Announced during PAX Aus just a couple of weeks ago, Australian-made shooter World Boss is now available in Early Access as of last week. Pitched as a casual free-to-play FPS with roguelike progression and fast-paced multiplayer, it’s designed to be a simple game that you can jump into and have a blast, with fast and frenetic gameplay.
It comes from PlaySide Studios, who have joined forces with content creators Lannan ‘LazarBeam’ Eacott and Harley ‘Fresh’ Fresh, and we had the chance to chat with Steven Yeakey, General Manager overseeing all PC and Console game development at PlaySide Studios, about what to expect from the new title.
CP: In a nutshell, what is World Boss?
Steven: World Boss is a 16-player free-to-play FPS where players can jump in, select custom arsenals of weapons and perks, and climb the leaderboard to become “World Boss”. With a focus on skill and experimentation, this unique mix of io-inspired gameplay and roguelike progression is a lightweight and accessible multiplayer experience for all ages. The goal is to hold the crown until someone else takes it from you!
CP: What makes World Boss different from other shooters? How does it stand out?
Steven: Our team, in conjunction with LazarBeam and Fresh, wanted to create a familiar-yet-unique FPS centred on those adrenaline-pumping moments we all play for. World Boss allows you to combine Weapons, Perks and Equipment in a multitude of ways to suit your playstyle.
There are no rounds, no lobbies, no two sessions are the same. Drop right into a session and play for as long as you like, while other players in your region do the same. Delete your foes, level up, and Prestige to discover a new build.
A key strategy of our game development process for titles like these is bringing both partners and players closer to the development process as early as possible. This helps ensure we’re able to incorporate player feedback throughout the development and enable us to make better decisions faster. Thank you in advance for helping us shape the future of World Boss.
“There are a huge amount of different combinations, now into the trillions!”
CP: What were your main inspirations for World Boss?
Steven: We originally set out to experiment with different competing styles of gaming. We took the quick drop-in and drop-out nature of .io games, the customisation of roguelites, and merged it with the strategy and mechanical finesse of a first person shooter. We’ve been super happy with the response from our thousands of beta testers and are delighted to be finally getting it in people’s hands.
CP: You talk about “millions of builds” in World Boss – how do you make sure the game is fun but also balanced?
Steven: As players level up, they will be offered an evolving selection of perks and weapons they’ll need to tailor to be effective. There are a huge amount of different combinations, now into the trillions!
The goal of a game isn’t to be perfectly balanced, it’s to be fun. We strive for as much balance as possible because an element of fairness is definitely present in creating a fun experience – but it’s more about asymmetrical balance and about trade-offs than strict 1:1 balance. But we have very good analytics and it’s essentially that we keep an eye on it. We’ll be updating frequently to keep things fresh, but also from going too crazy.
CP: Has there been anything in playtesting or the betas that you’ve seen that you weren’t expecting?
Steven: We wanted to provide players a series of progressive milestones to achieve each time they played, so seeing them challenge themselves to reach Prestige 3 and their maximum power cap has been extremely satisfying. We’ve seen that players needed more guidance as to upcoming perks and weapons, so we have more clearly communicated that. We’ve added more graphics to make being World Boss feel more special. Furthermore, we’ve added changes to the FTUE to communicate the roundless, always-on nature of the game.
CP: So many shooters are all about high player count (64 players, 100 players in a battle royale etc) – what made you opt to keep World Boss at 16 players?
Steven: It’s simple. It’s straight forward. It’s distilled fun. We think bucking the trend of expanding player counts gives us the ability to make a smoother overall experience without sacrificing gameplay. Slightly more intimate lobbies also lead organically to players recognising each other and forming natural relationships and “grudges” within each individual session.
CP: Australia has seen some brilliant games coming out of our local development industry. How has the collaboration with local talent helped in bringing World Boss to life?
Steven: We chose to partner with Fresh and LazarBeam due to their unique understanding of the global gaming audience and the direction it is heading – not to mention creating the game that they want to play. They’ve been amazing to work with and have been useful at testing and vetting things from their perspective as ‘gamer’s gamers.’
World Boss is available now in Early Access on Steam.