Gigantic Is A Gorgeous Not-MOBA From StarCraft’s Lead

By Nathan Grayson on July 16th, 2014 at 9:00 am.

Owl Man And Rat Cat In... Strike Cool Poses Even Though They're Probably Gonna Fall Over In Two Seconds

Gigantic pretty clearly wants to be a big deal. It’s from the former lead designer of StarCraft and Guild Wars, it has $20 million in backing, and its team size is kind of, er, gigantic for an indie studio. So it can talk the talk, but can it justify a series of costly expenditures on the part of shadowy investors and/or see why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch? That’s the $20 million question, but it certainly looks like an intriguing prospect. Gigantic includes MOBA elements (teams of five facing off in a big ol’ battle arena), but the difference is you’re not on defense. Rather, both teams have a hulking colossus that accompanies them into combat, with defending/destroying them serving as your main objective. Meanwhile, the whole thing is action-based, with physics-based abilities and WASD controls steamrolling over the classic top-down approach. Impressive debut trailer below.

So that was nice and cinematic, but the actual ground level ins and outs of the game are less clear at this point. Here’s Gigantic at its most basic, though:

“A mystical bond connects you and four teammates to your guardian, a magical behemoth too powerful for a single mortal to defeat. Protect your guardian as your team charges across the battlefield, then see it crush your enemies underfoot.”

“Physics-based abilities let you invent new ways to amaze your friends and frustrate your enemies. The element of surprise is key as you use WASD controls to sprint, dodge, aim, destroy barriers, hurdle obstacles, and leap from danger to safety.”

There will of course be a billowing selection of heroes to pick from, each upgrade-able in the heat of battle… somehow.

Despite a lack of clarity at this point, it all looks rather nice, and the pedigree is undeniable. I’m worried that certain elements – for instance battling the same roster of AI-controlled Guardians match after match – could become repetitive, but I definitely want to know more. For now, though, alpha sign-ups are already live, so you can toss your name into that particular technicolor dream hat and hope for the best.

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56 Comments »

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  1. Metalfish says:

    I was gonna say “that still kinda sounds like a MOBA”, but I don’t really know what a MOBA is, other than “thing like DOTA”. I like the fact that the thing you’re defending is where the action is: that seems like a smart move.

    Also: so pretty.

  2. rargphlam says:

    Conceptually sounds similar to SMITE’s main mode stripped of it’s DotA-ness, two teams of champions fighting to defeat the boss monster at the other end. There isn’t a ton of competition in the field of third person battle arena games in comparison with purestrain DotA derivatives, so it may be able to carve a piece up.

    I guess the only question remaining is the payment model, which from what was shown would benefit more from a buy to play rather than the other options, as the quality of the art style might hamper cosmetics and unlocking heroes in these kind of games is awful for a variety of reasons, player and developer wise.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      General industry trend though is that games like this that are multiplayer only (this certainly appears to be that) go free-to-play and games need a single player component before they consider releasing them as buy to play.

      • kablui says:

        I think so too, was actually kinda surprised from reading the question on pricing, and my brain went something like “That question gets asked for MOBAs now, too? I thought we where finally over this with MMOs, and now Mobas do the reverse thing, seriously?”.

        I do not play any mobas, so I might be completely wrong, but.. isnt the moba-generation that generation that grew up with the classical buy-to-play thing for MMOs on it’s way out, while mobas where coming on to the scene and they more or less all where free-to-play from the get go?

        I believe they (the mobas) actually all do OK-to-great, simply by having a distinct artstyle and a well curated cosmetcs-shop – or is that just true for lol Dota and some 2 others, while the rest is constantly on lifesupport?

        Have there actually been any buy-to-play mobas since.. what was that thing with the “your main char is a walking tower you upgrade and stuff, and could actually have been more of a reverse tower defense game? Something starting with a “D”? Came out 2008 +/-2?”.

        • Fenix says:

          [late reply]

          It was called Demigod, and was pretty great. It did something original and had a very distinct and refreshing art style, but had one major flaw: its online service was abysmal. Which basically doomed it, unfortunately.

  3. Neutrino says:

    I don’t get why all these MOBA have such over the top cartoony graphics, it’s a real turnoff.

    I downloaded Dota 2 last night to see what all the fuss was about. I can see the appeal of the rapid and configurable character progression in a relatively quick standalone battle, but the CBeebies style graphics and playing the same map over and over is a bit of a culture shock compared to the games I’m used to.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      I think you’ll find a lot of people feel the opposite that overly serious grey and brown grimdark ‘realism’ is a turn off, or at the very least kind of tediously predictable. 90% of games try to be ‘realistic’ so any game with a more creative art-style is a breath of fresh air and we’re at a point now where stylized art can be done really really well.

      Also you’re confusing stylized with “for children”. If you really think cartoony = kids game, that’s truly regrettable and I can only say you’re missing out on a lot of amazing (and sophisticated) games.

