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Massively's interview with the new Fallen Earth lead developers

Rubi Bayer, @@rubi_

There have been some big changes in the wasteland lately: Fallen Earth has gotten some exciting new content, with even more on the way in the form of Blood Sports. The changes aren't just in game, though. While the departure of Lee Hammock left some sad faces behind, the current Fallen Earth team is more than enough to inspire confidence in the future of the game.

The majority of the player focus at the moment is on patches 1.4 and 1.5. The addition of both new PvE and PvP content -- along with changes to game mechanics -- is keeping everyone busy checking things out and wondering what's to come. With that in mind, Massively has some answers for you.

We recently spent some time talking with two of the new Fallen Earth leads -- Director of Content Development Wes Platt and Senior Game Designer Marie Croall -- about what's in store for the game. Follow along after the jump to see what they had to say.

Massively: First off, congrats to everyone for the promotions. Can you each briefly explain your new roles?

Wes Platt: Thanks! It's a great opportunity to help carry Fallen Earth forward into the next phase of its evolution. I oversee the content department, working closely with the Senior Game Designer (Marie Croall) and the Senior Systems Designer (Greg Roth) as their teams tweak and add to the Fallen Earth game experience.

Marie Croall: And as Senior Game Designer I keep an eye on the feel and flow of the game. I work with the content department as they create the world people play in and also collaborate with art, scripting, sound, and programming to make that world a fully realized and dynamic one to explore.

We've seen some great changes to the game since launch, but at the same time, we worry about too much changing from the original game. Are there any plans in the near future to make significant changes to key game mechanics, like combat, the economy, etc?

Wes: Adjustments to melee combat animations and new features such as the fantastic Blood Sports arenas are just some of the important changes that we've incorporated in the game since launch. We're never interested in change for the sake of changing things, but we must recognize when we have to give the game a nudge here or there for the sake of balance and fun.

Marie: We're not looking to change what we are, but at the same time we're always looking at ways to improve the game, it's just a matter of degrees. A good example of that is the effects revamp. It's made combat more accessible, but within the same basic system that was in place from the beginning.

Does the studio as a whole plan to continue its generosity with information on upcoming features, as Lee Hammock was so famous for doing?

Wes: We'll be as generous as we can. When we've got good information to share, we'll share it. When things are still too nebulous to talk about, we'll say so.

Marie: One thing I intend to stick with is our philosophy of not releasing information until it's ready, even worse than not giving information, is giving information that ends up being incorrect or misleading!

The upcoming respec is huge news for Fallen Earth players. Can you explain what will and won't be included in the respecs, and how they'll work exactly in regards to availability?

Wes: Players will receive an item in the mail that they can use to activate a one-time respec option. Once you've used the item, you'll have an interface button for resetting your stats and getting a refund of AP. You can then spend your AP again. Tradeskill knowledges are affected only inasmuch as they remain inaccessible until you boost your Intelligence and Perception back up to the necessary levels. Otherwise, the respec only affects stats and basic skills. It has no bearing on faction points, Death Toll, or other metrics in the game.

Are there any plans for more character customization options, such as dyes for clothing, tattoo shop NPCs, etc?

Marie: Nothing that's on the schedule at this time.

We heard word at PAX East that the new terrain tools will improve how the world of Fallen Earth is built. Will the art team be going back to "re-surface" existing topography, or will the new terrain be for new content only?

Marie: We've already been going back and making changes to existing terrain. The Gallows, formerly New Gallows, had its terrain revised using the new tools to create a more exciting place in which to kill people. As we move forward to work on new content we want to make sure we are also taking the time to improve the existing content as well.

Wes: We may not re-do the entire "early game" landscape in the near-term, but I anticipate changes here and there that will take advantage of this technology.

The reception to the Blight Wolf Mount video has been overwhelmingly positive. Can you tell us anything at all about the other mounts that have been hinted at coming out with the Blight Wolf?

Marie: We've got a Prairie Chicken mount in the works. It has the best mount animation I've ever seen.

Wes: The Prairie Chicken should be a lot of fun. The animators did a great job with it, and the sound design is amusing too. (Try jumping one of these in the air and listen to what happens when it lands!)

What is the final decision on Death Toll?

Marie: Death Toll has been reworked to act as a currency. The formula has been revised and players will be able to buy Death Toll gear with it at all levels.

Are two-handed weapons getting some love in the next patch?

Wes: We've been going through a balancing process for all weapons as our team has added new animations to one-handed melee and ranged weapons. You'll see the one-handed improvements in the upcoming Blood Sports patch, with two-handed tweaks coming after that.

Thanks to both Wes and Marie for their time!

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