Interview: Reakktor Talk Black Prophecy

By Jim Rossignol on April 24th, 2009 at 10:24 am.


Having raised a collective eyebrow at the few glimpses of space MMO Black Prophecy that have emerged over the past few months, we thought it might be time to have a quick chat with Reakktor Media’s community manager Chris Schuett. Beyond the jump Schuett discusses the real-time combat nature of the game, and claims that player starships in the game could have “millions” of possible configurations.

RPS: What sort of experience will Black Prophecy hold for players? Can you describe what a player might be doing in the first couple of hours within the game world?

Schuett: Black Prophecy is meant to push up your adrenaline level with fast-paced real-time combat action, be it PvE or PvP wise. While your character skills give you access to better versions of items like ship parts and weapons, it is up to your personal skill whether you succeed in a battle or become just another piece of debris in the depths of space.

Within the first hours the player will be introduced to the game through the epic story missions, but can also play regular missions, get used to the ship and its functions and of course socialise with other players for further common activities. While the first epic missions serve as an introductory, further missions will involve the player more and more into the blazing conflict between the opposing parties.

RPS: How does the “MMO” aspect of the game manifest itself? Is there a level-based structure as in World Of Warcraft? Are you expecting huge many-player raids or PvP battles? And what about the economic side of the game? Will there be trade, crafting and so on?

Schuett: We are definitely aiming for large scaled PvP battles between players and clans. Especially as PvP will play a big role in Black Prophecy’s endgame. On top of the regular PvP, players will be offered special PvP missions where mission objectives can be assigned to single or multiple team members in order to accomplish the mission. Within specific boundaries, we will also make it possible for low level players to take part in PvP missions with higher level players.

The economic part of the game will be limited to player to player trading and modification of items such as ship parts, weapons, station modules, etc. Even though we see a complex economy as an important aspect, we are setting the focus on action related content and features for the release version. Despite that, an extension of the game’s economy features with a future game update is definitely envisaged.

RPS: Can you explain how the modular ship system works and how it related to play progression? Do you “level up” to create better ship types?

Schuett: Unlike other MMOs, your ship represents your player character. This means that you can assemble your ship with numerous different ship parts (wings, engines, cockpits, etc.), like you would equip your character in an MMO using 3D avatars as player character. With increasing experience level you gain access to better versions of equipment and can assemble your ship as the situation requires. Overall, we are speaking of millions of possible ship configurations.

Next to the ship, the player will also have a fully customisable 3D Avatar of the pilot which is being shown in dialogues with NPCs or in conversations with other players.

RPS: How is the game structured? Is it a room/jumpgate model of space? Or something different? And will it be sharded? Are there limits on PvP?

Schuett: While important sectors like mission hubs or any other gathering places will be persistent, the major part of the game will play in instances to allow players to enjoy the story and missions alone or with their friends, without interference from other players. Nonetheless fans of open world PvE and PvP also won’t miss out.

The final decision about the server configuration being single or multiple sharded has not been made yet.

RPS: What aspect of the game are you currently most excited about? What is it about Black Prophecy that players should be excited about?

Schuett: First of all our team is extremely excited to see the game shaping up piece by piece and everyone is keen to continue the work on Black Prophecy. It happens quite often that members of the development team are surprisingly impressed when they see the quality and atmosphere of the game in one of our regular company wide play tests, even though they play the game on daily a basis.

The main aspect our players can be excited about is definitely the breath-taking real-time combat that will bring back good old Wing Commander memories. Other aspects are the flexible modular system for ships and stations, the clan system and of course the unique and dense atmosphere within the vibrant and complex universe created by our sci-fi author Michael Marrak.

RPS: Thanks Chris! [I note that there’s also a fansite wiki recently gone up here.]

Game footage:And that splendidly shouty trailer again:

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54 Comments »

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  1. marilena says:

    “What aspect of the game are you currently most excited about?”

    Wow, that’s one lazy question.

  2. MD says:

    @marilena: What’s wrong with that sort of question though? Sure, it’s not exactly gritty, hardened journalism, but as one question of many (and in a preview, no less) it seems a perfectly valid way to give the interviewee some space to sell the game on his own terms. Potentially revealing, too: if he gives you a very underwhelming answer, you can take that as a black mark against the game.

  3. pauleyc says:

    That looks very lovely. Even a bit too good to be true…

    Hopefully they’ll decide against multiple shards. I’m still undecided whether having instanced mission sites is a good thing. Sure, it offers protection from non-consensual PvP but it does limit the open-world aspect.

  4. Jim Rossignol says:

    YOUR MOMMA is a lazy question.

