Rocket Arena – Exclusive Interview with Gregg Metzler

We are happy to bring you an exclusive interview with Lead UX Designer for Rocket Arena, Gregg Metzler.

Disclaimer – This interview was done and recorded on June 12

Leonid Melikhov: Welcome to Gaming Instincts TV, today we are going to be talking about Rocket Arena with…

Gregg Metzler: My name is Gregg Metzler, I am the UI/UX Design Lead for Rocket Arena.

Leonid Melikhov:  Awesome, what would you like to tell us about Rocket Arena, what is it?

Gregg Metzler: Rocket Arena is a 3v3 first-person shooter where everyone has rocket launchers, but no one dies. So what does that mean?

Leonid Melikhov: Smash Brothers.

Gregg Metzler: That means that it’s a first-person shooter Smash Bros. It’s like one of the coolest combos.

Leonid Melikhov: That looks pretty dope, Smash Brothers is pretty popular these days.

Gregg Metzler: Yeah the more you hit someone and each character’s got a different type of rocket that does impulse damage. So we’ve got like a water princess named Amphora who shoots torpedo rockets and every time you hit somebody, it impulses and it blasts them and the more you get blasted, the further you fly.

Leonid Melikhov: Until you get out of the arena.

Gregg Metzler: Until you can knock them out and everything is just pushing and pulling and we have a whole bunch of different gamemodes that are based around that feature.

Leonid Melikhov: What made you want to do a multiplayer game?

Gregg Metzler: Our founders are ex Halo 4 and Halo 5 developers. The biggest thing they said was, “Whenever we go to conventions and we meet people and show Halo in front of our friends and family, they go, ‘man I just love your game but I always get killed and I get smoked in it,'” so then they said, “let’s make a game where everyone is always in the action, they can just drop in and it’s easy to play but difficult to master.” So that’s where Rocket Arena came from.

Leonid Melikhov: So it’s casual to get in but to be pro, it takes skill.

Gregg Metzler: Yes, and our company’s slogan for Final Strike games is, “We make multiplayer.” That’s our whole thing is we just want to make multiplayer games that are super fun for people to come together and play.

Leonid Melikhov: That’s awesome, so how many gamemodes does the game have?

Gregg Metzler: Rocket Arena has four modes, three of the are pvp and one of them is a pve mode where it’s like a horde mode against Rocket Bots so you can work with up to two other friends and battle these bots coming at you.

Leonid Melikhov: Can you tell us about each mode for the pvp and how they all work?

Gregg Metzler: Yes I can. The first one we did today was Knockout which is where each person has three badges and you want to take out the other team’s badges but if you lose your badges, you’re still in the action so you want to then at that point protect your teammate or you want to go aggro and try to take out their last player who has badges.

Leonid Melikhov: Right so basically if you’re out of badges, you would be useless for the other team to kill because they can’t get badges from you.

Gregg Metzler: Right so now you can pester them!

Leonid Melikhov: That’s actually cool because that’s like, “oh man this guy’s annoying but he doesn’t have any badges.”

Gregg Metzler: You’ll be like, “Oh no! I have to fight him off but I need to stay focused on the player that has badges.”

Leonid Melikhov: That’s an interesting twist. It definitely adds a new dynamic.

Gregg Metzler: Yeah because otherwise normally, you would be stuck spectating or you would have to re-matchmake.

Leonid Melikhov: Yeah so you can actually be useful after being taken out?

Gregg Metzler: You can totally be of help and we’ve had matches where someone had one badge left and made a comeback by defending that one person who now has just become the best asset you got.

Leonid Melikhov: So basically what you’re saying is that you’re trying to avoid the snowball effect. A lot of games have this and once you get the ball rolling, you roll as a 5-man deathball and it’s over. Overwatch has a lot of that too. The team loses morale and that’s it. Here you have the morale all the time.

Gregg Metzler: On top of that it’s not like you’re stuck in that snowball effect for thirty minutes or however long it is where everyone is just trying to say GG’s. Like we already know we’re getting rolled. So in this the match is around 5 minutes, it’s very quick even if your team is getting rolled. It just means that we’re gonna come back and get them next time.

