wanted gravity to be a major point of the gameplay itself. How we turned it into more class based shooter? That was just over time and iterations, just trying to see what will our gameplay be like so we naturally gravitated towards it. We noticed that in industry lots of companies gravitate to same conclusions and often it is like that in some sort of media like movies that we might have all watched, books that we might all have read together… it’s a small industry and we all might get the same thoughts and ideas, and as you mentioned right in the middle of development more people had the same idea as we did.

EmuGlx:  Yeah yeah a couple of times through the history… I cant think of any examples right now…

Dan Nanni: Zombies?

EmuGlx: Yeah it was a trend for how many years…

Dan Nanni: Yeah like zombies, space marines… you name it. Industry was full of them, as a matter of fact, it still is.

EmuGlx: How was it working with Cliff? He worked on Gears of War, how he separated himself from that franchise and how he decided to make something totally different? I mean LawBreakers is for fact a totally different game than Gears, in every possible aspect.

Dan Nanni: I think it goes back to his core roots with Unreal, he had a major hand in developing that franchise and it was just looking at the game in the begining what it could be, we started thinking about how we didn’t see arena shooters for awhile now, we do see some arena shooters coming back these days, but its something we can look into exploring more. We tried to but we realised we don’t want to make the same game that he made 20 years ago, we didn’t want to make the game that other people are making and have been making for 20 years, we wanted to do it slightly different… And yes departure that he made before in the past are similar properties of what some other of us have worked in the past, its just the combination of ideas, our development studio embodies open development relationship where we all work together until we come to consensus.

lawbreakers_titansfaceoff

EmuGlx: How did you choose Unreal 4 engine are you going to modify it more and more through development as you are closing to release date?

Dan Nanni: Unreal 4 is obviously something some of our developers had experience working with, right obviously we knew some people who worked in that company. But at the same time we needed an engine, we knew that we arent going to make our own engine, that is something that would make development time much much longer, it was something that was easier to get into. We knew people who havent worked with it before, but it was easy for us to mess around with it, make a prototype test it and then inmplement it afterwards. So we needed a game engine that would allow us to get right into the game development fast. That’s why we chose Unreal… and yeah we modified the heck out of it, we already have and it will just keep getting modified.

EmuGlx: So, we saw a couple of champions in this build of the game but do you have some final number of them for the final release?

Dan Nanni: We will just keep on going, we don’t have our final release number. It depends on when the release actually is… we don’t have a date for release just yet, but at that point hopefully we will have a good number for you guys to play with and event at that point when we say it is released we’re just gonna keep on releasing more and more.

EmuGlx: Are you going to be closely connected to the community in terms of like mods and everything else what community wants as long as their ideas are good, will you add those things to the game or you have your own path of developement?

Dan Nanni: No, we are very close and tight with our community we just finished our first alpha phase, we threated it like an actual alpha phase it not just mock up smoke and mirrors, you play our game and break our servers. We had a lot of great feedback and we went offline fixed some stuff than put it back online, and we will keep doing that…  and now we have a lot of feedback that we are going to iterate on so we stopped this alpha phase we are going to work on it, with the plan to open up the alpha again, and get new player feedback… and they will see that the feedback thay have given us will be implemented in the game, that there will be a lot of new features.

EmuGlx: After the first alpha people raged on Twitter, especially to Cliff Blezinski’s Twitter profile, because of the similarities with Overwatch, so whats your stance in regards to that?

Dan Nanni: From a screenshot perspective it looks very different, but you know they both have guns, they both have… I think people are always prone to comparing things, that is just human nature to always make a comparative analysis with something that you are familiar with, but I think that everybody who has played the game had a chance to realise that it doesn’t play anything like Overwatch.

EmuGlx: Well I noticed… I played it for the first time half an hour ago, and I noticed that it has no connection at all to Overwatch. It is totally different game, movement, shooting, dynamic of the game… But one thing got me curious, do you think that time to kill is a little bit longer maybe? That you need more time to kill someone for this kind of game?

Dan Nanni: Depends on the class! We have some people that say time to kill is longer than usual but some say its too fast… it comes down to combat, who are you going up against, how good are they, and have you learned to play the game well… Some of our characters are killed extremely fast, other ones that can be killed in a little bit longer, but at the same time it depend on what character they are up against that will take em out. Its all variable but can have longevity, but we also will be introducing mechanics that gonna add more support into the game in the future, and hopefully that will increase that time to kill just a little bit, but we’ll see how that goes. We are still messing around with numbers its not set in stone.

lawbreakers_enforcer_blindfire

EmuGlx: Is this your final type of movement mechanic for the final release? Are you going to change something between now and final version of the game, add something different to it?

