M.A.T Interview:Your StandardFPS Game, or Something More?
Questions by Michael Sagoe (mikedot), OnRPG Journalist
Answered by Mr Saturn, lead Game Master for Mission Against Terror.
Just recently, Suba Games began beta testing for their latest free to play title: Mission Against Terror (M.A.T Online) While it may look like just another everyday FPS, M.A.T throws in some unique features and gameplay elements that you won't find in any other FPS game like it. Here's a little interview a cooked up for guys behind M.A.T Online to tell us a little bit more.
OnRPG: Hello there! I am Michael Sagoe (mikedot), Journalist for OnRPG. Before we begin, would you care to tell us your name for the readers?
MrSaturn: I am [GM]MrSaturn, the lead Game Master for Mission Against Terror. Zoom!
OnRPG: In a brief summary: Could you give us a general idea on what M.A.T is all about?
MrSaturn: Mission Against Terror is a free to play first person shooter(FPS). It was originally developed by Kingsoft who are based in China. MAT pleases a wide variety of FPS fans with multiple game modes both on the traditional, more serious side of things and also on the goofy, more off-the-wall and less serious side of things. MAT takes place in a setting not far from our own where a global conflict is about to take place between the New World Order pseudo-government regime that is attempting to control pretty much everything and pretty much everyone else who opposes them. Some are directly opposing this government regime, while rogue militant groups take advantage of this global crisis and stir up trouble of their own. With all of the chaos going on, one has to ask themselves... who are the real terrorists? The New World Order government? The rogue militant groups? The freedom fighters who oppose the regime perhaps?
OnRPG: There's a lot of stiff competition in the FPS market right now. What makes MAT stand out from the competition?
MrSaturn: MAT has a large number of game modes to choose from (as mentioned above). Besides the game modes, players are able to customize their characters with different heads and also different clothing options for their bodies and legs. You can look like an army soldier, you can look like a biker, you can also mix and match for something crazier. Other awesome features in MAT is the in-game VOIP (with the option for real-time voice modulation), 3D surround sound courtesy of Dolby and their state of the art Axon technology, and a fairly robust clan system (a big hint to what's coming). We are also partnered with World Online Gaming League (WOGL) who do fantastic organized tournaments and matchups, so we also hope to build a strong competitive scene in MAT in the near future.
OnRPG: When I first got to try out the game, I noticed that players must select the country and state with which they reside before creating a character. Why is it required for players to show their location while playing?
MrSaturn: It's likely that this is just for fun. We've seen this kind of feature in other Chinese-developed games so it's possible that this is a trend that has just carried over to our version of the game. I wouldn't be surprised if someone told me that this has functional use however, like if we have multiple servers set up over North America then by picking the correct location upon creation of your character, the game may possibly be able to automatically recommend a server for you to optimize your latency and play with other players who are from your area and have good latency as well.
OnRPG: Could you give us a quick description on the available game modes in M.A.T? Will there be any other game modes to be introduced in the future?
MrSaturn: On the traditional side of things, for those who don't want innovation or anything like that, MAT has death match and team death match modes (both with respawns or without respawns for tournament-style seek and destroy bouts) There is also bomb mode which is the game mode that Counter-Strike made famous. For those looking for a little fun with something not so 'realistic', MAT has mummy mode where mummies seek to spread their curse onto humans via a melee strike while humans hunt down the mummies or survive until the round is over. With the launch of Open Beta, phantom mode was introduced which is a spin-off of bomb mode where the bombing team are highly translucent figures and are restricted to melee attacks only. Still to come is a second mummy mode where there are different mummies with different abilities and they fight off against the Terminators who are robotic super-soldiers designed specifically to deal with the mummy problem which takes place around the Nile (and because they're robotic, they cannot become cursed), a war against AI where players will team up against a robotic army of endoskeletons controlled by deadly artificial intelligence, a tank mode where players shoot each other up with army tanks, and there will likely be even more game modes as we move forward.
There is also a chat room mode, which is pretty self-explanatory just by its name but with one exception. The Suba Club where chat rooms are held contain a regulation-sized boxing ring where two players can hop in and duke it out for 9 rounds in a controlled environment. Various monitors around the club show the in-ring action for the patrons to watch.
OnRPG: Considering the realistic style that M.A.T has going for it, how does dancing and poly-morphing others fit into the game?
MrSaturn: The poly-morphing and dancing are some unique aspects in MAT that make MAT different. It is exactly aspects like these that make MAT different from other realistic style based game. The dancing could be construed to the classic "just walk it off" if your character is hurt and polymorph grenades are one of those things that is more along the lines of the 'fun'-style of game modes. Counter-Strike initially was a realistic approach to multiplayer shooters but through player modifications you have servers that do mini games, surfing and zombies. I think MAT is going for the same sort of thing right out of the box and choosing to include non-realistic stuff that some players may find more entertaining.
OnRPG: Customization. Lots of FPS titles have them. Will character customization in M.A.T any different or any better?
MrSaturn: You can select from a variety of heads/helmets, upper body and lower body clothing options, theme yourself properly or mix and match to look goofy. There are also arm bands as a future addition. Players can wear an arm band that has their clan logo on it(which is what I consider to be true customization, but that is pretty much the extent of it). You can also grab different sprays for your character to spray paint on the wall or the floor of a map. I wouldn't be surprised to see a contest here or there to design a clothing set or something of the sort, where the winner(s) will have their designs implemented in the game. I think that's as close as it's going to get for player-driven customization but that possibility is there.
