Interview with Hi-Rez Drybear (Lead Designer of Paladins)

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Jun
05

We didn’t notice that 8 months have already passed since our last interview with Hi-Rez Drybear, lead designer of paladins. Last time we talked about card rarities, new game modes and a whole lot other cool things. Let’s dive right into the interview.
 
How do you feel about the current development state of Paladins?
We’ve certainly gone through a lot of iteration on Paladins trying to find its core gameplay identity. It’s been a lot of fun testing out various systems, and at this stage we feel we’ve honed in on the core elements that work best for Paladins overall. We are now starting to shift gears to focus on some of the core issues that have been introduced along the way.
 
What is by far your most favorite part of Paladins?
Creating the universe. It’s been hard to focus on this during the initial Closed Beta development being gameplay-centric, but I’m excited to share the world and lore of Paladins with the community!
 
At the moment, which feature do you focus on the most?
Right now our biggest focus has become improving the feeling of moving and shooting with all of our characters. Our main priority over the last year has been getting the core gameplay right, but that meant not giving the characters the attention they deserve to feel amazing. We plan to go back and polish the weapons and abilities of all the current characters.
 
What are some realistic goals for Paladins in the future you worked out in the team (e.g. for the year 2016)?
We have a pretty big list for the year of 2016, and have begun staffing up in order to meet our biggest expectations. By the end of the year, we hope to have the game in Open Beta, have it in testing on console, have over 22 champions, adjust the layouts of our current maps to support all kinds of playstyles, release new maps on a regular cadence, and add in practice maps and a shooting range for players to warm up in. It’s shaping up to be a great year for Paladins!
 
You recently released a beta option for the new spectator mode to support upcoming eSports event such as the PaladinsWorld Qualifiers. What role do you think will eSports take in the overall Paladins community?
As with all our games, our main focus is gameplay and ensuring that every player that logs in has fun. We have learned a great deal about what makes an esport title from our work on SMITE, but believe that true competition comes from the community. We started the Founder’s Tournament and its qualifiers after players had an shown appetite to improve and compete, and we will continue to support that appetite as it grows.
 
A few weeks ago, the dev team of Paladins reworked the Siege mode which partly boost the competitive aspects of Paladins. Do you think Paladins will be a more “casual” or competitive-leaded game?
There’s definitely room for both. Our goal is to support both casual and competitive appetites, ensuring Paladins can be a great game to kick back and have some fun in but has all the right outlets should you have the desire to prove how skilled you are. That said, the competitive community is a strong pillar that we study when it comes to the overall balance of the game, and will be a crucial piece as we shape the game state moving forward.
 
Any updates about upcoming maps?
We are experimenting with a lot of different options. We aren’t happy with how each Payload push in a Siege match ends in the same layout, and are testing out ways to make each Payload push feel different. We are also evaluating the game spaces and how they interact with each of our champions. For example, to better support flying champions we are working on adding more platforms to stand on and working on improving world collision around walls, roofs, and doorways.
 
If you have to give one Paladins champion a gender-swap skin, who would it be (and which theme?)
Barik. I’d go for a nice tank girl engineer!
 
Worst pizza topping ever?
Pineapples. Yuck!