the skies

The Skies Developer Interview

Earlier this month, post-apocalyptic MMORPG The Skies launched on Steam. The game features an non-linear story line with heavy emphasis on crafting and PvP. We recently had the opportunity to discuss the game’s launch and future direction with developer Eforb.

the skies

How do you plan to set yourself apart from other post-apocalyptic games like Fallen Earth and sZone Online?

Eforb: These are great games, and they have their own direction and the setting. Now when we’ve been interacting with so many players, streamers and influencers during the closed testing we’ve realized that more often people compare us to Fallout but online. However, our main concern is not the problem of avoiding design patterns, but rather unfolding the story of our own MMO play-world, with its own unique role, economic and social systems.

Most of the games about war could just as well be considered another Call of Duty clones. We do not focus on craft and survival, but on plot dynamics and placing single-player elements into a multiplayer game. But, of course, as a single player within the game you can build a house or a business, and do practically anything, even rob a caravan.

Will the game be more of a sandbox or can we expect scripted content, such as raids?

Eforb: Already now the game is pretty much like a sandbox. Players can choose their own role, develop their character using all the skills and parameters tools, upgrade them during their progress and actions in the game and thus be really unique. People are free to choose who they want to be, where to go, who they want to talk with or help, which group or clan to join and how to behave with others.

We do have mobs and bots that help to make the world even more alive and have fun even just from interacting with the world, but we’re going to make less of mobs with the time expecting more of action thanks to real players and the variety of their roles. Besides, of course, even technically, it is better to reveal space for real players – so this should be something we’ll be working on while we grow.

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Will you be implementing player housing or property?

Eforb: Yes, we plan to implement player property on certain locations and business, as well as allow building clan bases.

What kind of payment plans can players expect? Will the game be free to play?

Eforb: The game is free-to-play and will stay free-to-play. It will offer various in-app opportunities as well as Premium Account that players can subscribe to.

How big is the world map?

Eforb: The entire map is more than 200 square kilometers. Currently 16 square kilometers are available. And we’ll be adding more of locations and content with the future updates.

What kind of crafting system can we expect to see? Is there anything unique about it?

Eforb: All the items can be produced by the players during the craft process itself and also in the factories and workshops that are part of economic system. However, they still need to be employed in order to provide the production process and economic flow.

Weapons have up to 5 slots for improvement and each type of weapon has its own improvements. Players can modify their weapons by themselves or in workshops. These improvements add new modes of fire and pointing, they also extend the range of weapon’s functions, such as damage, reloading, accuracy and so on.

Both armor and weapons are produced from the standard materials, but to produce unique items you’ll need additional materials, which you’ll have to find. We don’t want to apply the sandbox principle in production like in similar games of the genre. We strive to make this scheme more user-friendly and also engage offline users in production system – so that a player can go to bed and be sure that in the morning his character will earn money at the factory and new weapon or resources will appear at the market.

The Skies

How much of the game will rely on grouping? Will it be safe to explore the wasteland alone?

Eforb: We’ve had closed testing with many players as was mentioned previously and they’ve provided their opinion that puzzled us a little bit. For some people our world (already populated with players) seemed to be pretty calm and friendly since we do have safe places, it’s not PvP everywhere. Our idea was to allow single players to enjoy the game too and find their role in this world.

However, some people found the world pretty dangerous to explore on your own. We’ll see what players enjoy the most when more people play the game and we gather the analytics. But the original focus of our team was on social players.

In a market already flooded with post-apocalyptic games, including MMO’s, what inspired you to create The Skies? What does it bring to the table?

Eforb: When we just started creating the game, almost 2 years ago, the topic of apocalypse wasn’t that popular. There was kind of break after the old well-known hits like S.T.A.L.K.E.R and Fallout. It was exciting to see how this genre gains popularity again – in everything: gaming, movies production and TV, etc.

The author of the game and lead game designer has been always fond of post-apocalypse. The story itself has started long ago, when he wrote a novel “The Skies” for a contest. It won. And later on he has also been thinking how great it would be to create a game world based on this novel. But we’ve always been following our own vision, our own setting and atmosphere which we call desert post-apocalyptic romance. The game itself also differs from the other games’ mechanics.

Will The Skies feature drivable vehicles?

Eforb: Yes, we’ll add motorcycles and cars already in one of the nearest new patches. And crafting for them will also be possible.

The Skies

What kind of wildlife will the game have? What sort of monsters will we be facing?

Eforb: We plan to add more of monsters with various models of behavior: enemies in armor that can protect themselves at certain distance, wild boars, attacking when the character is running, monsters attacking from a distance for dungeons. We’ll also have various bosses and infected crowds of inhabitants.

It seems like it’s meant to be a unique experience, so how will The Skies separate itself from other MMO’s?

Eforb: “The Skies” is a FPS MMO with really well-thought-out extended role-playing system and economy that depends on players. This makes it unique comparing it to most MMOs. We’ve tried to provide as many opportunities for our players to immerse into real virtual world as possible, including the opportunity to find their place in this world and lead their unique life.

Would this game be considered an action MMO as opposed to the typical style?

Yes, the game is an action MMO, since the dangerous post-apocalyptic world doesn’t allow you to relax and keeps the intensity (even if you’re not in PvP zone or not in clan war you should be aware of the scarabs, monsters, bandits, dogs that might attack), however, we’ve tried to create comfortable conditions for all, and by the recent feedback from community have already added a PvE zone that makes many people feel more comfortable if they want to do somethingother than fighting or at least to have smoother introduction into this dangerous world if they’re newcomers.

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About Rissa Trent

Rissa grew up on a farm, playing shareware games like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Operation Comat, Solar Winds, and Kingdom of Kroz. Later she would dabble in Real Time Strategy games, and eventually left home to go on a cross country adventure of self discovery where she found out absolutely nothing. Today she works as a copywriter and games journalist.