Awhile back I discovered that the crew over at Vandal Games were developing a game simply known as “Project NWO.” The background featured a woman in futuristic armor aiming a sniper rifle. My first thought was a futuristic war game, but then I started to think that the NWO stood for. Of course anyone who grew up in the 90s or are into conspiracy theories would instantly think that NWO stood for New World Order. However, I was wrong and NWO actually stood for No Way Out. That still didn’t make me any less interested. With teaser quotes saying things like “The Apocalypse is coming and we have front-row seats,” and “We will burn the fuel of war into the night” I knew we were in for a crazy adventure. We recently got to talk with Richard “Kazee” Savann, the Game Designer of No Way Out to discuss the game and find out more information.
GC: When I first saw the trailer, my first thought was Titanfall with the control style of the first two Fallout games, were those inspirations when coming up with the concept?
RS: Titanfall sets itself as one of the game that made us push No Way Out towards a soft open-world battlefield. We recently went through a development phase in which we wanted to push the feeling of urgency and alertness. Urgency because you need to capture objectives and fight against the clock; alertness because you need to hide and hunt in team to survive.
The inspirations of the team are Diablo II, Defense of the Ancient, League of Legends, Quake and Battlefield.
GC: One major thing I noticed was the quality of the game’s graphics. Were graphics a big priority with development?
RS: One of our guidelines is to translate the feeling of impact within the pre-apocalyptic world we created. The graphics presents a new challenge to push the web browser platform into a new high quality perspective and the technical/artistic limits of it. We are working hard to keep graphics optimized without compromising quality.
GC: You guys just had a closed beta last Thursday. How did that go and what kind of feedback did you receive?
RS: We organize closed beta events every Thursday nights where the development is playing with everyone. This way we can talk directly to the players and know what they think. Players think that the game has great potential and the concept of a MOBA with more than 2 teams is refreshing.
Thanks to the feedback of NWO’s community, we are constantly working on balancing characters, loots and progression. We could not make the game better without them!
GC: What kinds of issues did Testers run into and what steps are in place to address them?
RS: During our past closed beta tests, there was the issue of not fully understand what is happening because it is too intense, so we work on improving the UI and visual feedback overall.
When you died (and it will happen often), you re-spawned randomly on the map and most of the time, you would spawn pretty far from your allies. Players felt it would be better if you’d spawn close to your teammates, in order to emphasize even more on the team aspect. We implemented this shortly after and the results were instantly great.
We are addressing those as we proceed to make it feel that it is fair and satisfying to progress. We’re so happy to test the game very early in the production so we can actually completely rework big part of the game design and not just tweak here and there. We honestly ask ourselves: Is this feature really fun? If it’s not we break it down and re-build it, there are no compromise.
GC: What kind of direction would you personally like for this game to take in the future?
RS: As the game progresses, we wish to always create new content related to customizing characters’ appearance and gameplay. The better you perform in battles, the more you gain currency and items.
The weapons – that you equip in-between battle – drastically change the way you play. Characters’ weapons affects your character’s abilities and offer a way to tune your gameplay according to your tastes and team’s strategy.
As an example, one of Sgt. Pepper’s weapon increase the radius of explosion of her Sticky Bombs but at the same time delays their explosion. Every high-end weapon will buff one ability but also debuff something else, this way we offer you the opportunity to diversify the way you play, adapt to every situations and play by your tastes.
What made you decide to have a camera style with free Al rather than one following the character?
The player has the option of choosing between both camera and unlocked by pressing “C”. That way they can play along their own preferences ; )
GC: What kind of issues have you overcome as a team during your development on No Way Out?
RS: Since No Way Out is a browser-based game, users stream their data in real-time so we have to keep the game small! We will never stop adding content so we had to find smart ways to keep it small. A player that play for the first time will only have 25 Mo to download, we’re quite proud of that!
We are entirely focused on the development of No Way Out, thus we partnered with DistrictWare that is focused on promoting it. Both companies work on the things they do best.
GC: Can you tell us a little bit more about your newly announce character Sergeant Pepper?
RS: First, we had four main archetypes which are the Assassin (agile, strong and careful), the Heavy (Packs a punch and survives longer), Sniper (heavy damage from afar and runs fast) and the Nuker (crowd control, area of effect and technical). Sgt Pepper presents a new way to play a mix of two archetypes like the Assassin and the Nuker which merges fast reaction, mobility and crowd control abilities.
We recently released a new character called Hanz , he’s quite poisonous 😉
GC: How big of a transition was it to go from your Facebook game, Big Story Little Heroes, to developing No Way Out?
RS: The foundations the team constructed with Big Story Little Heroes helped us understand how to tackle the technology web browser games and how to stream efficiently the way it’s made. From this past game and No Way Out, we had to aim a different target audience, think through how we encourage teamplay and more complex players’ strategies. From now on, Big Story Little Heroes is still online but we had to keep it in hiatus development wise since all of our attention is towards No Way Out.
GC: Since this will be at Action-RTS, how large are the worlds?
RS: The map Operation Black Stork is designed to be felt like a soft-open battlefield which involves enough tactical knowledge to engage fights, escape, group as a team, solo, retrieve various loot and relocate the main objectives. The environment is designed to encourage team fights and guerrilla warfare for 12 to 15 players. In No Way Out’s map, there are no safe zone, every step is dangerous, and we advise you to stick together!
GC: What kind of emotions do you hope players feel after they play No Way Out?
RS: While in battle, players have to quickly adapt their tactics depending on the situation. You are constantly pressured to act quick and smart, and when your strategy worked, you and your teammates feel amazing. During our playtests, players were thrilled by the large team fights with 15 players and the intensity of No Way Out.