      • Niko says:

        And cartoons.

        • JWTiberius says:

          I really hope you aren’t talking about mlp, that thing is /not/ sophisticated.

          • Niko says:

            No, I was thinking of Rick and Morty, Adventure Time, that kind of stuff.

          • Premium User Badge

            Ninja Dodo says:

            On the subject of cartoons, the first Avatar The Last Airbender series is *really* good. I wanted to like Korra as well, and I do like the character, but the story is not as strong.

        • JWTiberius says:

          Thank god, I get so jumpy at Bronies these days, insipid creatures.

          • Phasma Felis says:

            It is indescribably hilarious to me that you are genuinely freaking out because somebody likes something you don’t like.

          • JWTiberius says:

            eh, i was joking at the last comment, dude. my point was that you can’t be on the internet for more than 5 minutes without seeing someone trying to defend that tripe ‘I-it has pop culture references!”

      • Jenks says:

        90%? I doubt the number is even close to 50%

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          Ninja Dodo says:

          Does it matter? Obviously depends on what games we’re counting, but ‘photoreal’ is very much the dominant visual style in large games. Arguing exact numbers in what is essentially hyperbole for effect seems exceedingly pointless.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        I guess it’s partly because DOTA2 is quite derivative aswell when it comes to artstyle, and still a little on the dull side personally.

        This one, however, really stands out ot me.

    • Focksbot says:

      “… CBeebies style graphics …”

      Strangely apposite comparison – both cartoons and game graphics strive to be easy for the eye to follow, with memorable depictions of characters.

      The huge problem with ‘realism’ in games is (1) that we’re still deep into the uncanny valley, (2) that it jars heavily with the unrealistic physics and movement that most games all but rely on, and (3) that murky graphics make it harder to follow the action, and (4) that awkwardly ‘natural’-looking characters are harder to identify with and grow to love. Stylisation is essentially emphasising character and individual qualities.

    • deadly.by.design says:

      and playing the same map over and over is a bit of a culture shock compared to the games I’m used to.

      The single map thing isn’t a problem once you get used to the idea of the game being competitive. It works for most of the world’s sports, after all.

      Similarly with dota, the players are the variables. So many factors can change the way a match goes down that it’s hard to keep track of. Which hero do you have? Who are you laning against? How do your abilities work with those of your teammates? What about those of the enemies (who counters who)? Who is strong early, mid and late-game? Who’s buying what item and how should I change my play as a result?

      > Game is hard.

  4. int says:

    That one second of gameplay they showed definitely intrigued me.

  5. Sam says:

    in·die [in-dee] Informal.
    noun
    1. a studio with a budget of less then $200,000,000 per year.

    adjective
    1. of a company, indicating that they wish to receive a public relations boost.

    • AngoraFish says:

      I’m fine with defining indie as any company that doesn’t have ready access to mainstream distribution through retail outlets, nor the resources to engage a promotion company to drive media coverage and to book full page ads in gaming publications. At $20 million their budget is a long way from those levels, meaning that distribution will be highly reliant on word of mouth and the generosity of individuals in the gaming media for free coverage. IMHO, indie developers don’t all have to be neckbeards working out of grandma’s garage.

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      SuddenSight says:

      I don’t know where you got the $200 million figure, but it seems ridiculously high to me. It’s hard to find a lot of figures for these things, but the IMDB page says Dishonored’s budget was $25 million:
      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2322244/

      There certainly are AAA games with budgets over $200 million (Bioshock Infinite had one, I think) but I doubt they all do.

      The idea of “indie” in other industries relates to traditional publishing models (this applies to the music industry, films, and books). However, the distinction in video games has also come to be related to the budget because large publishing companies only published big budget stuff. Furthermore, because most games are sold online these days anyway the difference in publishing methods really only matters for console games (where large companies can exercise a monopoly more effectively). Even advertising is an area where little games seem to compete rather well, considering that Forced had the banner adds here on RPS for at least a week, and many of the games that go through Kickstarter get specially animated trailers.

      I don’t like the idea of defining game categories based on budget. Child of Light probably had a budget of less that $200 million – is it indie even though Ubisoft published it? Why are Paradox games considered “AAA” while Double Fine keeps the “indie” label? Why don’t we just scrap the indie term altogether, considering that over half the posts RPS makes these days relate to “indie” games, so “AAA game” has become the rarer name?

      • BooleanBob says:

        You might want to give your sarcasm detector a thump, friend.

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          SuddenSight says:

          In my excitement to argue a point, I have only just now read the second definition. Silly me. Carry on then.

  6. Godwhacker says:

    Character leaping through a forest and firing a bow in the trailer: it’s a MOBA alright

  7. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    Last week I thought Battleborn was the moba to end all mobas BUT I WAS WRONG!
    I didn’t realise there was a VC backed group of maverick blizzard employees waiting to cold cock us with this FABULOUS idea of making a moba with a moba-ile base (you can have that, I’d do anything to help this amazingly original idea). I wish they’d told me about this before I wasted 1000 hours in dota 2.

