Differences from the original and plans for the future in an interview with the developers of Gigantic: Rampage Edition



Differences from the original and plans for the future in an interview with the developers of Gigantic: Rampage Edition

On April 9, the Gigantic MOBA shooter will be relaunched, the first version of which was closed back in 2018. After 6 years, an updated edition called Gigantic: Rampage Edition was released. It will include new content and will be distributed using a paid model.

GameRant journalist played a few rounds of Gigantic: Rampage Edition with head of game design Bart Vossen and Brad Crespo from Gearbox Publishing. They talked about the revival of the game and discussed goals for its development.

Q: I noticed that at the end of each match, we are given a letter grade for our performance. Could you talk about how this estimate is formed?

Vossen: In short, the game compares your stats to other users playing the same character, but it’s a little more complicated. We group stats into three different categories: attack, defense, and support. “Attack” means, of course, kills and assists. To “defend” you need to have as few deaths as possible, but the damage taken is also taken into account. “Support” takes into account the healing, buffs, and debuffs you have applied.

The system then compares your scores to other players in these categories to determine your play style, and then compares you to other players in that play style. If you are in the top 10%, you get an S rank; if you are in the next 15%, you get an A rank, etc.

There’s a scores tab at the end where all the stats are presented, and an up or down arrow shows whether you were above average or below average, so it gives you some insight into “maybe I didn’t treat enough” or , what you need to focus on.

New maps in Gigantic: Rampage Edition

Q: How did you approach developing new maps? Did you think about design themes like verticality or focus on certain aesthetic aspects?

Vossen: The starting point for both maps was that Motiga had already done some of the initial work and they were in different stages of completion. Of course, first, we looked at what Motiga’s vision was for the cards. For example, Picaro Bay was just a wild, dark map with two or three layers: a street layer and a roof layer. This is exactly what we took as a basis when creating Picaro Bay.

Heaven’s Ward was a little more prepared, so we looked at how we could build on this rough layout and develop the map. Additionally, we had an original story from Motiga about what House Tesserus was, so we were looking more at developing that and giving the map its own unique aesthetic. That’s what we used with the art team to define the visual style of the map, create landmarks, and everything in between.

Q: Was it difficult to design maps considering all the different playstyles for heroes?

Vossen: Not really, although that’s definitely something to consider because overall we were just testing the cards a lot, trying out different heroes and different playstyles. For example, we have Imani, a sniper character who needs to be kept in sight for almost every crosshair on the map to make sure there isn’t an overly powerful sniper spot that is too advantageous for her. You have to play a lot and then adjust the sight lines, access points, etc.

Q: What was your approach to reworking Gigantic for Rampage Edition? What did you think was most important to tweak or change, and what did you think was important to keep?

Vossen: Our first goal, of course, was to preserve everything that fans love about the game. As you just pointed out, the main component of this is the cast of characters. They are all very unique. They have their playing styles and their characters. Even if you look at them visually, they’re very cool, so that’s something we wanted to keep in the game.

Additionally, the original Brawl game mode was a fan favorite, so we wanted to make as few changes to it as possible. Any changes had to improve the quality of life in order to maintain the core features of the game. One of the first big areas where we looked at improving the game was the tutorial experience. When the game came out seven or eight years ago, one of Gigantic’s problems was that the Skirmish mode had a lot of confusing rules that weren’t immediately clear when you first logged in. We wanted to make sure that we had a good set of tutorials that would walk you through the game mode, introduce you to the different mechanics, and help you get better at the game.

On the other hand, we have also made several quality-of-life improvements. One of the things we’ve seen new players struggle with is the upgrade mechanic, so we’ve added a few tweaks to help combat this issue. The auto-upgrade setting is enabled by default to help new players, but we expect experienced players to disable it once they’ve adjusted to what’s happening in the game. But even if auto-upgrade is disabled, the game still can quickly upgrade.

For each hero, we have added two default builds that can be selected to highlight the character’s different playstyles, and players can create their custom builds. At the beginning of the match you choose a build, and the upgrade system will follow it.

We approached it something like this. We asked, “What problems do players face due to lack of feedback?” or “Which mechanics are harder for new players to understand?” and thought about how to make them more accessible to players so that they could skip the boring tutorial phase and immerse themselves in the game, learning gradually.

