PAX Cover of Gigantic: The MOBA brawler shoot em' up destined to change the scene
Hopefully, you have not been living under a rock and have heard of Motiga's new game Gigantic - a hybrid multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) that mixes elements of first person shooter and Guild Wars-style melee magic brawler.
Trying to define Gigantic is a mouthful. With elements from both Starcraft and Guild Wars, the end result is a game like nothing you have ever experienced. Many can relate Gigantic to SMITE with its League of Legends 5v5 battle format in the third person view. However, Gigantic offers dramatic and exhilarating playstyle that places itself on a different wavelength than upcoming games like Battleborn.
What is Gigantic?
Defining itself as a free-to-play shooter MOBA, Gigantic has players battle alongside a massive guardian in a fight to conquer a map. Choose from countless heroes with attributes like a heavy-metal juggernaut, stealthy acrobat, or fire-breathing sorcerer. Your goal is to fight against the enemy team, claim territory, and help your guardian defeat the enemy guardian.
Sounds easy? Well, not quite. Throughout the map, there are creatures that players must take over. Every creature that you claim for your team will fight on your side and offer power to your guardian, HP regeneration, and helps fend off the enemy team.
But what are key features that make Gigantic different from other MOBA spin offs?
One of the biggest aspects of Gigantic is that each team fights alongside a behemoth of a monster that rampages across the battlefield. This monster is the guardian. Killing the enemy team's guardian is the objective of the game. In order to hurt the enemy guardian, you have to power your own team's guardian to dominate the battlefield and knock down the enemy guardian, exposing its glowing vulnerable heart for 20 seconds. Killing enemy players and controlling creatures on the map help builds your team's guardian until it's powerful enough for a full frontal attack.
Throughout the map are creatures that can be summoned to assist your team- either by healing, defending, or attacking. As the creature fights for you, it constantly generates power for your guardian. When your guardian has enough power, it'll announce that it's going in for a full attack. Your team must collectively move with the guardian and take down the enemy.
Multiple Play Styles
Each character is designed with different gaming backgrounds in mind. Depending on whether your play style is shooter, action brawler, RPG mage, armor tank, stealthy assassin, or nimble archer, a hero can be customized to any player's play style. My particular preference in any MOBA or MMO is an AOE mage with an affinity for pyrotechnics. This is why I went with Charnok as my first choice in the demo.
Real-Time Ability Tree
As the battle progresses, heroes level up to choose stronger abilities. Adapting to each battle is critical for survival, as each hero has the opportunity to change play styles even further. Even as a mage, Charnok can become an 'in-your face' red mage nuke, unleashing close-proximity DPS, or he can be a ranged AOE/fire spitting monster from afar. It's all how you develop the hero. Each hero has an ability tree for each skill that evolves into many possibilities.
Naturally, I went with a hybrid approach for Charnok. Half close proximity nuke, half AOE DPS mage. Boy was that fun!
Gameplay is Surprisingly Easy
Lead designer James Phinney articulated how his vision for Gigantic revolved around making a game accessible, but with a lot of depth. Phinney ensures that games can be played in 8 -25 minutes. This amount of time gives players the chance to win games and not feel exhausted. Taking elements from iconic games like Team Fortress, Phinney strived to create an experience that promoted teamwork, stimulated drama, and optimized for epic battles.
One of my favorite games of all time is Team Fortress. The chance to do a class based shooter, but then also bring in a strong melee combat and spell casting was important. A lot of times when there is magic brought into a shooter, it doesnt really feel like you're casting spells, it feels like you're using guns that are skinned differently.
In order to understand the root to the epicness of Gigantic, and relive the 'fiero' felt by those who have played the demo, Phinney divulged the history behind the making of Gigantic, going back to his time working as the Lead Designer for Guild Wars 1 and Starcraft. The original framework of the two AI guardians on different sides of the map with the goal of tracking the other down is rooted in a prominent event that occurred in Guild Wars.
The idea that the guardians come out together is actually all directly patterned to Guild Wars 1 "Guild vs guild" combat. GvG had these two NPCs called guild lords that were often on their own guild halls fortress with an arrange of defense NPCs around. The original version of it featured this thing called VoD or "victory or death" and happened when the game stalled out and all the NPCs would yell ‘Victory or Death’ and would march to the middle of the map and get just within range of each other. Over time, damage bonus would start to tick up and it was like this game is going to end and it was gonna end in epic fashion.
Staying true to the high drama and fiero felt during VoD, the overall goal of trying to create a game that has progression, story, and high drama is what Gigantic offers with "Clash". Similar to "VoD", guardians race out to the center in a mighty brawl between both teams.
Gigantic in eSports?
eSports have become a sensational phenomenon. Any game from this point on seems to need some competitive elements to thrive in the gaming industry. We have begun to see major sports websites like ESPN broadcast Hearthstone on national television and discuss EVO on the news. As a new spin on MOBA, does Gigantic see itself in eSports? According to Phinney, maybe:
We always take on the philosophy we can't dictate that it will take off in that way, but certainly I'm doing everything from a design standpoint to make sure it’s good for that.
In truth, Motiga aspires to design a game that will not only be appealing, but ensures players will come back for another round. Not only because the matches are shorter, but because of a distinctive trait derived from Phinney's years working on Starcraft.
In Starcraft, the number of fronts you fight on, map control, economic pressure, and 'drop play' are significant parts of your ability to win a match. Breaking the norm of enforced lane progression, rigid leveling guides, and consistent item building creates a unique setting with every match, even if the same heroes are chosen. The complex disparity in objectives, progression, and heroes in Gigantic is what differs it from other MOBAs.
It's a Starcraft mentality, where its your job to defend your workers. So if someone is dropping into your mineral line, you need a perfect defense. The creatures are very much an extension of you, and I do think of them as bases or expansions. And there is even an economic progression where you can take the focus/resources you build up by fighting and spend it to upgrade creatures you have. You have this progression through the match as your bases get more powerful.
After having demoralized my opposing team as Charnok, I truly understood the magical game experience Motiga yearns to unveil.
Fortunately, you don't have to wait too long for this new ground-breaking hybrid: Gigantic releases this holiday season on Windows 10 and Xbox One. But, if you really can't wait, GameSkinny will be giving away 5 beta keys for Gigantic in the near future.
Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for future updates!