Interview with Matt Denomme, Producer for Zombies Monsters Robots
Zombies Monsters Robots is being published in North America by En Masse Entertainment and we got a chance to talk today with Matt Denomme, Producer for the game at En Masse Entertainment. If you are in Europe, you will get to know the game as Hazard Ops ―published by Infernum Productions―, but wherever you are, you’ll love it the same.
QUESTION: First of all, thank you for giving us the possibility to interview you about Zombies Monsters Robots. Would you be so kind to introduce yourself to our readers?
Answer: My name is Matt Denomme and I’m the Producer for Zombies Monsters Robots. Thanks for taking the time to find out more about the second title from En Masse Entertainment.
QUESTION: How would you describe Zombies Monsters Robots to someone who has never heard of it before?
Answer: Zombies Monsters Robots is an arcade-y, online, third-person shooter set in a post-apocalyptic world in which a series of portals, or “thresholds” as we call them, have opened to neighboring dimensions. Inter-dimensional threats of all kinds are funneled into our reality through these portals and it’s the player’s job to wipe ‘em out!
It’s a wild, mad, mash-up of everything from our favorite movies, shows, comics and even shout-outs to other games; ZMR is sci-fi, zombie apocalypse, monsters, mechs, military, dinosaurs, and more all in one!
QUESTION: What makes Zombies Monsters Robots to stand out in its genre? Why should a player choose to play Zombie Monster Robots over any other free-to-play online third person shooter?
Answer: Besides the wide and wild variety of enemy types and themes, we think players will be blown away by the sheer breadth of content on display in ZMR. ZMR is not restricted to any one genre. The game will feature a variety of different gameplay systems that I’m sure will keep players guessing.
With significant and regular monthly updates planned for release post launch, we think ZMR players, especially those familiar with other free-to-play games, will enjoy, and also be surprised, by the volume of new content and variety we have in store for this title.
QUESTION: How will the PvE be structured? Will there be a main campaign with a storyline to unfold? Or will it be more like random missions?
Answer: ZMR’s co-operative modes are largely focused on (but not limited to) wave-based survival modes. Teams of up to eight players will hop into self-contained missions that pit them against waves of increasingly difficult and sizeable hordes of enemies, often culminating in final boss fight.
ZMR also has campaigns though, a rarity in the free-to-play shooter space. These campaigns run about an hour long (depending on the skill level of the team) and feature a self-contained story. Up to eight players can participate in these campaigns and they always end in a thrilling boss fight.
The wide variety of PvE modes, maps, and unique bosses fits really well with the “anything goes” feeling of ZMR.
QUESTION: Tell us something about the character progression and customization. There are classes and levels or are you thinking to something a little more original?
Answer: ZMR will feature a ranking and reward system that will grant players new weapons, equipment, perks, and more as they level up.
As far as customization, players can outfit their character in a variety of cosmetic gear to create a unique appearance. Players can also modify their weapons and equip passive perks to better suit their play-style or the current mode of play.
Well-coordinated teams will equip loadouts that are complementary in order to better take on the threat at hand. There are no pre-defined classes in ZMR, but in this way, players can create loadouts that serve a certain role amongst their team.
QUESTION: Can you describe the weapons customization system?
Answer: Extreme threats call for extreme weaponry and players will be well-equipped to take on the wide variety of enemies they’ll face in ZMR. This includes traditional weapons inspired by real-life counterparts, but also more fantastical fare like a crossbow that fires explosive arrows or a lightning gun that chains its attack across an entire crowd of enemies. It’s important to note that weapons with extreme effects such as the lightning gun are restricted to PvE modes only, so as not to upset the competitive balance of PvP.
QUESTION: Will there be PvP in the game? If yes, can you tell us something more?
Answer: While ZMR does offer a ton of PvE and co-op focused modes and maps, it also has lots to offer for more competitive shooter fans with both traditional and unique PvP modes.
ZMR will include a variety of familiar PvP modes like Free-For-All, Team Deathmatch, Demolition, King of the Hill, and round-based Elimination. In addition, the developers have cooked up some unique PvP modes that play to ZMR’s expansive nature. This includes “Team Mech Match” which has players piloting mechs against one another, and a really cool mode called “Mercs vs. Monsters” that lets players take control of various monsters, each with unique abilities.
QUESTION: Will the game be completely instanced or can we expect to see something like an open world or public social areas such as cities, etc.?
Answer: ZMR is more a traditional shooter – not an open world game – so each match will be instanced. This lobby/matchmaking structure allows players to quickly find groups to jump right into a PvP or PvE match so they can get jump right into the action.