Dan Nanni: So you’ll find different experiences in other mods and maps for sure. We’ll be releasing new maps and we’ll be playing around to see how gravity will work in those other maps. But we also will be releasing new roles and our new roles will have their own movement abilities and they will be different than ones that you are able to play right now. So as we drop in more and more characters they will be interacting with the game in completely new ways, so you can expect to see growth.

EmuGlx: Is there a final number of maps that you’re planning for the final release?

Dan Nanni: Nope, same things we’ll be working on a bunch, we have much more right now that are in production than we actually have available to play right now… and they will be coming fast and furious just like our new roles and modes will be.

EmuGlx: Have you thought about supporting Steam Workshop Mods made by fans and community maybe?

Dan Nanni: You mean like player made? Oh, we’d love to, yeah that’s something we would definitely like to embrace and support. Not just mods but maps and skins all that would be wonderfull. But that just one of the things that we need to devote our time to, but we want to make sure that the game is solid first before we start going with community created content. But in the future, long term, we would love to be able to support all of the community content.

EmuGlx: Well you said before that you value opinions of the community, so have you had a situation where you made a change in the game exclusively because the fans requested it?

Dan Nanni: Yup, so withing the first few alpha tests, we started hearing more and more how the game was too slow. We tried to fasten out the game before but it was causing a lot of balance problems when it goes faster. So to be safe we kept it how it was when we released it first. But in the meantime, we speeded it up and in about three-four alpha tests. After some time, we heard enough and we decided to change the speed for everything, not just how fast the characters move, but how fast characters fly, their special movement abilities, how fast are you able to use your abilities so it increased number of how often you can use them. So overall the game got much faster and that was because our community told us that they want our game faster, so we gave that to them.

EmuGlx: Is this going to be the final number of abilities per hero?

Dan Nanni: For the characters that you see out right nowm yeah, those are the rules they will have that set amount of abilites, it might change a little bit, we’re going back for community feedback for this one. For example there is enforcer we might increase fun factor a little bit, so we are looking like what can we do with his abilites, some of them might change as we go, but the number of abilites are going to be that for the roles that exist right now, but different roles will come in with new ways to play the game. Some will be completely different than the way you can play right now.

enforcer-infographic-hd

EmuGlx: The setting of the game is pretty interesting, but it is multiplayer only. Have you ever thought about maybe adding a single player sometime in the future or the far future from now?

Dan Nanni: We would like to make this game much bigger than it actually is, but for right now it’s only multiplayer. Because of the small team, we can focus on one main product. When you got the game with multiplayer and singleplayer the development team triples in size, takes much more money, much more time, it’s bigger more elaborate thing. We wanted to focus on really good core experience, one type of game, on one type of platform, we want to make it best as we can, and if the game gets really good and sells well, and it grows then we will think about growing the game itself.

EmuGlx: Do you have any date for Beta phase of the game?

Dan Nanni: We just keep refining the product, and want to be sure that our backend is stable but no for right now we are going to stay in alpha until our game feels solid and it feels like a good, complete experience.

EmuGlx: So basically, you won’t be releasing your game until you’re 100% sure that you have the quality product in hand that can perform well once it’s out in the wild?

Dan Nanni: Yes, exactly that. We don’t want to rush anything. We want to polish, fix and balance the game as much as we can before we decide to release 1.0 version of the game.

EmuGlx: Do you think there is a place on the market for two very similar quality products?

Dan Nanni: Well when you look at fighting games when you look at sports games as long as they are not the same identical game you can have multiple products to enjoy, especially when they are well priced. It’s much easier to buy two products that are both reasonable lower price title, especially if they are different games and I think what benefits us – if you like first person shooters you are not gonna get the same type of the game anywhere else, you will buy one game for one reason and you will buy our game for a different reason, and you can have both of them and enjoy it.

lawbreakers_paxeast_zerogbattle

EmuGlx: Do you have estimated price for your title maybe?

Dan Nanni: No estimated price right now, but for what I know its definitely not anywhere near $60 mark it will be much lower than $60, it will be appropriate to the multiplayer only title.

EmuGlx: I think we run through all of the questions we have prepared for now. But i wanted to ask you about the diversity of the people in your company? Is there a lot of experienced, well-known devs that were working on high profile games overall?

Dan Nanni: A lot of people in our company have worked at lots of different games you know Battlefield, Planetside, Rainbow Six Siege a wide range of developers but players too, we are all love different games on top of that!

EmuGlx:  Is this final number of players per team? Are you going to up the number of players per team maybe?

Dan Nanni: We probably need to make bigger maps, because our characters are now moving and flying much faster, but we also consider making few smaller maps with the smaller number of players for more intimate experience. Its all up in the air right now, but right now we are just focusing on that 5 on 5.

EmuGlx: Thank you! We at EmuGlx will keep watch on the progress of your game and we wish you all the best!

Interview was done by Wahad
English transcript by Real Nick