Massively: With launch coming in June, what areas of the game are highest priority for the team over the next three months?
Hermann: Right now we're doing obviously a lot more testing, it's really the content development part of the game. Adding more ships, more weapons, maps, missions -- all that kind of stuff. So it's really finishing off the systems and balance work. So it's that kind of stuff as we open up the game to larger and larger groups of people in response to those tests.
Do you expect to get into a larger beta near launch, or has that yet to be determined.
We want a beta as large as we have to, but not larger than we need. I think a lot of games do that too much. I don't think they do enough work in the front before they go to beta and it creates all kinds of problems. You wanna solve all the problems you can, as soon as you can.
So beta is sort of like, "Okay we think everything is gonna work now, prove us wrong." We've been doing a lot of pseudo beta testing for quite some time, just while playing our cards much more closely to our chest than I think a lot of developers do. We certainly will expand the beta to more and more people as we get closer to launch.
So, you're not looking to use the beta purely as a, "Hey, come check out the game." kind of environment?
Well I mean part of it is that, right? You wanna do it more like: If you're gonna invite 15,000 or 20,000 people into the beta, that should be the test to your character creation system and to make sure that your game holds up when there's thousands of people all logging in at the same time. It's those kinds of last minute things, but a lot of those you can simulate. And then, also to see how the game behaves when a lot of people play it and then responding to any issues.
"We want a beta as large as we have to, but not larger than we need. I think a lot of games do that too much."
We've always wondered why MMOs don't launch with a free 10 or 7 day trial, so players who'd like to try the live game before buying can check it out. What are your thoughts on this?
I don't know the details of what we're going to do with that. Frankly that has a lot to do with how commercially successful the game is, right? You usually do that kind of stuff to get your retention numbers up.
Those are largely marketing and business decisions that kind of go above the development side. It's certainly a good tactic. If your customer base is leaning and you want to get fresh blood in, one way to do that is to let people try the game without giving you any money.
I think World of Warcraft went a long time before they started doing free trials. And I suspect that's because they had such a huge growth curve that they had more than they could handle, in terms of players entering the system. So they didn't really have any kind of incentive to try and get more people.
Your publisher, Codemasters, has a pretty strong presence on Steam, so is there any chance we'll see a day one digital release on that platform or any others?
I actually don't know the details of that. I suspect we'll distribute it as aggressively as we can, that would be my guess. But I don't know where we're going to appear right now.