Shooters can be some of the most common types of games these days. Shooter can also be some of the most popular releases we see each year. For the developers at Boss Key Productions, their new game LawBreakers is hoping to establish itself as a can’t miss shooter.
This new experience has been in development for the past few years. With so much testing in the alpha and beta phases having occurred, Boss Key seems to have a firm hand on LawBreakers. The shooter is setting up to be one of the most surprising games of the fall, and has the potential to capture a massive audience.
LawBreakers contains some of the most interesting and unique modes I’ve seen in a while. All of these create powerful moments, particularly toward the end of a game, and these are what will draw people in. Dan Nanni, who is a lead designer at Boss Key Productions, talked to We Write Things about the inspiration behind LawBreakers‘ unique modes.
“It’s always important that we start out with a base intuitive layer. We want to create something that you can say, ‘I get it and it’s easy for me to jump into.’ Once you start playing you realize there’s something different in its own unique way. For us we wanted to make sure we started our modes with something that’s familiar and then twist it up and put our own little flavor on it.
“Otherwise, we’re just making the same stuff we’ve all made before. It’s not only just boring, but at the same time, even though players say ‘I want that same exact mode,’ when you give them that they say ‘Well I wish you would’ve given me something different.’ Well, now we’re going to do that,” Nanni said.
Overcharge is a wonderful mode that asks teams to confiscate a battery and then bring it back to their base for charging. Once it reaches 100 percent, a team is rewarded with a point. The first team to get to two points wins the match. This mode creates some absolutely thrilling moments, and it’ll be fun to see what comes out of it after launch.
Classes are always a very intriguing topic when it comes to a new shooter. Many developers want to put their own stamp on the class system, and Boss Key is doing just that. Nanni described about how some of LawBreakers‘ classes came about.
“Definitely organically. In the beginning, we experimented with lots of different weapons and abilities. Then we started putting our weapons and abilities together to form our early roles because it started to [synch] really well. Later on, there were some roles that we knew we wanted to make and it was a juggernaut. We wanted a heavy defender. We knew we wanted that role so we specifically went out and made that role.
“Then we tried Medics for so long and couldn’t find something special with a medic. We put it on the sidelines until we had a better understanding of what our game was. After we knew how our game was going to turn out, then we came back to Medic and massaged it to find out how it fit within our game,” Nanni said.
Some classes are a blend of several conventional classes you might expect to find in a shooter. Coming up with classes we’ve seen in other shooters wasn’t something Boss Key wanted, so they blended a few. Nanni spoke about how the Gunslinger class came about.
“Gunslinger is a direct result of saying we don’t want a sniper but we do want precision-oriented gameplay. What can we do to get that precision gameplay and not be a sniper so we’re slowing everybody down? It actually used to be a melee class in the beginning. Somehow it turned into a long-range, precision specialist.
“A lot of [finding new classes] is playing the game and figuring out which niche we’re missing. But at the same time, letting it evolve into what it becomes as long as it doesn’t step on the toes of something that exists, then we’re happy with it,” Nanni said.
Games tend to have very long life-cycles far beyond the old launch and done method of doing things. Most games live for months and years after launch and LawBreakers will be no different. Nanni talked about what gamers can expect from Boss Key post-launch.
“In the beginning, I think its going to be patch heavy. Its just the way that games are. When it launches we’re going to find balance problems we had no idea existed before. Every couple of weeks, at least, we’re going to be able to patch this game up and get it to a point to where we feel stability isn’t a problem.
“We’re going to solve any stability issues before we drop any big pieces of content. What we don’t want to do is launch the game and suddenly introduce a massive, new system two weeks after we’ve launched before we patched the game up and had a chance to run it in a stable, balanced way. We’ll wait for it to be stable and then we’ll drop some new content in there,” Nanni said.
You might be thinking the new content will arrive shortly after LawBreakers launches. Well, it likely won’t happen that way, as patches seem to be high on the team’s priority list. Surely new content will arrive in the months after launch, but don’t expect new maps or classes anytime near the game’s Aug. 8 launch date.
“The content isn’t anything revolutionary because the content is brand-new. We won’t drop anything that’s massively different, but we want to support systems that we didn’t get a chance to release with. We want to make some systems that exist better, increase the usability of those systems, pick some bugs we never were able to fix and listen to our players.
“As the game progress, yeah we’ll release maps, modes, expect new roles and more new game features. As long the people are buying the game and playing it, we want this to live for a very long time,” Nanni said.
LawBreakers is doing something very different with their game. As a shooter, it certainly has a right to have a season pass for upcoming DLC packs. While many publishers would likely go this route, publisher Nexon and Boss Key decided not to implement a season pass. Nanni described some of the elements that went into not implementing a season pass.
“I think it means Nexon is really looking to make an entrance in North America. For different regions, maybe there is a different way for tackling the game but economies too. As far as the studio goes, this is our bread and butter. We’ve been doing this for so long that most of us deal with games from a premium perspective where you buy the game once. Where its different is we’re all gamers. We worked with big companies and small companies before, and at least for me, I don’t want to define my user base.
“I don’t want to split them up. I want my players playing together. We understand from a fiscal perspective you gotta make money. We’re an independent company and we can be the masters of our own destiny, which means we don’t want to fracture our user base. We think there’s more value in keeping our players together forever. We’ll find others ways to add value into our game that help us grow financially. In the end, $30 gets you in for good,” Nanni said.
That is a stellar price for a shooter that seems like it’ll rival any other out there. With a number of modes, classes, maps and an engaged community, $30 feels like a steal for what you’re getting. In case you still need an elevator pitch on LawBreakers, Nanni provided us with some parting words.
“If you like feeling that adrenaline rush, that experience of watching sports until the very end and seeing that touchdown at the last second while having the skill to execute it, I think that’s what LawBreakers delivers. It’s not just another shooter. This is a fast, frantic [and] vertical symphony. It’s all these roles playing together in unique ways vertically and on the ground, but gravity is a real centerpiece of our game.
“In the end, [LawBreakers] is super rewarding. When you pull off these combinations, it’s an amazing experience I think is unique to our game. I haven’t experienced that level of passion and desire from a video game recently, like I have with LawBreakers,” Nanni said.
Boss Key Productions and Nexon will release LawBreakers this coming Aug. 8. The game will land on PS4 and PC at launch, though I expect an Xbox One version sometime after. Stick around here at We Write Things for more on LawBreakers.