Minecraft Legends, the upcoming game from Mojang Studios and Blackbird Interactive, is “not your typical strategy game,” according to Principal Design Director Craig Leigh. Leigh popped up on the Xbox podcast last week and delved into several possibilities, like the new title (out on the 18th new twist on the genre. “We get that all the time,” he explained, “people are like, ‘This isn’t the game , which I thought it was, it’s an action game!’ and that’s what I love about it.”
Mixing genres means coming up with new ideas for how you want it to work, not least in Minecraft Legends‘ 4v4 PvP mode introduced during last month’s Developer_Direct. The developers have come up with several ways to do this, and Leigh detailed some of the ways PvP has been innovated in this new twist on the formula.
Nothing you would necessarily associate with strategy games, Minecraft Legends introduces a fast travel system that helps players balance the various activities they must perform in order to defeat their enemies. While base building is an important part of the picture, players must also venture out, explore, gather resources, and attack enemies in order to win a round – and that means providing them with an easy route home to their base protection.
“So if you’re out in the world and far from your base and you hear that you’re being attacked, you can fast travel,” Leigh explained. “So you can open the map, click on your base and say ‘whoosh’, be back home real quick because we didn’t want players running, panicking, ‘Oh I can’t get home in time’. ”
Fast travel isn’t just for player characters. “If you’re also at home and you’re under attack, you can go to a spawn and recall units, units that are out in the world and maybe not doing anything, you can quickly recall them to your base,” Leigh added. “You don’t run around looking for them, ‘Where are those Cobblestone Golems?’, you can just pull them back to help you defend.”
It is clear that Minecraft Legends will keep players busy during rounds, but the NPCs are also quite busy – and may even offer players new ways to destroy their opponents’ bases:
“What I think will surprise people the most is the game’s PvP, but there’s also a little bit of PvE,” Leigh revealed. “The Piglins [the enemies in the game’s story-led campaign] also play in PvP, and the Piglins do what the Piglins want. So the Piglins attack both teams and there is a day/night cycle during battles, but the Piglins attack more violently at night – so adjust your strategy when the Piglins attack at night and wait for them to breach the walls sneak down and in? So you’re not just dealing with the other team, you’re also dealing with the Piglins.”
The ping system
With a shared pool of resources, multiple activities to complete, and attacks on multiple fronts, communication is key Minecraft Legends“PvP. Luckily, the team has a nice solution for this that goes beyond what was expected:
“We also have a ping system,” Leigh said. “It’s really important to work together because you share resources, so with the ping system you can say, ‘I want to build a redstone launcher,’ and the team says, ‘Okay, let’s save our redstone. Or you could say, “I want charcoal!” and people say, “Okay, let’s save our charcoal.” You can use voice chat and it’s great, but we also wanted to make sure there’s a system in place for people to give the basic commands because you’re sharing resources.”
Seasoned strategy players will be used to multiplayer matches that can take a long time to fight through deadlocks to claim a hard-fought victory. Minecraft Legends aims to provide the same experience but in a more manageable timeframe by allowing players to constantly launch new games, with procedurally generated maps offering new experiences every time they play.
“We’ve worked really hard so the games last between 20 and 30 minutes,” explained Leigh. “It depends on the strategy; If teams have a crazy strategy, they might win earlier if they surprise the team, or if both teams decide “we’re going to build bastions with stone walls and massive towers,” then the games can last a little longer.
“But we’ve been working really hard to balance the games that way because we don’t want it to be a 14-day blue team siege and that’s why our longer games have been around 30 minutes. It’s an old fashioned thing to think about, but we wanted players to be able to get two games in a lunch break, be able to play a few games while playing on their lunch break. ”
Strategy games have traditionally been the dominance of the PC, however Minecraft Legends appears simultaneously on all major gaming platforms. In doing so, the team has worked to ensure that not only can you play with anyone on any platform, but that no one is disadvantaged by playing on any particular machine.
“We thought it was really important, no matter what platform you’re playing on, that you can play together, we want as many players as possible to play together,” Leigh pointed out.
“It doesn’t matter where you play, on release day you can play PvP on any of those platforms, and it plays perfectly on each platform. The way we designed it, there’s no advantage to being on a keyboard and mouse over a controller, it’s not a first-person shooter or anything, so it’s designed that way, so it’s perfect for cross-platform play. We thought that was really important, so we designed it that way.”
And with a massive pool of players across every platform and continent playing together, it just means there will be more twists and turns in PvP that even the developers don’t see coming.
“I’m particularly excited about the crazy strategies people come up with in PvP,” concluded Leigh. “Because we think we’ve done everything and then someone comes along and just does something crazy that we didn’t think of. All of us on the team joke that we’re going to be good at PvP for about an hour, and then the whole community is just going to crush us because they’re going to come up with new strategies.”
Minecraft Legends launches April 18 on Windows PC (day one with PC Game Pass), Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One (day one with Xbox Game Pass), Xbox Cloud Gaming, PlayStation, Steam, and Nintendo Switch.
Minecraft Legends – Windows
Xbox Game Studios
The Piglins’ nether corruption spreads across the overworld, searing everything it touches. Are you the hero who will protect this gentle land? Plan your strategy and face the Piglins in epic battles – but be warned: they always fight back. Take on Piglin bases during the day and defend your allies after dark. Explore lush biomes full of treasure and danger, meet new friends and regroup with familiar mobs. With the Allays by your side, all you have to do is save the world. Experience an epic legend from the Minecraft universe and overworld like you’ve never seen it before. Form alliances with new friends and familiar mobs, then lead the charge in epic battles against the savage Piglins to defend the overworld. Traverse a lush, dynamic world that is rich in resources and different in each playthrough. Challenge your friends or join forces in intense battles while defending your village and leading your units to destroy your opponents’ settlements
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