OnRPG: Voice chatting has become a very integral part of FPS titles, nowadays. How will voice chat work with MAT?
MrSaturn: MAT supports voice chatting and is a free option available to all users. Where MAT blows the competition out of the water with regards to voice chatting is its use of Dolby Axon, a cutting edge piece of technology that enables you to transmit your voice in 3D surround-sound, and it can also modulate your voice in real time.
OnRPG: Anti-hack prevention is always a major concern with these types of games. Which anti-hack provider is being planned for M.A.T?
MrSaturn: Players can take comfort in knowing that MAT was built from the ground up with hacking as a major concern. For those that don't know, which is probably everyone because Kingsoft is based in China, Kingsoft primarily develops applications rather than games. The one we as gamers should be concerned with is Kingsoft Internet Security which is a suite of effective, enterprise-level security tools. The point to all of this is that Kingsoft knows their stuff in this field; this would almost be like McAfee or Kapersky developing a game with hacking as a major concern. It wouldn't be wise to say that MAT is air-tight in this field but I doubt that hacking is going to ever become a major concern at all, and I'm sure with a background in security software the developers would be particularly interested in addressing anything that may come up in the future.
OnRPG: I believe that the chatting lobby could be an interesting draw for the game if a few more interactive features were added to it. Any chance that chatting lobby will be improved upon with future updates?
MrSaturn: There's always a possibility. Even the overseas versions only have 1 map for a chat lobby. I would think if you can pick your map for a chat lobby rather than just having no selection then we could possibly have different chat room maps with different features in each of them. The Suba Club for instance has boxing. A map in the future could have maybe a game of soccer; another one might enable players to have a foot race. More interactive objects are always a plus as well. It surprises me to see so many games even by today that have chairs and stuff in a chat room/social environment and you can't actually sit down in them. I suppose if there's a demand for it, it's a possibility that chat room features could be improved upon. For the near future however, we're focusing on the core game itself which is the shooter action.
OnRPG: What can players expect in terms of cash shop content?
MrSaturn: Polymorph Grenades, probably much to everyone's praise, are a cash shop item rather than a standard item. A lot of the goofier things in the game are cash shop items. An M4A1 for example, standard rifle, is not a cash shop item, But a Silver M4A1?. Cash shop item. You start out with a knife, you can buy a hammer with the in-game currency, and you can buy a crazy Chinese broadsword as a cash shop item. Some cash shop items have little benefits here and there but it's never anything game-breaking (as it should be for a game based on player versus player).
z0mg a Katana in an FPS!
OnRPG: How much of a role will M.A.T's community play towards new content and updates?
MrSaturn: At the moment, because we're sort of catching up to what the other publishers have overseas, there's not much going on at the moment with regards to community input. We always welcome their input however and have acted on some of the things that the community has been concerned with. As an example, players have issued their suggestions on improving the firing rate of the pistols in the game currently, and we're addressing this with the developers. As always it takes time to address everything but right now the immediate focus is to catch up with the other versions and to smooth out common gameplay issues and then we may start doing things with the community such as the possible "design your own outfit" contest or other such things. The developers have been very receptive so far, so it's a good sign of things to come.
OnRPG: From my previous play-through, I noticed the accuracy and recoil of the firearms were a bit off. Will these weapons be improved throughout the current testing phase?
MrSaturn: In relation to shooters in general or are you thinking of a particular game? It may be something that is favorable by the hardcore shooter fans as they prefer burst firing and dislike the ol' spray and pray mantra. It's personal preference I would say but by the same token, if the community feels that this is an issue then we can always take it up with the developer. We hope to have this kind of relationship between the three of us, where we issue the community's concerns to the developers and the developers act on those concerns accordingly.
OnRPG: Out of curiosity: The visuals of M.A.T look similar to another certain FPS title. What I would like to know is kind of engine does M.A.T run on?
MrSaturn: I don't have anything official to go by but by taking a highly educated guess, I would say the Unreal 2 engine.
OnRPG: Lots of events were hosted during the testing phases of M.A.T. What other planned events do you guys have in store?
MrSaturn: Lots of events are necessary during closed beta to make sure everything is working properly and to address such issues for an official release/open beta. The beginning of open beta has a lot of events lined up already. Every Tuesday there is a nice little two-hour slot where players can earn triple the silver points for playing games. We also have a GM-hosted event lined up for the next two Fridays with the prize being Suba Points. We're testing the waters with this type of event in particular and if it proves to be popular then we might also make that one a weekly event as well. We'll see what we can come up with to entertain players. There's always WOGL as well with their Tournaments and matchups as well if that tickles one's fancy.
OnRPG: Well is there anything else you'd like to say to the readers before we wrap this up?
MrSaturn: If MAT sounds interesting thus far to anyone who happens to be reading this and hasn't tried the game out, be sure to visit http://mat.subagames.com, the official website for Mission Against Terror. There you'll find the client that you can download, account registration, a basic overview of the game, a listing of the upcoming events for MAT... pretty much everything that you'll need to get up to speed! Open Beta is live, no beta keys required! Multiplayer games are always more enjoyable when you're playing with friends so if you like the game, invite a friend or two and team up!
OnRPG: Thank you for your time!