Leonid Melikhov: So that’s knockout.

Gregg Metzler: The next mode we did is Mega Rocket and that one is a capture zone mode so somewhere in the level, it always changes. The Mega Rocket is going to land and it just splashes down on this spot.

Leonid Melikhov: Right so you don’t want to be there when it lands.

Gregg Metzler: Yeah, you’ll get pushed away when it eventually lands.

Leonid Melikhov: Off of the map?

Gregg Metzler: No, you’ll just get an impulse. If you were like had a whole bunch of megablasts on you, then yeah you can get knocked out by that thing.

Leonid Melikhov: Megablast is the damage meter right?

Gregg Metzler: The more you hit someone, the more the blast goes up and when they get in that red zone, they’re just gonna get blasted out right there. So you wanna capture the points 5 captures wins the mode or whichever team has the most captures in 5 minutes.

Leonid Melikhov: And the third mode?

Gregg Metzler: The last mode is rocket ball where its like a combo of football and soccer where a ball is on the map, you can touch it to pick it up, you can run it in the other team’s goal to score, you can throw it in the other team’s goal to score, you can pass to teammates, you can do cool trickshots like throw it up into the air, pass it to a teammate and shoot it. If someone’s throwing it at your goal you can play goalie and impulse it and defend your goal.

Leonid Melikhov: So there’s a bunch of different mechanics that come into play because of all of the different characters?

Gregg Metzler: Yeah it plays into the characters’ abilities and features.

Leonid Melikhov: So speaking of characters, can you tell us which ones are your favorites, what do they do, how do they differ from one-another, are they based on classes?

Gregg Metzler: Ours is a character-based shooter.

Leonid Melikhov: Just characters?

Gregg Metzler: Yeah, it’s not classes, they’re more like fighting characters where each one of them as a moveset and different abilities so you’re always picking a character based off on what your fighting style is.

Leonid Melikhov: Ok for example in this case I was playing as Blastbeard, so tell us about him.

Gregg Metzler: Blastbeard is pretty cool, he’s a big pirate and he as a big character is an easy target, but then he can also take more hits. He’s also great for zone control so when you go into Mega Rocket, you can just land in the middle of a group of people and he has an AOE where he just punches his fists together and it just blasts everyone around you right out.

Leonid Melikhov: That’s what I was doing and then teammates around me would take over the point. I’m gonna tell you right now. OP. Nerf or nothing man.

Gregg Metzler: *Laughs*

Leonid Melikhov: Yeah I played him all of three matches. I wanted to try the other characters but I was having too much fun. I really liked Blastbeard and I like pirates. I’m a huge fan of Sea of Thieves on Xbox. So I’m just gonna keep my piracy and troll people too. It’s a game by trolls for troll. Is this game made by trolls for trolls?

Gregg Metzler: It is not. We’re not trolls.

Leonid Melikhov: You’re not trolls? You guys don’t troll each-other in the office when you play the game?

Gregg Metzler: We do, they totally troll. We have some trolls, it is true.

Leonid Melikhov: What about other characters do the staff like?

Gregg Metzler: My favorites are Amphora, the water lady and Flux. Flux is just announced today, she is the cat lady in a sense.

Leonid Melikhov: I saw her going at me and that was a bad sign.

Gregg Metzler: She likes rocket science so she can spawn and it’s like rock-cat science. *Laughs* Sweet puns.

Leonid Melikhov: Yeah lots of puns.

Gregg Metzler: So she can make a black hole cat and guide it and if you shoot it or others shoot it, it just feeds the black hole cat and it just gets bigger and bigger and the bigger it gets the more damage it does.

Leonid Melikhov: Complete troll.

Gregg Metzler: It’s awesome and it’s fun and Amphora is cool because she’s got a nice kit. I really like her kit.

Leonid Melikhov: How many characters are you guys launching with?

Gregg Metzler: Currently we’ve announced that we have 8.

Leonid Melikhov: You don’t have an idea for launch?

Gregg Metzler: It’s to be announced, so we’ll announce stuff as we go forward.

