Fates Forever interview: The first MOBA to jump from PC to tablet
The multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre has exploded over the last few years. As more and more developers carve their notches into it, each tries to add their own unique spin to build off the shoulders of giants.
MOBAs are huge right now in PC video game world, but what about tablets? There's certainly room for the popular genre on a smaller console, is there not?
This is where Fates Forever comes in. Hammer & Chisel is developing “the First MOBA Created Specifically for Tablet” offering the “Complete MOBA Experience.” This game will use touch controls to participate in 3v3 combat with either real players or bots.
A Fates Forever match will average around 15 minutes and welcome teamwork. With a similar business model to League of Legends, the game will be free to download. There will be free characters you pick that will swap around every week or so. You can use in game earned points to unlock new characters or buy them with microtransactions while keeping away from the dreaded “pay to win” model. With a roster of 10 characters at lunch, the developers are looking to add a new one every 2-4 weeks.
Currently, Fates Forever doesn’t have a hard release date, but the trailer attached to this article says 2013. The game is currently in alpha in “secret countries.” Interested in trying it out? Sign up HERE for a chance to do so. Check out the interview with Jason Citron, founder of Hammer & Chisel below and prepare your tablets for a gaming experience like no other.
What exactly is Fates Forever?
Fates Forever is a reinterpretation of the MOBA genre exclusively for tablets. Our goal is to create a deep game that is like a hobby you can get lost in with your friends. The kind of game you can play over and over again while you're hanging out with friends, or online with other people if you're in the mood!
Where did the idea for Fates Forever stem from? How long have you had a project like this in mind?
Ever since I was a kid I wanted to build my own games company. In early 2012 I had the opportunity to start one, so I looked around to find a platform that was woefully lacking great games for core gamers. Tablets looked like they were going to be really popular over the next 3-7 years. So I thought it would make a lot of sense to build a great core games company specifically for tablets.
I thought about what game to build, and originally had this idea to build an online multiplayer tower defense PvP game. But i quickly realized that as a startup we didn't have enough money to spend a year or more doing R&D to figure out how to make TD fun. So instead, I made an observation that great games tend to be reinterpretations of existing great games but for new user interfaces.
Nintendo is a great example of this; they keep remaking Mario but with new controls. Similarly, Halo took FPS games and made them fantastic on consoles. I'm a lifelong online gamer, and it seemed natural from this perspective to reinterpret the MOBA genre from PC to tablets.
What games inspired you for this project?
Many games and other pieces of art have acted as inspiration for Fates Forever. Notably, DotA2, Bastion, and Diablo.
Have you found the tablet a difficult platform to expand the MOBA genre to?
It was tricky to identify a control scheme that worked really well. We went through 5 or 6 different configurations before settling on one that felt really great and intuitive. Also, modifying the game mechanics and hero design to work on a large touchscreen with shorter session times was not trivial. But overall, the original insight of bringing an RTS/Diablo-style game to tablets has turned out to be spot-on.
How many heroes do you plan on having at launch? How often do you plan on releasing new ones?
We're planning to have 10 at launch and to release a new one every 2-4 weeks.
Will there be items or talent trees?
Fates Forever will have a full item shop similar to League of Legends. We haven't quite settled on what the cross-game leveling mechanics will be yet. But we'll likely have some way to customize your summoner across matches. One thing we want to be careful with is creating an unbalanced playing field when you enter a match. One of the great things about MOBA games is that they are so heavily based on skill. So, too much "between game" upgrading can make a match unfair.
How long does the average match last?
We are targeting a match length of 15 minutes.
Will there be bots or AI to play against?
Yup! We are launching have a Bots Mode and a Tutorial mode in our next update (1.6). I can't say that our AI is awesome yet... but it'll get there ;-)
What sort of business model are you currently planning with Fates Forever?
Fates Forever will be free to play, similar to how League of Legends works. Each week we'll have a few Contestants available for free and then rotate the free ones the following week. If you'd like to continue playing with a Contestant that is no longer free, you'll be able to buy them to play forever. We'll also be selling visual skin customizations.
When can we expect Fates Forever to be released? Will there be a beta?
Currently Fates Forever is in private alpha in few "secret" countries. We're planning to release the game more broadly in a public beta style later this year on iPad. If you're interested in playing, sign up at www.fatesforever.com and we'll email you as soon as it's available!