Gaming Today Q&A: Jack Liu of Rumble Fighter
In case you haven’t heard of Rumble Fighter, it’s the free to play action game focused on fighting from OGPlanet. Recently, Gaming Today was lucky enough to sit down with Jack Liu, the Cofounder and Chief Creative Officer at OGPlanet, to ask him a few questions regarding this fun martial arts inspired game with its patented “Exocore” system.
GT: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers a little about Rumble Fighter.
Jack Liu: Hello Gaming Today, Iâ€™m Jack Liu â€“ Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at OGPlanet. Since OGPlanet is a video game company, being the chief creative dude pretty much means I get to dabble in everything the company does – from game localization and production, to overseeing our community department and marketing strategy. But ultimately, my job is simply to make sure all of our players have as much fun as possible when they launch one of our titles. This makes me really excited to introduce our newest online game â€“ Rumble Fighter. On the surface, Rumble Fighter is a melee style fighting game, featuring up to 8-player battle modes where players can either gang up in teams, or duke it out on their own in true last-man-standing fashion. But what really sets this title apart from any other online fighting game is in the customization options players have when building their fighters. Not only can you alter your appearance (facial features, costumes, accessories, etc.), but Rumble Fighter features a â€œSacred Scrollâ€ system that allows players to choose from a wide variety of actual fighting methods, each with their own distinct style and special combo moves. Like ninjas? Then go with Ninjitsu. Dig Bruce? Then go with Jeetkundo. From Taekwondo to Kungfu, classic Boxing to Jujitsu, Rumble Fighter gives players the freedom to create their version of the ultimate fighter. The entire game is free to play but features upgradeable items that can either be bought with in-game points (known as Carats), or with OGPlanetâ€™s universal cyber-cash (Astros). Players can upgrade their fighters purely through the use of Carats by simply collecting them as they play, but may choose to spend some real money for premium items that are not available for Carats. The beauty of this system is that it allows players to decide how much they want to spend, if anything at all, within Rumble Fighter.
GT: What type of graphics engine did you use to create the game?
JL: Rumble Fighter was developed by our partner, Nimonix, through an in-house graphics engine they created specifically for this game. The engine was made to cater to the anime look and feel of Rumble Fighter through the use of cell shading techniques and pre-rendered global illumination map textures. Achieving the anime look was important since the inspiration behind Rumble Fighter was Japanese manga and anime. [the rest of this can be tied to question 4]
GT: How many players signed up for the beta, how many players total have registered?
JL: When players register for Rumble Fighter, they create a universal OGPlanet account that allows them to play any of our games. So due to competitive reasons, I canâ€™t disclose registration numbers for our entire site. However, I can say that we are seeing a very healthy dose of new players entering Rumble Fighter on a daily basis since beta began. We have been quite happy with how everything is tracking.
GT: What was the inspiration behind rumble fighter? Any particular stories or animation that inspired the plots, fighting styles, graphics, gameplay or overall look of the game?
JL: The artists behind Rumble Fighter were all big fans of Japanese anime and manga, and this played a major influence to the style and play of the game. For instance, the tournament-style fighting story behind Rumble Fighter was definitely inspired by mangas like Dragonball. Many of the animations, fighting styles, and items were in homage to another favorite among the gameâ€™s creators â€“ Naruto. Even the Alchemist class design, along with many of their weapons and skills, reveal reference to yet another influence, Full Metal Alchemist. But outside of anime and manga, Rumble Fighter features an almost postmodern appeal to pop culture, with references to Michael Jackson, soccer hooliganism, and even other video games like Final Fantasy. It all adds up to a ton of fun that we think will appeal to all sorts of gamers.
GT: Tell us more about the “ExoCore” system.
JL: One of the most unique aspects of RF can be found in the ExoCore system. ExoCore items allow different classes within the game to transform into different powered-up fighters. For instance, a class like the Soul Fighter can utilize the Night Wolf ExoCore to literally transform, mid-match, into a werewolf. The Alchemist class can utilize the Blue Iron Armor ExoCore to morph into a giant knight during battle. There are currently dozens of different ExoCores that players can purchase within the game to power up their individual fighters. The etymology of the name comes from how different fighters can utilize their inner strength (â€œcoreâ€) to affect their outer, physical being (â€œexoâ€).