ZME will feature a number of persistent stat-tracking and reward systems though, like leaderboards, clan rankings, and season-based ladders that will satisfy those players that are looking to build a visible reputation in the community.
QUESTION: Will there be a cover system like the ones already seen in many other third person shooters?
Answer: Zombies Monsters Robots was developed by Yingpei Games, formerly Epic Games China. They have contributed to titles like Gears of War in the past and ZMR has definitely inherited some elements of the cover system featured in that franchise. The stop-and-pop gameplay typified by the genre, as well as mechanics like blind fire and quickly transitioning between areas of cover are all present in ZMR.
QUESTION: In the first video there was a very cool boss fight, how many different monsters and bosses will the game offer at launch? Can you make some examples of boss mechanics and skills?
Answer: There are a wide variety of enemy types in ZMR: zombies, mercs, mechs, monsters, robots, mummies – the list goes on. In addition, certain PvE scenarios will culminate in a full-on boss encounter. The game has a variety of bosses for players to go up against, but they won’t all be available at launch, instead we’ll roll them out over time (via monthly updates). We’ll start out with 2-3 at launch with another 1-2 boss encounters added per update.
One boss encounter we recently unveiled at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco took place in an underground prison called The Pit. After fighting past waves of undead prisoners and zombie dogs hungry for blood, players must face the The Executioner. The Executioner is a prisoner of The Pit, locked away in a solitary confinement for his unique supernatural powers and violent nature. At the outset of the encounter, he breaks free of his shackles, turning the chains that confined him into wide-range melee weapons. Players will want to keep their distance of his melee attacks and by firing from distance. The Executioner can also harness electrical attacks, fueled by the coils on his back (which also serve as a weak point). Throughout the fight, The Executioner will launch ranged electrical attacks at players and summon lightning bolts down on them from the ceiling. It will take some well-timed dodges on the part of players to avoid these attacks. This particular fight is a good example of the arcade-y tactics at play in ZMR’s boss fights.
QUESTION: There will be melee weapons as well? Can we create melee-based characters?
Answer: There are definitely a wide variety of melee weapons for use in ZMR, including knives, swords, and axes (in addition to some more fantastical options). Each melee weapon also comes with a unique execution, which can be unleashed on downed players to take them out in style (adding insult to injury).
Equipping a melee weapon occupies your pistol or handgun slot, so players will need to consider if their loadout is suited to the current mode of play. For example, equipping a melee weapon can help to conserve ammunition in PvE modes (where ammo can sometimes be scarce). In PvP modes, the long range accuracy of a pistol may be more useful for picking off players as they pop in and out of cover.
I wouldn’t be surprised if dedicated players could hold their own with a melee weapon. Some special objectives in certain modes also emphasize the use of melee weapons and close range execution attacks. At its heart though, ZMR is a shooter first and foremost.
QUESTION: There will be a clan system with ladders and ranking?
Answer: ZMR will launch with integrated social features like a friends list and clan system. We are calling clans “corporations” in ZMR. Players will setup their own “corp” (as in, Private Military Corporation), give it a name and logo, and then recruit players to join up. ZMR will track a corporation’s progress against other corps on a leaderboard.
ZMR also features a season-based ranked matchmaking ladder in PvP modes. This system will match-up players of equal skill and record their performance on a leaderboard. We are still working out the details, but ladders will run roughly 4-6 weeks. At the end of a season, depending on where you sit on the ladder leaderboard (or “corporate ladder”, as we’re calling it), you will earn appropriate rewards.
QUESTION: When can we expect to see a playable beta?
Answer: Expect more news regarding specific dates for a beta soon. In the meantime, we can confirm that there will be a limited beta scheduled for May, 2014.
QUESTION: There will be a cash-shop in the game? If yes, what can we expect to find inside? Powerful weapons and armors or just cosmetic stuff and boosters?
Answer: Yes, there will be a cash shop in ZMR. Players will be able to purchase EMP (En Masse Points) with real money which can be used to make purchases in the store. Players will also earn in-game currencies just by playing the game. These currencies can be used to purchase items from a separate section of the store.
Both stores will feature products like new weaponry, cosmetic items, currency and experience buffs, weapon modifications, tech (passive perks), and other consumable items.
As with TERA: Rising, we do not want ZMR to be a pay-to-win title and we will not enforce “pay walls” that gate players from accessing certain maps or modes.
QUESTION: Thank you for all your answers. Would you like to add something?
Answer: Thank you very much for taking the time to talk about Zombies Monsters Robots! I’d like to encourage everyone to visit our official website. To make sure you are tuned into the latest ZMR news and information,like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or interact directly with myself and the rest of the ZMR team here at En Masse on our official sub-reddit (http://www.reddit.com/r/ZMR/)