Spellbreak is a new kind of battle royale game that lets you cast powerful spells instead of equipping you with guns. Spellbreak recently launched on all major platforms and has received glowing reviews. We had the opportunity to ask a few questions to Proletariat Inc., the studio behind Spellbreak, about the game, the game’s development and more. Enjoy!
All questions were answered by Cardell Kerr – Executive Producer
The gaming space is pretty flooded with battle royales. It must have been pretty intimidating to jump into that space with another one. How did you guys land on the decision of making a battle royale?
Proletariat has always marched to our own drum. We have some very seasoned games under our belts, and we firmly believe that in order to be successful you need to make something unique enough to stand on its own, and be willing to build a community around your game. Games have changed a lot over the years, and it’s been great to see! There are games for everyone now, and players often shift from game to game. I think avoiding any genre out of worry for competition is fairly unhealthy, as all games compete with other games now. Players need to choose whether they want to spend time in Apex vs spending time grinding the latest event in League. These tensions exist, and its healthy if you lean into it. Game makers should make the games they feel passionate about, and don’t be afraid to be unique.
Was there ever any talk of making Spellbreak more than a battle royale?
We covered this a bit in our PAX talk, but when we first started working on Spellbreak we experimented with a lot of different modes. We have team deathmatches, Extraction point arenas, the list goes on! We eventually decided to focus on trying to perfect the moment to moment combat, and the thread we followed was making the game mode very simple. We still would like to add different modes of course! But as a start, we decided to keep it fairly simple since the rest of the game is quite unique.
All the gauntlets are really unique in terms of what they bring to the table when jumping into a game. How was the process of determining what the gauntlets would do or how they would act?
I would love to tell you it was all planned out, but each gauntlet followed a large amount of iteration. When we started, we knew we wanted each element to play quite differently. Mixing and matching the styles was something we wanted each player to be able to do, and since all the magical breaker characters have two gauntlets it was a very clear mix and match system. When we started, we actually didn’t have singular classes per element either, so it was even more important to tie the gauntlets to unique playstyles.
The main guide we followed here was adhering to the elemental themes. We wanted Earth to be at an advantage if it was on the ground. We wanted Wind to be able to be elusive. Each element was tweaked to enhance its themes while trying to balance the counterplay within Spellbreak itself.
I’m sure you guys went through many iterations of gauntlet abilities and play styles. Were there any gauntlets/classes that almost made it to the full game? Or maybe some that you guys liked but just didn’t make sense for the game?
We actually have a bunch of classes that simply stopped making sense once we decided to follow the thread of simplification. The good news is that a lot of those classes were fertile ground to the talent system – the system that allows you to tweak your playstyle a bit. We had to remove a few classes that seemed to be out of place though. The example I’m thinking of used to conjure loot from the sky. It was useful, but it really just made you want to avoid fights or even moving too much. I do think a lot of those ideas will resurface over time though (and some would argue that Mana Vaults are more or less the same thing, just pre populated on the map).
Can we expect more gauntlets/classes in the future?
Jesse released a Roadmap writeup which was a very good summary of what we are looking forward to in growing this game – you can see it in our Reddit. The abridged (and less eloquent version) is yes! We plan on adding both more classes and more gauntlets. There are a lot more themes we can explore within the existing elements we have. In addition, we are excited to add new elements that can keep the game fresh.
Is there a gauntlet/class that is a favorite among the team?
The team is really not unified on anything. Each member of the team really has a particular favorite, and their favorite says more about their preferred style than anything. An example would be one member of the executive team is a die hard Earth main. He likes to keep things straight forward, and I think it is actually something he lives by! Another example would be a member of our QA team who is widely feared by the rest of the team. He is a toxic main, and if you see him, you’re not likely to survive. People are always afraid when he tests their stuff too! So there’s a lot you can learn by a person’s class and gauntlet choices.
I don’t think I have played a battle royale yet where if you make it to the very end and there are only a few teams left, that the chaos gets ramped up to eleven. Every time I make it to the end it is always a fun mess of abilities going off and half of that fun is trying to keep your cool and survive. Was this the vision for Spellbreak? This sort of chaotic endgame?
Absolutely. We wanted Spellbreak to do what no other Battle Royale does – to make you feel like you’re ascending in power as you last longer (and aren’t just lucky). This is why we added a leveling mechanic as you moved through the each phase of the storm – it was specifically to give you new abilities to master and new ways to feel like a true archmage capable of defeating other battle mages like yourself. It’s very unique, and letting people counterplay while still making clever moves was what we spent a lot of time in our alpha and beta on!
Also, the environments in Spellbreak are really impressive. The different castles, ruins and little villages almost hint at some underlying lore in the game. Is that something that will come to Spellbreak at some point?
Its actually great to hear you say that, as the map was a work in progress for us over the course of alpha and beta. We have a lot of lore behind the scenes as to where the Breakers come from, who they are fighting against, and why the world is as shattered as it is. Our plan is to tell this story interactively as the game progresses, as well as have in world repercussions for events and even some player actions. We are very excited to give Spellbreak life that justifies it being the first true BRRPG.
I’m sure the official launch has been exciting and stressful for the whole team. How are things now that the game is finally out in the wild?
Its absolutely humbling to see the reaction to the game. Our company slack is full of streamer clips talking about the game, and the player comments have been almost universally positive. We really worked hard over the summer to launch cross platform, and based on the outpouring from the fan base its been worth it.
That said, I try to keep focused on the next thing. I really believe that our upcoming updates will make people smile even more,
Spellbreak is free to play and I did notice you guys have a store to buy character skins, badges and other little cosmetics items. I personally think Spellbreak has a huge opportunity to offer some really cool cosmetics, given the game’s magical setting. Is this something we can look forward to?
Yes! We started slow on our store cosmetics, but you can expect some very over the top cosmetics coming into the store in the near future. We’ve been working on them for over a year now, so prepare to be impressed!
Also, players can earn gold and cosmetics by just playing the game and leveling up their characters and classes. Will this expand even more with different ways to earn and more stuff to collect?
We want to add even more ways to show off your status, so you can expect that we will add new goals that reward new styles of play with unique rewards. This is just one of the new systems I’m excited to be working on with the team!
Thank you for taking time to answer our questions! I like to end on this question any time I have the chance. If you could offer any advice for people looking to get into game development, what would you tell them?
Getting into Game development is tricky – My advice to most folks now is just start modding games. Work with RPG maker, or any other moddable game to get a proof of concept working. This will teach you a lot of basics about game development, and introduce you to a wider community that can help inform you about things you don’t know. Additionally, mods give you the benefit of seeing a functional mini game after slight modifications that can really give you momentum to keep working and experimenting.