GT: Players can choose from many different options when designing the look of their character. How important do you think customization really is to gamers?
JL: I believe that customization is integral to the online experience for all gamers. When youâ€™re talking about online, youâ€™re talking about an anonymous world filled with generic drones separated only by different usernames if customization werenâ€™t an option. The only way to allow a gamerâ€™s distinct personality to shine in any game is by giving them the ability to individualize their online personas. The one thing weâ€™ve learned about gamers at OGPlanet, is that no gamer is exactly like the next. From skaters to punks, techies to trekkies, the very composition of these diverse personalities help make a unique online game what it is. So in effect, as important as customization is to the gamer, the diversified gamer is more important to the online game.
GT: Why is Rumble Fighter free? Most MMORPGs have monthly fees attached to them. Please explain your reasons for making this game free and how do you feel in general about subscription fees?
JL: OGPlanet was formulated with a philosophy that gamers deserved to have a new method for playing their favorite online games outside of the usual monthly subscription fee. Borrowing from Asia, where the item-based, free to play method had already proven its success, we decided to offer Rumble Fighter with the same revenue model that we saw working in the Far East. We strongly believe that this is a model where everybody wins. Players can choose to pay for only the items they want, and we can offer a game in a competitive market that is totally free to download and play. To offer a game with an item-based revenue model, the games really have to be tailored to the model and balanced with upgradeable items. Because of this, it still makes a lot of sense for most online games to only offer subscription fees. But with the escalating costs of games, systems, and Internet access fees, I think a lot of gamers can appreciate a free game that does not require a recurring charge.
GT: How often will expansions or new content be added, and is there anything planned for the future that you can reveal?
JL: The current plan for Rumble Fighter is to update the game once a month with new items, maps, and upgrades. But this will only be the regular update schedule. We already have some promotional and special contents planned for a few upcoming events that do not follow the regular monthly pattern. But since our game is based heavily in how we strategize its update schedule, I canâ€™t reveal too much right now as to exactly what we have planned for the near future. However, I just canâ€™t contain my excitement for a new game mode that we have been testing. All I can say is, â€œco-op.â€
GT: Rumble Fighter hosts quite a few events for players. How important do you think this is to gamers, do you feel more MMOs should do this as well, and what other sort of events are planned for the future?
JL: We have events to celebrate our player-base and community. We believe one of the most important aspects of our service is to stay intimate with our players, and to cater to their needs through our varying events. Without events, online games can quickly turn cold, where gamers do not feel cared for by the very games they are playing. Events are a way to keep players involved in the online community of an MMO, and to become participatory members that help these communities stay vibrant and flourishing. We have several events planned for the future that we think our players will really enjoy. For example, we are working on a nationwide Rumble Fighter tournament (with some really cool prizes), and also a fun offline event that involves cosplay ;P.
GT: Thank you for taking time out to speak with us, is there anything else you would like to add about Rumble Fighter?
JL: One thing Iâ€™d like to add about Rumble Fighter is that we as a company at OGPlanet are really listening to our community to determine how this game grows. From game modes, to specific items, we take our feedback and suggestions very seriously. I encourage any interested reader to submit a suggestion through our helpdesk on OGPlanet.com. We have been really excited about the recent launch of Rumble Fighter, but we are even more excited to see how this game will evolve as its community grows and matures. I hope to see many of you online!
Thanks for speaking with us Jack. Rumble Fighter does indeed look like a fun action game for all ages and the nod towards so many anime legends is much appreciated. With new guilds popping up since its recent launch on August 1st, Rumble Fighter is in a position to give other free to play MMOs a run for their money. For those of you interested in joining in on the fun, FileFront has the full version available on site (download here or on the official website). As always, we here at Gaming Today have plenty of screenshots and plan on providing updates in the future as they are released.