  5. Premium User Badge

    c-Row says:

    You should have asked about Voice Over Guy

  6. marilena says:

    I don’t mean to offend, it was just a quick snipe :). It does feel like Jim was on a tight schedule when coming up with the questions.

  7. Jim Rossignol says:

    Damn, yes, the biography of Voice Over Guy was an obvious one.

  8. Senethro says:

    I don’t think we need NGJournalists asking “Did you threaten to overrule him?”

  9. Premium User Badge

    Morph says:

    He needs to work on his hyperbole, millions of configuration isn’t really that many. Say there were 6 areas of the ship, and each had 10 different options. That would be a million difference right there, but wouldn’t seem like the player had many options. He should claim billions or trillions of options.

    I’m just saying.

  10. Azhrarn says:

    “Schuett: Unlike other MMOs, your ship represents your player character. Next to the ship, the player will also have a fully customisable 3D Avatar of the pilot which is being shown in dialogues with NPCs or in conversations with other players. ”

    How neat, they tell lies too I see.
    EVE has been doing this for its entire existence and they bring it as if they’re the only ones… yeesh. It’s not as if they wouldn’t know about their primary competitor, so in my opinion this is rather low of them.

    Now I’d like to see them pull an EVE by also including a world for the pilots outside their ships. EVE should have this by the end of the year, can’t wait tbh.

  11. dalig varg says:

    that trailers so shouty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Ian says:

    Jim 1 – 0 His detractors.

    ;-)

  13. DMJ says:

    I don’t know how, but that interview dissipated much of the excitement I had for this game. Possibly the too-earnest tone of the responses puts me off.

  14. Farril says:

    @ Azhrarn:
    EvE doesn’t. Last time I checked I was able to change my ship when obtaining a new one. This makes the ship not much more then your current base weapon with no further binding to the character, thus giving it a much lower role. I.e. my startership doesn’t grow with me by beeing extended, modified, crunched and does not represent/keep the history of the character.

  15. Heliocentric says:

    RPS: Do you like kittens? This one time i was watching a video on youtube with a kitten and it was tottaly awesome, i dont like cats myself in so much as my grandmother had one and she scratched me (the cat not my grandmother) but i guess what i’m trying to ask is given that cats scratch you and are on awesome youtube videos do you like them if they didnt do these things and just sat around drinking milk (you shouldn’t give cats milk though they are like crazy lactose intolerant or something) i mean who even spread the rumour that milk was “cool for cats” probably the freaking milk people had too much milk one year because the cows were all hopped up on hormone treatment.

    Schuett: erm? Yes.

    RPS: Thanks Chris!

  16. Meat Circus says:

    I don’t want Reakktor to talk Black Prophecy. I want them to ANGRILY SHOUT like their mental voiceover man.

    Consider revising.

  17. Aldo says:

    Why do these games never seem to have a nice transparent cockpit that shows the/a pilot through it? It looks so much spiffyer…..

  18. darthmajor says:

    “the major part of the game will play in instances to allow players to enjoy the story and missions alone or with their friends, without interference from other players.”

    This makes it utterly uninteresting in my eyes. If i want to enjoy the game alone/with friends without the possibility of interference, i play single/co-op games. It sounds like space counter-strike with persistent, 3D lobbies.

  19. Jochen Scheisse says:

    RPS: In early preview pictures, there is a certain lack of shootable Nazis , and most people also miss the classics like the Bren or the Tommy Gun. Also, the metallic casing of the soldiers does not look at all like an uniform, and the battlefields seem to be atrociously badly researched. All in all, this is the worst WW2 game I have ever come across: No cover mechanics, bad background research, no bullet time, and a game system that would appear to be more fitting for some kind of simulation.

    Schuett: …what’s your question?

    RPS: Oh right. My question to you is, what aspect of the game are you currently most excited about?

  20. Surgeon says:

    @darthmajor

    That’s what i thought when reading that too.
    So it’s an MMO but you spend most of your time in instances?
    Great.

    So far, Jumpgate is definitely looking more interesting.

  21. Azhrarn says:

    “EvE doesn’t. Last time I checked I was able to change my ship when obtaining a new one. This makes the ship not much more then your current base weapon with no further binding to the character, thus giving it a much lower role. I.e. my startership doesn’t grow with me by beeing extended, modified, crunched and does not represent/keep the history of the character.”

