If you were one of the many people queuing up at this year’s PGF to try any number of the games on offer, chances are, if you had kids, or, you yourself, weren’t colourblind, you were drawn toward Collateral Damage. (I’m partially colourblind, but I was still drawn to it like a moth to a flame.) Collateral Damage is the brainchild of Artisans Games, and on the day of the festival, I managed to snag the attention of Lead Designer, Matthew Sear, in between all the embarrassing moments where I had my butt handed to me by 8-year-olds.
For those who aren’t familiar with your game, can you give us an elevator pitch?
Collateral Damage is a hero arena brawler where you control unique robots as they fight over the last remaining resources of their crumbling planet.
You’ve shown your game to the public a few times now. Has this process yielded any useful feedback?
Definitely. Just over a month ago we were at PAX Aus, and since we got back, we have implemented a whole slew of changes to the game based on the feedback we received.
With PGF this year, however, we decided to stick with our PAX demo to check and confirm the changes we’ve been considering are definitely on point. And just as we suspected, a lot of the feedback we received seemed to point to the same problems raised at PAX, so this has now solidified a clear plan of action we can take to improve the game.
Collateral Damage is an odd mashup; that of an arena brawler and a MOBA. What made you want to make this kind of game?
Actually, being different is exactly why we wanted to make this type of game. We’re indie devs, so making games that stray from the norm and are unique is one of the advantages you have when you’re free to pursue your own ideas. This is a game I’ve always wanted to play since I was a kid, and now I have the opportunity to make it. Collateral Damage is unusual but still maintains some sense of familiarity (we hope!). Further to that, the market also seems to lack this hybrid of genres.
I went through a couple of guided sessions with the Lead Animator, Jak Gem, before I managed to ask about the crystal system and the charging of abilities. Was this one of the sticking points for feedback for the day, or was I one of the dunce-cap wearing few?
We received a lot of feedback at both PAX and PGF, and the crystal system was definitely brought up.
It’s clear we need to communicate better that the crystals give you energy and also provide more information on how much and when you are gaining energy. We also need to improve the look of the crystals to make them more distinct and stand out in their environment.
Some other feedback that we received was to provide more feedback on the heroes abilities and improve existing visual and sound cues. Also to adjust camera view size and scope and basically just lots of hero balancing.
How long has your team been working on this project?
Two years so far.
Now, more than ever, the video game market is oversaturated. Collateral Damage is a visually grabbing game, with its vibrant colours and neon-drenched aesthetic. What influences funnelled into the look of your game?
The game may contain a lot of mash-ups from many other games within stylised fantasy and sci-fi, but a lot of the design for the art comes from the world building.
If you were in an otherworldly fantasy and sci-fi game where robots are naturally growing sentient beings that consume crystals, minerals and rocks, what would that planet look like? This is the question I ask myself when designing all of the art from the 3D models to the colour palette.
However, for reference, when seeking inspiration I look to some of my favourite environmental artists, such as Casper Wermuth, Steve Palmerton, Jason C Anderson, Tomas Gomez, ect.
Is this Collateral Damage the first game you and your team have developed?
Yep, that’s right. Collateral Damage is the first project to be developed by Artisans Games.
How many complaints did you guys get about Oblex, the tank character? I pretty much got spanked by that dude 90% of the time.
No complaints on Oblex, actually. Most of the complaints were over the more stronger swinging heroes like Lich and Boomer. Although, in saying that, we do have data showing Oblex to be a slightly stronger hero above the baseline. Heroes will get adjusted all the time, though. Such is the way of multiplayer games.
What are your plans for the game going forward?
We have three new heroes coming out, and we will be running online beta testing early next year where we will be testing the new maps and new game modes in online matches from 4-to-8 players.
If you’d like to continue to follow the development of Collateral Damage, check out the following resources:
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/CollateralDamageArtisansGameStudio/
Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/CollateralDamageCommunity/