    • JWTiberius says:

      Let me guess… you now need to convince your dota fanboy friends to play this instead.
      You might be me if I’m correct here

  8. shinkshank says:

    Oh my goodness, a video game with a crisp, colorful artstyle that also has a large dev team and a big juicy budget? This has literally never failed to be good.

    Okay seriously though I’m totally behind this idea, I want to see more of this.

  9. jasta85 says:

    Damnit, what was even the point of putting that small snippet of gameplay in. I was getting a bit bored up until then and then they cut out just as I actually start to get interested, guess it’s called a teaser for a reason

  10. Turkey says:

    Man, every time there’s a PC exclusive with some kind of production value it always turns out to be an online game.

    • Jenks says:

      Thank your local pirate.

      • BooleanBob says:

        Thank your local whale, more like. And maybe help kick in for his rent while you’re at it.

    • GameCat says:

      Well, making PC exclusive game is pointless, because:
      a) there isn’t any company that would pay you extra cash for exclusive game
      b) you doesn’t have single unified platform to work on
      c) with modern engines that let you easily port your game to Linux, Mac, mobiles and even consoles you’re just hurting your income not doing so

  11. Allenomura says:

    I have never seen a MOBA like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85zbb4YWHSI – have you?
    New, extensive gameplay footage/dev interview.

    I’m interested to see where they go with this, once the testing phases escalate and they start to grow their playerbase. (gameplay begins at 3:20)

    • realitysconcierge says:

      I’ve got to say, that is a really beautiful game.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      From the trailer I was expecting less WOW, more Shadow of the Colossus interaction with the creatures.

    • BooleanBob says:

      It looks like a MMO-style PvP mode to me? Replete with the awkward camera controls.

  12. Kollega says:

    Hot damn… can we PLEASE have that art style in a GTA-style game? Please? It’s all kinds of great, but even if this is a pay-once game, and even if it has WASD controls, MOBAs are not exactly my cup of tea. But open-world games are. So really, I can’t wait for a moment when someone makes a sandbox shooter with that kind of brilliant style. Well, not counting Sunset Overdrive, because that’s only on Xbone.

    • Chuckleluck says:

      Goodness, I didn’t even know I wanted a cartoony GTA until you brought it up. You should work in marketing.

  13. Lion Heart says:

    “made by former lead designer of star craft..” promising “..and guild wars” NOPE no hope

    • deadly.by.design says:

      The original Guild Wars had the best team-based PvP I’ve ever experienced. Why so cynical?

      Plus, WASD staves off the RSI/Carpal Tunnel for a few more years. I’m tired of clicking everywhere.

  14. Frank says:

    “certain elements – for instance battling the same roster of AI-controlled Guardians match after match – could become repetitive”

    Are there more than two Guardians? Ok, then we’re already looking at more variety than MOBAs have. I never understood how they could play the same map again and again.

  15. SuicideKing says:

    Art style. Cute Birds. Wow.

  16. xcession says:

    Love the animation style of that trailer. Bitey of Brackenwood anyone? Probs just a common style easily copied.

    • BooleanBob says:

      That guy did end up working with Riot for a while, so you never know..

  17. Premium User Badge

    Lim-Dul says:

    WASD-controls, defending/attacking giants (/Titans), MOBA-inspired?

    Hasn’t “Minimum” done all of this just a few weeks ago?

    https://playminimum.com/

  18. Moraven says:

    Still a MOBA. Not all MOBA have to be lane pushers. There was a few good War3 mods that were basically hero battle arena, which defines what MOBA means. I guess most people define MOBA has the 3 lane pusher map arena. (even Wikipedia)

    Wonder why it is 5v5, other than that being what everything else is.

    And do we really need more cartoony medieval fantasy?

  19. Premium User Badge

    Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a desire to be a character quite so quickly as the owl-faced cat-having fencer. It is all I have ever aspired to be.

  20. shadowmarth says:

    COULD THIS BE THE GAME TO TAKE UP WHERE BLOODLINE CHAMPIONS LEFT OFF? God I hope so. But I bet not.

    Sooner or later someone will figure out how awesome that game was and stop making traditional mobas.

  21. The Random One says:

    I don’t like MOBA’s because I like to focus on objectives in online games, and you can’t do that in MOBA’s because it’s the wee bastards the ones who do that. To me, that means they’re the ones having all the fun while you play escort mission. So when I read this game’s description, all that I could think of was, why can’t I play as the bloody colossus?

  22. agitated_android says:

    So… still a MOBA, then?

    I feel tricked. While certainly pretty and in a style I enjoy I’ve learned my lesson. The young people do not want me to play their MOBAs. Understandable, as I am awful.

  23. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    Have you seen LA Noire?