Leonid Melikhov: Of course, a lot of pvp games or competitive games. They’re usually games as a service right? Games like Overwatch. The constant updates are either basically pay a subscription, some games like in WOW you pay 15 dollars a month and there’s patches every three to four months for the multiplayer. Overwatch, you buy it once and everything else becomes available for free as it comes out. Some games do more season passes based on Destiny 2. So for this obviously you’re not gonna be having only having whatever launch of heroes forever because it will get stale pretty quickly. The community will absorb that stuff super fast. You’re gonna see those pros quick, and people are gonna want new maps, next hero, new abilities. Do you guys have a roadmap, are you gonna release any information on that? When a game gets close to launch, you need to show what you’ll be providing for the next three months. That’s usually how these things go, so how are you guys gonna do it with this game in particular?

Gregg Metzler: We’ll we’re fee-to-play. So when it comes out, anybody can play the characters and all of the purchases are cosmetic. You can customize the megablast trails or return trails so whenever you hit somebody and they fly out, everyone can see that custom way that you knocked them out.

Leonid Melikhov: Custom skins of course?

Gregg Metzler: Yep, custom outfits and stuff like that.

Leonid Melikhov: Custom gun skins or is that something that will be changed like in Overwatch?

Gregg Metzler: The guns are the character, you’re not gonna be picking up weapons off the ground or anything.

Leonid Melikhov: I mean like skins for guns in general, in Overwatch there are custom skins for characters and custom skins separately for guns like their golden guns. Will you guys have golden version of weapons?

Gregg Metzler: Oh yeah we will. It’s not just the weapon though, the gun will be tied to the character, if it’s a golden gun it’s gonna be tied to a golden character. The weapon that’s there on screen is gonna change with the skin so all of it is gonna update when you get a different outfit.

Leonid Melikhov: Do you have to purchase the skins or can you earn that in the game with credits as you play the matches.

Gregg Metzler: Oh yeah, you can totally unlock that stuff through progression we have a whole progression planned out.

Leonid Melikhov: Are you thinking of battle passes or seasonal content like Fortnite or Apex Legends?

Gregg Metzler: It’s to be determined.

Leonid Melikhov: Cool, what is your favorite thing about this game?

Gregg Metzler: I love that I can just tell all of my friends and family about what I’m working on. What I mean by that is it’s not gory, not bloody, it’s approachable and I can tell my grandma and be like, “look at what I’m working on.” It just has that joy and fun a Nintendo product like I was inspired by when I wanted to get into games. That is the coolest thing for me.

Leonid Melikhov: Did you guys play around with different artstyles or do you already know what you wanted as far as the artstyle goes.

Gregg Metzler: Right off the bat, we wanted to be approachable, Disney, just cool looking.

Leonid Melikhov: Right,  Sea of Thieves is very colorful, kind of like a Saturday Morning cartoon maybe.

Gregg Metzler: Totally, like can we do shows with this? It’s the kind of thing where you’re inspired by just do stuff that we’re inspired by.

Leonid Melikhov: Kids will like it too, if kids just wanna mess around like Fortnite is a very approachable game. What would you like to say to people who are looking forward to playing this game or people that are looking for a new pvp game.

Gregg Metzler: I think that this is a totally unique experience and it’s not what you’re going to expect. It’s not a typical shooter game. It brings something new to the table and it’s a quick, fast-paced fun game. You can just drop-in and have fun with friends.

Leonid Melikhov: Would you classify this as an arena shooter?

Gregg Metzler: It would be especially since the maps are so small. The action is definitely contained in a much smaller gameplay space.

Leonid Melikhov: So how many maps do you have, where are you coming out for, and release date please if possible.

Gregg Metzler: For release date we’re coming out 2019, we have 6 maps at the moment but more will be announced as we go and we have 8 characters.

Leonid Melikhov: Which platforms?

Gregg Metzler: We’re gonna bePC for the Steam and Nexon launcher and then consoles will be coming with crossplay later.

Leonid Melikhov: Well thank you so much sir.

Gregg Metzler: That was fun, I enjoyed knocking some people out with you.

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