Fresh from its public showing at EGX Rezzed 2017; 100XP’s “n00b on the block” Dean had the chance to speak to Dan Anderson, CEO of Exile Gaming Studios, to talk about their upcoming cyberpunk MMO Exile Online.
What is Exile Online all about?
Exile Online is set in the far future as mankind struggles to survive political and social strife in a never ending world of plot and subterfuge.
Imagine a world where intrigue and multiple storyline twists can happen at any moment. Our world will be a place where the actions of one individual can have global consequences and ramifications.
Could you go into more detail about classes, factions and if the the focus will be PvE/PvP orientated?
There are classes that a player will be able to drop in and out of depending on their own personal needs at any given time. For example a player has access to all of the classes and skills in the game and will be able to level them all up to maximum but will only be able to leverage one skill set at a time.
Combat is not the only method of character progression. It really depends on each person’s play type. You will have combat players, crafters, role players and everything in between in a sandbox environment. Raiding and PvP are not the only types of content that is planned for our game. You guys will be able to have fun in many other ways!
How many people are working on Exile Online?
We have a solid core of 8-12 people that are involved in direct development. The number varies depending on what we are working on at any given time. If we need concept art for example we will contact one of the freelance concept artists we have on the team to commission a piece.
You have a team that small, and yet you decided to make a Cyberpunk MMO? Isn’t that crazy?
There is a misconception in the gaming world that Massively Multiplayer Online games are difficult to create. There is some truth to this but in general it is no more difficult than creating any other type of game as long as you have a clear vision of what you want to create and have a strong team to carry out the development. Also choosing the correct software to base your game on is a must.
What was the correct software for you?
We are working on the Hero Engine. We chose this engine because it was, and still is, the only engine out there that caters for multiplayer and more specifically MMO game development. It has the networking and multiplayer capabilities built directly into the engine without the need for using third party add-ons such as RakNet.
The renderer is currently based on DX9 so lags a bit behind other engines such as Unity and Unreal in terms of graphical fidelity, but with the upcoming DX11 renderer overhaul, things will start to look a lot prettier long before the game is actually released.
How long have you been in development?
We have been in development since mid 2013 when I decided that I needed a cyberpunk MMO.
For 2 years we were simply designing the game, writing our GDD and doing research on the best ways to go about creating what we wanted to make. After that it took me a good year or so to build a team that was capable of doing what was needed and since then we have been in active content production.
Our game will take leads and inspiration from many corners of the sci-fi/cyberpunk genre including Bladerunner, Akira, Judge Dredd, Deus Ex and Total Recall to name a few. The genre is rich and can be so immersive to players if given the right environment. This is what inspires us to create such a game.
How does Exile Online set itself apart from those works?
Exile Online takes inspiration from the cyberpunk genre as a whole. Without the works mentioned that came before we would have been starving. As it is there is no Cyberpunk MMO released or in development as far as I know. That in itself makes our game stand out for the fans of the genre. I think it is high time that we all get the game we deserve and even games within the same genre will differ in how they play.
Can you go into more detail about what kind of events or exclusive content you plan to bring into Exile Online?
One of the main events that we have planned since the inception of the game is large scale city or area invasions. These will be run by developer or event based GMs.
Essentially think of it this way, a portion of the city wall is destroyed by a huge rampaging mech destroyer. The mech is controlled by the GM personally so does not rely on AI, this makes all the events unscripted and totally randomised in they turn out.
We will also be straying far from the “go here kill 10 rabbits” mission archetype that seems to be so prevalent in other MMOs of today.
What are the overall hopes and objectives of Exile Online?
That is one huge loaded question!
In the near future we plan on taking the game onto the Steam platform. This will be made easier for us as the engine we are based on act as publishers, allowing us to skip through Greenlight.
We do plan on another attempt at funding but even should that fail the private alpha testing phase should be ready by the end of year.
I personally want to make a game that I would enjoy playing. Something with the spirit and sense of playability of a game such as Neocron. I feel we are onto a real winner and can give the fans of the genre what they deserve…a long lasting, great and fun MMO to play for years to come.
Once the game gets released, how will it be sustained? What model will it be taking?
Exile Online will be a Free To Play title with income being generated from an in-game cash shop that does NOT include pay to win items.
Can you give us a current status on the game?
The game is currently in pre public alpha access. We are working hard at creating the basis of the mission and NPC systems that will allow us to quickly create playable game content. Once we reach that point it will quickly evolve into a game that is ready for the public to play.
Do you know when that will be?
Our development speed has increased recently after taking on an additional 3D modeller. We had planned on having a closed public alpha ready by the end of 2016 but as we didn’t reach our Kickstarter goals we weren’t able to increase the rate of development to reach that target.
As we are personally funded at this time it means we don’t have the luxury of setting firm dates for release.