    While you can change hull, in essence in EVE you are your ship as much as in Black Prophecy.
    You don’t have a single evolving ship in EVE, granted, but as you gain “experience” your ship appearance in EVE evolves aswell in a sense. Larger, faster, better armed etc, you just switch hulls to achieve most of it rather than swapping out components. (although you do that too for the tank, armaments etc)

    And with one of the new Tech 3 Strategic Cruisers you can go full “Black Prophecy” mode if you liked, these have exchangable modules that dramatically change the slot layout, performance and armament of the ship. (and appearance too) a total of 4096 combinations are possible at present, with a total of 12,500 planned once fully deployed.
    You don’t start in one, but you can grow towards one.

  22. Bobsy says:

    The more I learn about this game the less excited I am about it. Two steps back, Reakktor.

  23. O.G.N says:

    I think the obvious question that was not asked is “How does this differ from EVE Online?”

  24. Jambe says:

    I hate the word envisaged. From what I gather, this is basically EVE sans the skill system, single-server structure and economy?

    Regardless, more MMOs set in sci-fi space can only be a good thing. I just wish EVE was a simulator…

  25. CMaster says:

    @O.G.N. – That question is already addressed in the game’s FAQ here: http://blackprophecy-game.com/index.php?id=28
    The key difference really is that while EvE is click and wait etc, Black Prophecy plays more like a flight sim. It’s also probably not going to have anything like the depth of economy, with no mining system or what have you – the focus is going to be a lot more on action.

  26. darthmajor says:

    ” From what I gather, this is basically EVE sans the skill system, single-server structure and economy?”

    …and exploration, industry, constant danger EVERYWHERE, truly open pvp and many more facets that EVE has. I am probably unfair to this cause i’m totally taken by EVE atm but i seriously doubt this will be anything more than a shallow, casual fly-y shooty. Also it won’t have true mass pvp as real time combat would be unplayable.

    EDIT: “Black Prophecy is a Massively Multiplayer Online Space Shooter with role-play elements”

    Oh that covers it, it IS space counter-strike with a bit of development…nothing to do with EVE or any ‘real’ MMORPG, it should be compared to battlefield, COD and the like i guess?

  27. chesh says:

    It really just seems like WoWified EVE. How is everything instanced, no economics a good thing?

    Also, being able to leave your ship in EVE is just about the worst idea, IMO. I *like* being a sociopath made immortal by technological symbiosis, tyvm, walking around the station would just give someone the opportunity to shank me.

    (I would however enjoy seeing planets become more than just pretty graphics. It would be nice to be able to bomb them.)

  28. Noc says:

    @Jambe WoW in Space sounds a bit closer to the mark, actually. I’m not seeing much of EVE in this at all. Which, you know, isn’t a bad thing.

    Though I am a bit worried about it being grindy. You know, “Gather 10 Space Pirate Control Modules,” and repeat until you can get a better gun.

  29. kedaha says:

    Not being EVE is an excellent thing, why would you want another MMO like it?

    Casual space shooting fun appeals to me.

  30. Nallen says:

    I think the obvious question that was not asked is “How does this differ from EVE Online?”
    —–
    That was every question ;)

  31. Meat Circus says:

    I’m getting “Planetside in Space” which sounds fine by me.

  32. dsmart says:

    I am absolutely looking forward to this. I don’t see Jumpgate Evolution doing anything new than what they had before – and which clearly didn’t work back then.

    This not being another Eve is a very good thing.

    If they can keep it interesting enough for people to keep paying to play, I’m so there.

    But knowing the luck of the draw, gamers are going to take one look, wait until their free trial expires, then buzz off to play WoW. Bastards. No wonder the space combat genre died.

  33. Serenegoose says:

    why do the capital ships need to be within 3 metres from each other to fire LASERS which must surely have an accurate distance of several light seconds? Could they even perhaps be a little bit further away than ‘if I turn right I will hit the person I’m fighting with’. I mean like a virtual 6km or something? Thanks. Beyond that MANDATORY GRIPE it looks quite fun and epic and shouty.

  34. Tim says:

    Is it me or did he phrase every response as if he was writing a press release?

    Sadly I’m a little more taken with Jumpgate than this, at the moment. I’m really hopeful for a space combat game that’ll do things right.

  35. DigitalSignalX says:

    It’s RPS’s DESTINY to find out more about voice over guy.

  36. DMJ says:

    The economy thing is worrying. I find that after Eve’s “real market”, going to an NPC vendor is empty and hollow.

  37. Starky says:

    I personally love the idea of counter strike in space with 3D persistent lobbies…
    I’d buy a space shooter set up like that in a heartbeat, but the question is would I pay a monthly sub?
    And the answer is – No.

    Now if they can find another payment model, I think the kind of game they’re putting out might be very successful – be it mini-transactions, pay-per-hour* or something else.
    I just can’t see it being good enough for my £10 a month.
    *Pay-per-hour: I love the idea of, so long as it caps at the monthly rate, say like 50p an hour, capped at £15 a month, or you can sub 3 months for £40 – I’d play a LOT more mmo’s on a casual level (Eve, City of hero’s, Warhammer, and more if I could pay-per-hour).

