How Epic Games moved on from shooters to MOBA with Paragon

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Paragon (1)

There’s a big difference between shooters (First or third-person) and MOBA games. One genre is rock-solid, the other is rubbish. Ha, I kid! I love you MOBA players! Put the pitchforks down already. But look, both of those genres have their own pros and cons, their own style and community. But the line between the two is becoming a bit more blurred as of late.

Halo 5: Guardians is experimenting with this idea, as the Warzone feature of that game blends resource management with straight-up shooting in your face. And then you’ve got Epic Games. A studio who made a name for themselves with a series of third-person shooters that featured walking slabs of human growth hormone experiments run amok and given guns.

Switching from a project such as Gears of War to their upcoming MOBA Paragon, must have been a challenge. Sort of. But it looks like the development team at Epic were avid MOBA-players. “When we started this project, we had the opportunity to make anything. It’s incredibly rare in that regard. Being a more senior team, we appreciate how rare the opportunity is,” executive producer John Wasilczyk said to GameSpot.

Paragon (2)

Turns out we have a lot of guys on the team who either love MOBAs and have for quite some time, or over the course of making this game, have grown to know and love them.

We have a good mix of action gamers and a lot of people who are really passionate about MOBAs on the team. So for us, it was taking the unique MOBA elements that we found to be really unique and really enjoyable and putting our spin on it. A lot of it is leveraging what Epic has done for so long, which is make action games.

It’s been exciting to make something that we have intended from the beginning to be a live game that could be updated constantly, especially for most of us coming from a disc-based background. Seeing how people interact with the game and being able to change and grow it is really exciting.

And look, I get that. That’s fine to want to make a MOBA. It’s just that the market is quickly reaching a saturation point lately, with just about every studio out there trying to grab a slice of that pie. So what makes Paragon any different then? According to Wasilczyk, it’s not just the visuals. It’s the fact that you can be killed from across the map:

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Paragon (3)

One of the things we talked about internally was taking the things you see in MOBA trailers and cinematics, including our own, and making it part of the gameplay experience. It’s what we were trying to convey with our gameplay trailer, showing the verticality of it where people can leap over you and you’re going to have to actually target them in 3D to shoot them out of the sky.

And there are a lot of projectiles in the game. That was a very conscious choice that allows us to have a different take on the moments and stories that come from MOBAs. You can have a character who picks a giant boulder out of the ground and has to aim and toss it as people are moving around.

You need to aim your shots and take into account the fact that someone could be above or below you. And as someone playing against a character like that, there’s the opportunity to dodge to the side of it. For example, dash underneath it as it’s flying towards you. Creating those stories and having those types of interactions is really important to us.

Well it certainly is pretty. There’s lots more in the original interview linked above. Give it a read, if Epic’s MOBA is tickling your fancy.

Last Updated: December 10, 2015

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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