Interview With Victor Martianov Of LVR Studio, Creators Of Pangaea: New World

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Open world survival MMO Pangaea: New World recently made its way to Kickstarter and I had a chance to interview project lead Victor Martianov about the game. The project promises to blend FPS combat with dynamic environments that evolve in response to player actions. I was lucky enough to test the game's engine, as seen in the video below, but I was curious about many of Pangaea's systems, such as trading, quests, and mutated creatures. As a self-proclaimed survival aficionado I'm looking forward to the finished game.

Victor Martianov: Many survival games end up becoming a PvP deathmatch, such as DayZ. How will you incentivize players to work together rather than shooting each other in the back?

Pangaea is set up to operate on a very distinctive and novel model. Yes there are guns and shooting, but the very basis of the game is the three contending races. These races aggressively and belligerently fight for resources in the world of Pangaea. There are also very militaristic and opposing internal clans that add another layer of mystery and intrigue to the game. Pangaea also operates on a “Real Market” system where goods and services are traded and professionals are engaged for trade. This “Real Market” sub-plot will require much higher levels of cooperation and collaboration for each player to thrive in Pangaea: New world.

How has developing the game for multiple platforms (PC, Mac, Xbox, and PS4) affected development, or what issues do you expect to face regarding cross-platform development?

Pangaea is a game that is being developed to be played on many platforms and there have been many challenges to making the game perform properly on these diverse platforms. At times there have been significant issues and we were forced to try different options which has drastically slowed the process. These unique and innovative problems have resulted in a plethora of exceptional and exclusive solutions. One of the most difficult issues was working with optimization levels on the PC, but we were able to tackle these issues by working on the Unreal Engine 4 platform.

And to follow up: will there be cross-platform servers or will players play solely with players on their own system? And why have you chosen to keep players isolated or merge them together?

At this point, we will divide the players on the platforms. This is due to the fact that some mechanics may assign or exceed the gameplay players on other platforms that give them an advantage in the game, and it will be negative. If we can reduce these differences to an acceptable level then we can speak of a single world.

Personally, I find the intelligent ecosystem—where killing an animal may have larger consequences for the entire game world—to be conceptually fascinating. Can you elaborate further on the interdependence of fauna, creatures, and players, and how you expect their interactions to evolve?

Pangaea is a single ecosystem that is inhabited by many plants and animals and the ecosystem, like all true ecosystems, is dependent on a balance, and if this balance is interrupted or disturbed in any way chaos enters the ecosystem. For example: there are carnivores and some animals prey on other animals and there are herbivores and some animals feed on grass and plant life. If one link of the ecosystem is out of balance the entire systems begins to collapse. If there were a change in the environment and one species that feeds on grass can’t find its food source and begins to decrease in number then the second species dies out, which would cause a mass starvation of both species causing a complete change in the entire ecosystem.

Anomalies seem clearly inspired by games such as S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (a game I greatly enjoyed). Will each visual rendition of an anomaly be tied to a specific effect? And will players have to find out what effect anomalies have through trial-and-error?

There will be many types of anomalies and each one will have different visual appearance and a wide array of effects. In some cases, players will be able to determine the impact an anomaly will have on the players immediately like an electric field or a tornado. The effects of both of these anomalies are very clear from the moment the player encounters them, but players will confront anomaly effects of which are not immediately recognizable. These unrecognizable anomalies, called traps, are by far the most shrewd and dangerous anomalies of all. For example, some of these traps are able to slowly and stealthily poison a traveler with gas and when the aberration is realized it is far too late to take evasive action. Other anomalies will simply drive you mad and create a complete change in the sensibilities and actions of a player.

Will the game’s economy be server-wide or will it be isolated to different encampments throughout the map. And will each server have its own economy or will it be shared between all servers? If it’s isolated, what prevents players from hopping servers to buy low and sell high?

The network will be a single market, which means that the price of certain goods and services in the same store will be the same for all players, regardless of their environment.

What systems will be in place to promote community between players (i.e. guilds, forts, clans, etc.)?

• The cities are mainly controlled by the Kinect Race
• Forts are the main habitat of the human race and the layer between the towns and villages
• Villages close to the outskirts of the area, which are mainly inhabited by the mutants

In addition, each race will be divided into clans with different control systems. The heads of the clans will make key decisions in the development of the race and its attitude towards other creatures. Also, players will be able to unite in separate groups and perform common tasks, regardless of the clan.

To what extent will players be able to build their own base, or carve out a piece of Pangaea to call home?

Each player begins at a certain starting point. In the future we will build into the game home ownership which will be a base of operation for each player where they can safely leave their belongings when they go out on missions. We are looking at adding in special historical places where the stories of the most legendary natives are stored and told for all to see.

What role will NPC’s play in a player’s character development? WIll they be assigning quests that can be exchanged for experience, or require defending against the vicious creatures inhabiting Pangaea?

NPC’s will mainly be traders and individuals that are willing to pay players for any given job or professional service that may need to be provided. They will appear as a string of characters such as a leading player in a certain storyline or as completely random people that are simply passing by who may for a certain reason need something urgently. The latter will occur in most cases based on the dynamic quest generation system. For example, the murder of the son of one of the NPCs can create a quest for a vendetta against him.

I’ve seen images of monstrous creatures in Pangaea. Will there be mutated creatures that require groups to defeat?

There are mutants in Pangaea and in addition to attacks by the players on each other, there will be raids by monsters and groups of monsters on residential points in the game. The attacks will be motivated mostly by hunger, and there will be massive attacks by groups of monsters on villages. These attacks have devastating impacts on the entire game because the loss of a village means the loss of influence in an entire region. Again Pangaea is an ecosystem so with the loss of a village and the regional influence that goes along with it there will be consequences in the struggle for racial superiority. So the monster raids have very critical and decisive impacts on the game and a group’s ability to defend it territory. Monsters don’t have the intellectual capabilities of the other three races, but they can create serious changes in the balance of power in Pangaea.

You mention a dynamic quests system in the Kickstarter. How will quests I perform influence the quests other players can undertake?

One of the main features of Pangaea: New World from the conceptual phase, was to include a dynamic quest system that would involve the creation of new quests that are unrelated to the storytelling of the game, but that would be integrated into the delicate and very cohesive and amalgamated ecosystems that construct and impact interaction in Pangaea. For example one player is assigned to steal a certain item belonging to another player, there arises a quest from the people of the offended village to return the stolen item at any cost. This new quest become a part of the fluid dynamic that is Pangaea.

For more information about Pangaea: New World head to the game's official website.

From Mega Man II to Ape Escape, I've been playing games for as long as I can remember. I've spent months killing porings in Ragnarok Online and more recently lived a second life in Eve Online. I usually play as gUMBY, gUMBLEoni, or gUMBLes in-game.