Vogster Entertainment

Q&A the facts behind the successful launch for BLEEDOUT expansion for Crimecraft….

Vogster Entertainment has today released Q&A by Vogster’s VP Daniel Prousline, talking about his title Crimecraft: BLEEDOUT. The answers focus on the titles original launch, casual or hardcore audience, MMO and 360 or PS3.

CrimeCraft: BLEEDOUT is a fast-paced third-person shooter set in the persistent world of Sunrise City, a gang-infested near-future metropolis reeling from the total collapse of the entire world economy. In this first major content expansion to the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Shooter CRIMECRAFT, players will experience The New Age of Ruin through 10 consecutive weekly episodes featuring story content from a lineup of comic book industry superstars. Conspiracies will blossom and explode in an epic campaign that examines the cause of the global collapse, and the nightmarish consequences that loom on the dark horizon.

Join thousands of players online as you learn the rules of the street and the secrets to criminal success and survival. Hustle and kill to build a Reputation while unfolding the mysteries behind the devastating Bleedout event. Customize unique weapons and performance enhancing drugs for personal use or profit. Form a gang with your friends or ally with trustworthy strangers to dominate the city. Become the anti-hero at the top of everyone's hit list.

How much has changed since Crimecraft came out a year ago?

There have been dramatic changes throughout. We made numerous mistakes when we first launched the game and we really took an honest assessment of the game and ourselves. Most games don't get a second chance but CrimeCraft did thanks to patient investors.

We brought in a new production team, one with substantial experience and fresh eyes. The game is much more stable than it was at launch. We made game stability our #1 priority and there is nothing that supersedes that. Player's no longer experience excessive crashes and lags, the game runs smooth now. We were also extremely committed to listening to our community and the reviewers who had numerous issues and suggestions for improving the game. We prioritized these issues and over time we've tried address every single one. These issues included, match-making imbalances between high and low level players, lack of guidance for new players, crafting and weapon imbalances etc.

Running parallel to those issues we also wanted to develop some key features like Daily Tournaments, which would improve the overall entertainment value of the game. On the business side of things we revamped the overall brand identity with the Bleedout relaunch and fully monetized the game with the introduction of the Black Market, where Players can go to purchase customized clothing, attributes, weapons and a diversity of other items. Our concurrent user base increased about 1000% percent as well as did our overall revenue. Things are looking up for the project and every week we get a little bit stronger. It’s a steady growth that is building over time. It's amazing what has been accomplished within the last year.

Crimecraft was released year ago you could have just added content on regularly basics what made you decided to spend a year preparing Bleedout?

This is an incorrect perception. Really the history of CrimeCraft has been about the team continuing to develop and improve features and releasing content live about every 2 months. Meanwhile in a parallel, a smaller team has been developing content for the Bleedout Expansion over the last 8 months. Bleedout by itself is a big endeavor that hopefully will redefine the brand by creating an intricate story, compelling characters along with a new artistic vision of Sunrise City. We strived to create a consistent and cohesive universe that new and old Player’s alike will find compelling. Bleedout answers the questions of how this world came to be and why it’s the way it is. We worked with the comicbook industries brightest talent to help to define this world.

The release of Bleedout included new art direction for the lobbies, comic production, comic book publishing deal and of course the 10 gameplay “episodes” - developing it from conception to first release took almost 8 months – but during this time other development improvements did not stop, but continued.

What is more important the casual player or the community player and can you explain how you see the different when it comes to playing your game?

Obviously we are developing for both types of Players but the community Player’s are the ones most loyal to CC and they have been with us for the longest amount of time. They are dedicated and passionate fans and we never want to let them down. These Player’s are the ones who have the most impact on where the future of the game is heading. We listen to their advice and work together to improve the project.

That being said, all of our Player’s begin as relatively casual fans. These are Players who enter the game, experience it and then either become part of it or don’t. In that sense we want to try and pull in as many new Players as possible and hope that some percentage of them eventually become loyal community Players.

All the MMO supplies are trying to tap into the casual market, if see from your response that you see this is a largely untapped but growing market. But, don’t you worry that this group come without brand loyalty and will move to next big thing, does this not a worry you?

Our game is aimed at the core gaming demographic to a large extent. It provides fun for a competitive gamer, for fans of Counterstrike and many other popular shooters. The loyalty in our view comes with the game features that allow the players to make the game “their own”, to develop ties with the community, to invest themselves into the world. Definitely a game that is free to play is an “easy in, easy out” and it is normal to see a high churn of players in the initial stages of game play. However we see our core community members playing for months and months. On our part we support their loyalty by continuing to release new content and by listening to their requests and making constant improvements, and sometimes even pulling back the new features that get bad reception among our established community members. It is a constant effort – a combination of content, community and social features of the game that make our product exciting over the long haul.

We have also used the “Episodic” approach to get people involved with the game world. This provided the lot of “must have” PVE content and also allowed us to sustain a level of intrigue and interest over the many weeks when the Bleedout episodes were being released. The metaphor we used internally was TV – if you like a series you will come at the next broadcast time and also will probably watch the episodes again and maybe even buy a box set of DVDs. We have really put a lot of effort in trying to wrap the Episodic story in very high production value packaging and let our users be intrigued and committed to playing over long time.

There are many MMO’s hitting the market some will stay some with disappear as quickly as they were released – Crimecraft where do you see this game in 5 years?

Our Player community will help us define where the game heads over the next few years but there are 5 main areas we want to develop for.

1). Global Tournaments
These are “World Cup” style tournaments where Players / Gangs compete within their countries for the top position. Then the best of the best from each country play against the best of the best from other countries. These global tournaments would last 6 to 8 weeks in a format similar to the World Cup where the final 2 countries battle each other to be the world champion. Our entire global community wants this to happen. Our population numbers are getting close to the point where this will soon become a reality.

2). PvP Match Customization
Develop tools that allow Player’s / Gang Leaders customization options for matches and contests. Player’s will be able to define the rules and limitations for PvP combat, for example, gang vs. gang, number of Player’s, kill conditions (one shot kills), specific weapons, clothing attributes, armor, boosts, skills, etc. By giving Player’s sandbox options for creating matches – they are in affect designing content for the game.

3). Lobby Socialization
Lobbies need to be living breathing sections of Sunrise City, where Gangs can own territories and within these territories Gang Members can own or rent shops, nightclubs, etc. Lobbies also need to have many more interesting things for Player’s to do like Casino gambling (slot machines, poker, etc), Virtual Sex clubs and Lobby Assassin type of games.

4). More Campaigns / Factions
With the success of Bleedout we would continue to create stories and PvE content for the game and introduce new factions. Players would be able to choose their faction when creating a new character, so the Player can decide if they want to be a member of a Criminal organization, Federal Agent or a Rogue. Then all of these factions have their own agendas and purposes within Sunrise City.

5). Improved Character Customization
Improving the character creation tool so Player’s can create a good likeness of themselves. The tool would allow for different heights, weights and body shapes, greater selection of hair styles and facial modifications. We also want to give Player’s the opportunity to tattoo and pierce their characters in a variety of different ways.

Finally how about console MMO version 360 or PS3?

We would absolutely love to do a console version or even a cross platform version of the game – as soon as we reach a point when we can dedicate a concentrated effort to really seriously investigate this opportunity and talking to console manufacturers about our game. It seems that a micro-transaction based shooter game for console can be something very popular on consoles and the players have become very accepting of the model. Also the Unreal engine that CrimeCraft is built on should make it easier to port the game to current gen consoles. However this is a major undertaking from both development and business points of view but yes this idea has always been on our radar.