Q: Can you tell us about the new heroes, Roland and Kajira? How did you approach their design about the rest of the cast?

Vossen: Roland and Kajir were already in different stages of development at Motiga, so we took a deep dive into the characters to understand how Motiga originally envisioned them. Then we looked at what suited their play style.

For example, Roland is a bounty hunter with a mechanical arm, so we’ve focused his skills on giving you the ability to get up close and attack with a shotgun, while his bolas will allow you to stalk your prey, slow them down, or set up traps. It has a grappling hook that allows it to pursue prey or provides an additional level of mobility.

With Khajir, we focused on making him a very strong killer who can deal a lot of burst damage but lacks damage in between. Given his pirate background, we gave him a crew of skeletons that he can control to distract enemies, using them to escape or sometimes attack.

In short, we looked at what Motiga’s original vision was for the characters, and then thought about how we could fit them into the current roster, what playstyles we could create with those characters, and then built everything from there.

Q: For players who may have missed out on Gigantic before, why do you think anyone should try this MOBA?

Vossen: For me personally, the reason lies in the diversity of the characters. It was very easy to find a playstyle that I enjoy in other games, and it has a very good mix of melee and ranged heroes. There are shooter-style characters like Beckett and Imani, but there are also those that play almost like a fighting game, like Wu, who has tons of combos. The variety of characters is very cool. Once you’ve come to Gigantic and learned your first hero, there’s so much more to discover with others, so I think there’s something for everyone here.

As for the matches themselves, Onslaught mode allows you to simply dive into Gigantic for 30 minutes, play a couple of matches, and relax. Or you can go for Skirmish mode, which still lets you rely on character skills but gives you a little more long-term strategy. Even though you may not win one-on-one fights, you can still outplay the opposing team in terms of overall strategy. I think players will like this aspect as well.

Changes based on feedback and post-launch plans

Q: The game recently went into beta and the team has been quite active with the community. Was there any feedback from players that particularly influenced certain decisions?

Vossen: We listen to player feedback. Several points have been noted. For example, during the beta, many people said that jumping attacks take a lot of stamina, which puts melee characters at a disadvantage. We agree with this, so we’ve reduced the stamina cost of jump attacks to prevent players from accidentally draining stamina or running out of stamina too quickly. For melee characters, this makes a little more sense.

Plus, I have a ton of documents with reviews that I’ll have to dig through. Often in both the beta and the Return event, player feedback coincided with the problems we had already identified, so it was very easy for us. We think something is not that good, and the players say the same thing, and it was like, “Okay, yeah, cool. We don’t have to wonder about this anymore, let’s just improve and fix it.”

Q: What are your plans for the future of the game? Are you thinking about adding additional cards or new heroes?

Crespo: We want to add content post-launch and have it all be free. So, we plan to introduce a rating mode, which was one of the most requested features of the original game. A lot of people have been asking about this and there is currently a discussion on Reddit that a ranked mode will be introduced and that it will add a lot to the competitive scene. So this is already in development and will appear after launch.

In addition, after the release, we will release several skins for heroes for free. This is the current plan at this time for the post-launch period. Of course, it won’t be possible without the good old balance tweaks, patches, and everything else. The previous game was free-to-play with microtransactions, but Rampage Edition removes microtransactions entirely. By purchasing the game for $20, you get the full version of the game immediately. That’s the main thing we want players to take away from this. “Oh that’s great, I just spent 20 bucks and I can get everything in the game and not have to worry about microtransactions. Plus, they will not only bring the game back but also release the post-launch content we’ve been asking for.”

It’s a nice “thank you” to fans of the original and, of course, an introduction to new fans. This is exactly how everything was intended both for the launch and after it.

Q: Do you have any final thoughts you would like to share?

Vossen: I would tell everyone to just play and enjoy the game, and I’m very happy that I was able to bring it back to all the fans. In some ways, it was because fans kept their faith and love for the game that it eventually came back. Without them, the game wouldn’t come back.

Crespo: From a publisher’s perspective, we’re all big fans of the original and it’s an exciting project for us too. We’re thrilled to bring Gigantic back and bring it to life. Not only that but to make sure that everyone can get the game and enjoy it to the fullest. That’s the goal. We’re looking forward to everyone being able to return to Gigantic, whether they’re new or those who played thousands upon thousands of matches in the original.