    As to all the Eve does everything and a toilet seat better crowd, a space game that is simpler is a GOOD thing, the crowd of people that want a spreadsheets in space point and click adventure like eve (point at target, click weapons on, watch boring combat unfold) is very small – enough to call eve a success, but hard;y mindbogglingly so.
    Speaking as a person who wants so much to love Eve, as a person who’s played and loved pretty much every space combat game ever and would be playing Eve right now if not for one thing – the inability to actually pilot.

    That’s the bottom line in this Eve vs BP/JG debate, it doesn’t matter how many millions of things Eve does more in depth or better, the only things that matters is that in these 2 up coming space MMO’s you can actually pilot your ship.
    Yeah the ideal may be Eve with FPS/TPS combat, but until that happens (with Eve moving to it, or another game offering it) I’ll take anything so long as the combat is fun.

  38. Cunk says:

    When is someone going to make an MMO where multiple players crew a single ship? So one guy could be the navigator, steering the ship in battle, another guy could be in charge of the guns (or even individual guns like Star Wars), and someone else would be in control of engineering or defenses. Maybe even allow players to pilot fighters that the main ship launches.

  39. Cabbs says:

    @Cunk

    Im sure the earliest of the earliest Star Trek Online previews I read in PCG UK pretty much had that. But sadly it was not to be.

  40. SCdF says:

    The music that plays in the first video when he flying around the space station (esp when he changes to first person the first time) is annoyingly familiar… LoTR? Starwars?

    Or is it just all of this cinema-epic orchestral shit sounds the same…

  41. psyk says:

    “Black Prophecy plays more like a flight sim.” that would be more hardcore than eve.

  42. Kommissar Nicko says:

    @Cunk: I don’t see this happening, pretty much ever. Imagine if you had to have five people to play your man in WoW: one to calculate sword trajectory, one to navigate difficult terrain and plot the circle strafing, one to push the jump button, one to spam a buff spell, and one to type “U LO SE” over and over again into chat.

    RPS: You’d never get anything done.

    Me: I know rite!

  43. Melf_Himself says:

    No offense, but your journalism skills fail if you don’t ask them to describe how their game is an improvement to Eve.

  44. Xhumar says:

    To those excited about the game: let me remind you once more about the disaster called Neocron

  45. Surgeon says:

    @ dsmart
    “I don’t see Jumpgate Evolution doing anything new than what they had before – and which clearly didn’t work back then.”

    I dunno like Derek.
    I’ve been following JGE for ages, and the general feeling was the the original Jumpgate failed for two main reasons.
    It was super hardcore and difficult to get to grips with.
    It wasn’t marketed sufficiently.

    Codies seem to be doing enough about the latter.

    And they are doing everything they can to ensure that they make it as easy to get into as possible.
    Some of the content they have been showing off looks really impressive.

    The beta should be starting in the next two weeks.
    I can’t wait to see what it’s like.

    I know Jim has had a preview for it, and whilst he hasn’t said anything about it yet, his comment on one of the last podcasts about twitch gaming and JGE was encouraging.

  46. Tim says:

    @ Melf_Himself

    See Nallen’s comment.

  47. Orange says:

    The more space mmos the merrier for me. Jumpgate still seems the most interesting given NetDevil had a good first attempt. Eve has the great concepts but I didn’t stick with it, not enough fast paced combat.

  48. Torgen says:

    @Cunk: Alliance did that.

    I really, really miss Alliance.

  49. TheDeadlyShoe says:

    Hell yes I’m excited about a MMO action flight game. Combat was by far the worst failure of EVE.

    Cunk: Maybe it was just me, but in the last part of the gameplay video it looked like the player was manning a capital ship turret.

    Torgen: Do you mean Allegiance?

  50. Nill says:

    While important sectors like mission hubs or any other gathering places will be persistent, the major part of the game will play in instances to allow players to enjoy the story and missions alone or with their friends, without interference from other players.

    Oh, that’s disappointing to say the least! I had hoped for a fun version of otherwise awe-inspiring EVE Online. ;-)

    Anyway, this is clearly not a proper MMO, but much more of a Diablo 2 or Guild Wars type of thing. And I agree with whoever said he wouldn’t pay a subscription for this: I’d never do that either.

    If they are indeed going to push for subscriptions for this, they’ll have to do a bang-up job on the game itself. I mean, it’d nearly have to be the game of the latter half of this decade for me to pay subscription for a co-op game.