In a space as overcrowded as the MOBA genre it’s important to do something to set your game apart from the rest, a USP if you will. Heavy Metal Machines, the latest effort from Brazilian developer Hoplon does exactly that by centring their MOBA on vehicular combat.
Heavy Metal Machines is currently the largest project being developed in South America with over team of over 70 working on it. To fiund out about the unique position Hoplon find themselves in and to talk future plans for the game, I spoke to Game Director Aly Lenzi.
n3rdabl3: So where did the idea of building a MOBA focused on vehicular combat come from?
Aly Lenzi: The idea to mix MOBA combat with vehicles was from our passion for Rock and Roll Racing. In our team all of us are fans of the game in the past, we played it on Super Nintendo a lot. Also we were playing a lot of MOBAs and saw the potential that this team-based style of game had so we saw the opportunity to mix the two. The way you play vehicles is very different from other MOBAs, very different from WASD based movement you know? You need to drive and take a lot of other things into consideration like moving your car and how to hit the enemy with your car instead of using weapons. We were trying to bring all of these differences to MOBAs and bring another experience which players can enjoy which hasn’t been done before.
n3: I think our readers would definitely be interested in the gaming landscape in South America and the challenges associated with starting a project like this, any particular obstacles you’ve faced?
AL: Brazil overall has a great gaming community, particularly for eSports, recently a Brazilian team got first place in a Counter Strike championship, another team managed to enter the Dota 2 Kiev tournament. We believe Brazil has a lot of potential for eSports and we are trying to get ahead of other studios and ride the wave first.
n3: Heavy Metal Machines is free to play, how have you found with this particular approach to your game?
AL: Being a free to play is very hard for us as we are so small and basically we are challenging the top dogs. Right now we are focusing on making our performance perfect on the most amount of machines possible to increase the number of players per month. The reviews on Steam we have right now are very positive, 78% I believe, so people are responding well.
n3: How are you finding the character balancing so far?
AL: It has been a learning curve, looking at games like Dota 2 and Overwatch, these have very different game play from us. We have had to work out a way to balance and to compare our characters. It’s been a great challenge for us but after years of experience, now we can offer something to appeal to the player without breaking the game.
n3: I noticed you’ve been doing like a player of the month scheme, how has that been going and what has the response been like?
AL: Right now we have the Metalhead of the Month scheme in Europe, North America and Brazil, this player of the month thing. Basically we are awarding players for playing different roles in the game like the support characters who are just as important as the guys who take the bomb to the goal. We are having a great response in how many players per month, it’s definitely increasing and our forums have players challenging each other, its a great way to engage with the community.
n3: What are the team’s plans moving forward as more and more players come on board?
AL: We plan to support the game forever as long as there is a community playing it. We’ll be candid, we plan on adding a lot of new characters soon, at the beginning of the game and then as time goes on and things slow down we will stop adding characters and focus on adding maps, other levels to play. Even in the future we may add new game modes. Now it’s deliver the bomb but we plan on adding more. Working on a new mode is a lot of work for us so we will wait until after the game is locked.
We’ll have more coverage of Heavy Metal Machines coming soon and as the game continues to grow and find its place in the market.
In the meantime check out the gallery below!