Super Monday Night Combat dev explains premature distribution, future updates

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Super Monday Night Combat developer Uber Entertainment has been working long hours the past couple of weeks, ever since the premature distribution of its free-to-play MOBA. With a small break in the madness, we finally got Super MNC Executive Producer and Art Director Chandana "Eka" Ekanayake to answer a few of our questions about how the early launch happened, and what's next for the game.

"The reason for the early launch was because we messed up on beta invites to a large pool of original Monday Night Combat players. To test out our server infrastructure, we wanted to send out a massive invite wave to players of MNC on PC. Players received a notice saying that they were accepted into the beta but actually weren't," Eka told Joystiq over the weekend. "So, instead of making players of our first game happy, we managed to deliver something that wasn't there and made them feel like they were lead on. We tried fixing it, but it just lead to more confusion, so working with Valve we decided to set the game open. It wasn't an accidental leak by any means but it was a result of us trying to make things right with our player base."

Eka didn't share raw numbers on how many players have signed up for Super MNC since launch, but says the studio is "happy" with the turnout, especially since they didn't have any lead time to market the game. He feels many folks don't realize the game is out ... or that it's free. Asked if any of the marketing plans for the game were disrupted by the early launch, he matter-of-factly stated, "Yes, all of them."
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Although skill-based matchmaking made it into Super MNC a few weeks before launch, one of the significant features that Uber didn't get in yet was the game's "Training Camp," which allows players to test out any of game's 15 Pros (characters).

"In the Training Camp, there are basic AI controlled Pros, all kinds of bots, various mini-bosses like Chickey Cantor, Mascot and areas for fighting against Jackbots. It's a giant sandbox with interactive in-level help and information about the game. Initially it will be five players on the same team on a map at a time, but we will extend that over time."

Uber is also working on Steam Trading integration, allowing player items and end game drops to be exchanged across Super MNC, Monday Night Combat and Team Fortress 2.

"We're testing trading internally and will go live in stages over the next several weeks. There's ongoing balance changes and UI polish that is happening with each patch as well as adding more content like new maps and new Pros which are both in development. Overall we're in a much better state compared to where we were two weeks ago."

So, when everything was going sideways with the Super MNC beta invites, why didn't Uber just turn it all off instead of going live?

"We believe in the game as a service model and that's the way we've operated over the last 35 weekly releases since we started our closed Beta in September of last year. We talked about calling this going live an 'Open Beta" but what does that actually mean anymore for our type of game when its constantly updated? It's an ongoing evolution and the game will be something very different two, three or even six months from now."

That said, Eka reiterated that the game is part of the MOBA genre, along the lines of DOTA and League of Legends more than it is like the "deathmatchy" original, Monday Night Combat.

"The game has changed significantly in balance and polish since the earlier Beta days and I would suggest anyone that hasn't tried it in a while or hasn't tried it at all to check it out." Eka concluded, "Your price of admission is free."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.