INTERVIEW – Mordhau developers want to make the Battlefield of medieval games

INTERVIEW – Mordhau developers want to make the Battlefield of medieval games

We were nosy and asked Triternion a bunch of questions about their upcoming multi-player medieval sword-fest, Mordhau. Have some questions?  We’ve got the juicy details!

This interview was initially conducted by nounoursss with the help of rgk and El Tyranos for the French website NoFrag. You can also find our own preview here.

Gameplay Video

NoFrag: Could you please introduce the team? Where are you from, how many people are currently in the dev team of Mordhau? What previous experience do you have?
Triternion: The team that forms Triternion is scattered across the globe, we have people from Austria, Slovenia, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Spain, Denmark and Canada, and in total we’re ten people. None of us have taken part in developing an actual released game before Mordhau. We’re entirely composed of gamers and we were joined by our love for the multiplayer melee genre.

NoFrag: The alpha was released September 12th 2017, are you happy with the feedback from the players?
Triternion: Overwhelmed! The response was amazing. We pride ourselves on polish and attention to detail, and we’re happy that everyone thought we delivered that to at least some extent even for an alpha launch. Players continue to play the game, some have accumulated playtime hours that count into the thousands already, which is very encouraging. Their feedback can be very technical too, which is an enormous help when it comes to designing and adjusting the combat.

NoFrag: You postponed the beta, initially scheduled for January. Players scheduled for the beta were given an access to the alpha, which is nice. What is the reason for this delay? Do you have a new date in mind for the beta launch?
Triternion: The content was simply not polished enough. We thought we’d have enough time, but time can be a tricky thing in this business, especially with a small team like ours. For us as developers, there is no point in releasing content that we want to revamp still, as we would receive feedback telling us exactly what we are planning to do already. As for a new date, the alpha will transform itself into the beta over time, so there won’t be a big sudden moment it will turn into beta. The biggest change is our priority focus, whereas before we were fixing/improving combat, we are now working towards content.

NoFrag: The alpha only focuses on melee combat in closed maps. Can we expect larger maps in the beta, or at least for the final release?
Triternion: Yes! Big maps and lots of players. We expect that to be the main draw of the game, a sandbox of medieval chaos. By limiting the alpha to melee combat and small maps we were testing the appeal and mechanics of the game without those things on purpose, so that our (and the players’) focus is not all over the place while we perfect the combat.

NoFrag: Can we expect other game modes in the beta? Which game modes are planned to be included on the final release?
Triternion: There will be at least one more game mode, and that’s the flagship mode of the game that revolves around gameplay on a (usually) large map and gaining/maintaining control of zones. Think medieval Battlefield with a twist! We’re also adding a dedicated duel mode that will be backed by matchmaking for those who want to polish their duelling skills.

NoFrag: You showed some footage of medieval siege weapons, how will they work in-game? What is the extent of player control on them?
Triternion: We have a system of “vehicles” similar to Battlefield’s. The vehicle spawns on the map, it can be a horse, a catapult, or something stationary like a ballista or ladder. You enter the vehicle and gain full control over it. A catapult can be pushed around the map and fire the projectiles, a ballista can turn in place and shoot at enemies, etc.

NoFrag: During my playtime, I noticed a lot of players complaining about animations. Are you still working on them?
Triternion: Yes! We’re working on improving readability of the attack animations, and have a bunch of improvements on this front ready to roll out soon.

NoFrag: Mordhau is an unforgiving experience, the first steps in the game are painful and I kept losing my head. Are you planning to add an in-game tutorial?
Triternion: We plan to add a tutorial, but more importantly, we plan to have a soft matchmaking system that matches players into servers where their skill level is roughly compatible with the rest of the server. This is incredibly important, as the game’s skill ceiling is high to the point that a new player might find that trying to kill a veteran is a hopeless endeavour.

NoFrag: Will you later add greek or roman soldiers, or other legendary warriors?
Triternion: For aesthetic reasons, we plan to keep the time period roughly as we have it now, from early medieval to renaissance, but no antiquity.

NoFrag: Will there be microtransactions or lootboxes? There is already extensive character customisation available.
Triternion: We don’t have plans for these right now. Should the need arise for additional funding to provide resources for continuing work on the game after it’s released, we would approach players with our ideas to see what might work for both parties. Our focus is definitely not on monetization.

NoFrag: Are you planning to open Mordhau to modding?
Triternion: Yes! We’re excited to see what mods the community will come up with!

NoFrag: You seem to have developed a rich medieval gameplay experience, any plans to take it to pitched battles with archers, infantry and cavalry? What about ponies and dragons?
Triternion: Absolutely! Ranged combat will also be a big part of the game, as will horses and environment interaction such as hurling boulders off of castle walls to smash the helpless intruders. And of course, dragons to melt the castle walls. Well okay, no dragons, but there will be fire.

NoFrag: Mordhau is basically taking the concept of Chivalry in a different direction. Doing so means that something left you unsatisfied when you played Chivalry. What did you not like in Chivalry?
Triternion: We all loved Chivalry dearly and have played it for thousands of hours. It’s not so much that we were left unsatisfied, as it was that we were left wondering what more there could be. So we set out to fix what we thought were the remaining issues with the combat, such as the excessive spinning attacks, added what we thought were good ideas and took some inspiration from other games, expanded the scope a bit and here we are.

NoFrag: Torn Banner Studios then released Mirage: Arcane Warfare, which struggled to meet an audience. What in your opinion went wrong with this one?
Triternion: It was a well polished product, with clearly a lot of love that went into it. It is unfortunate it met such an abysmal fate, as it wasn’t a bad game at all. It just didn’t have an audience, and what audience it got simply didn’t stick. I think the style/setting combination was unappealing to many, and steering the focus away from medieval mayhem took its toll as well. I don’t think the magic itself was a problem, but I think everyone was expecting a more dark, gritty, medieval setting closer to The Witcher or dare I say it, Dark Messiah. I’d be all over that.

NoFrag: Nowadays, we see a lot of games focused on realism struggling to have a stable playerbase. Are you not afraid to lose players with such a steep learning curve? Mount and Blade 2 is also coming, which is more arcade and could potentially steal some of the medieval enthusiast crowd.
Triternion: Mordhau is not that focused on realism, at least as far as gameplay goes. There might be some inspirations, but by far and large we are guided simply by what makes for an enticing gameplay experience. For us, the key to a steep learning curve is to embrace it, and to group players into servers based on their skill level. This makes players appreciate the ride to the top, or simply stay in their comfort zone.

NoFrag: When you guys were practicing with swords and other weapons, did anyone get injured? Do you have any interesting anecdote to share about these practice sessions?
Triternion: We never did practice with swords! Closest we came to that is watching Youtube videos of people doing it.

NoFrag: Do you practice game development crunch?
Triternion: We don’t explicitly, but when deadlines loom we tend to kick into high gear. We love what we do, and we do it out of passion, so sometimes we crunch indirectly just because we’re enjoying the hell out of what we’re doing at that moment.

NoFrag: You have the last word, if there is anything you would like to add.
Triternion: Nothing to add! We’re excited to be working on this project, thankful to our community for the support, and have huge hopes for the success of Mordhau in the future 🙂

Screenshots accompanying this article were pulled from the forum of the game.

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February 2018

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