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MultiVersus Interview - Designer Ian Rapoport Explains How the Fighter is Better Than Ever

We spoke with Designer Ian Rapoport about lessons learned from the beta, how players will be able to enjoy MultiVersus without it sinking too much time, and who he's maining at the moment.

Audio transcription

"What are some of the biggest things you think you and the team have learned from the open beta and what led to the decision to say goodbye to the game for a few months?
Because I believe at one time there was the idea that maybe it could just run straight from beta into a full release pretty smooth."

"Yeah, I mean, we learned so much from the open beta and this bit of time from the open beta to our full release has been really essential to essentially just take all this feedback we've gotten and really execute it and incorporate it into the game as best we could.
So this includes some pretty big overhauls behind the scenes to improve our netcode and just make a more reliable and a more enjoyable experience for players all over."

"This also includes a lot of tweaks with our combat and our gameplay, doing lots of stuff to make everything feel much more deliberate and much more visceral.
So a lot of tweaks with our attacks and all the kind of small adjustments of, hey, maybe this attack has a little bit larger of like a whiff frame on the end of it and giving it more strength but giving opponents more opportunity to kind of counter on it."

"Also adding in more attacks like dash attacks, which are kind of like big powerful attacks that everybody in the cast has gotten that are really fun to just kind of pick up and play and get some good ring outs early on with them, but also can kind of leave you more exposed on the competitive level. We've added the parry system in which gives us another defensive wrinkle and gives players more options to play defensively, read their opponent. PVE has been a huge addition with the rifts. I know a lot of players love these characters and love just kind of like hopping online, punching some stuff, but maybe don't necessarily want to get super competitive and super sweaty and ranked or like to do a little bit of both. So this gives us an opportunity to give players something that can be directed toward the, like against the game, can be a little bit more casual, a little bit more zany, but still have its own hooks for like progression and a lot of like cool discoveries to find and ways to customize your character that aren't available in our traditional kind of competitive game modes. But yeah, it's just like we got so much feedback in our open beta and just have kind of taken all of that and sprinkled it across the game and made something we're really excited about. Really cool, there's a lot as you're going over there, there's a lot of like big changes that are coming in. I've noticed like the combat being quicker and the single player stuff especially is something I wanted to touch on."

"Do you see that being more of a focus going forward, giving people who maybe don't want to, as you say, like get there, you know, get beaten up and ranked basically, as my experience goes usually. But something maybe sort of pushing towards, even we've seen a lot of fighting games now even have their own sort of story modes, is that something that's maybe on the cards way down the line? So we're really excited with everything we've been able to add with rifts thus far and in terms of having bits of narrative in between the different nodes you go across through progression and having a bunch of exciting new game modes and kind of twists on what you'd expect and we're excited to build on the rift mode as we kind of continue development for multiverses and season one and beyond but specifics beyond that we'll just kind of have to wait and see you know. Very cool and we talked a bit before as well about like competitive play and how do you sort of, from a design perspective, how do you go in and how do you focus on say competitive versus casual? Like do you sort of maybe look at the game with a more competitive edge and then sort of leave the casual players as sort of okay they're going to have fun no matter what we do or do you sort of balance it pretty equally? Yeah it definitely depends."

"I would say for the character's base moveset we want that's always going to be accessible in casual and competitive play and anything that's going to be in competitive play needs to have that balance of is this a fun attack to use but does it also feel fair to play against it?
So that kind of ties into hey maybe some of our stronger attacks will give it kind of more end lag on the back side of it so you can throw it out and it feels really good to hit it but there's going to be more of an opportunity if your opponent kind of sees that coming and they can punish you for it. But when we get into rifts and our gem system and our kind of mutators for different nodes you run into that's where we can kind of really push the power in really crazy ways because we don't have to worry about like your opponent having a bad time you're playing against the game and the game is just here to help you have fun so we can do stuff with like there's like an infinite jump mutator and like obviously that would be feel pretty awful if your opponent could just keep jumping forever and it would just make it super hard to actually get them out of the match but if there's those kinds of crazy powers that we can throw into the the rift side and you can kind of take your character's weaknesses and cover them up in really unique ways but yeah it's been really exciting to kind of just go crazy on the rift side and really push things to their limits but yeah we always want to keep anything that's going to be in the competitive side with that balance of like is this fun to use but is it still kind of fair to go up against it doesn't feel you don't want people going up against a certain character like oh this is the worst yeah sort of like i think in the beta like bag fin was always something i tried to avoid yeah there's been a lot of tweaks to fin for sure yeah um it's as well something that i really like about multiversus um is that i i prefer to play with a friend on the 2v2s um and but i just imagine that that must have like a real added level of complexity to when you're balancing it because you've not only got to think about a 1v1 scenario you've got to think about how each character's assists can well each character can sort of bounce off each other i was just wondering if you could explain the sort of process that goes into making sure each character is not only balanced in a 1v1 fight against each other but they're also not too powerful when paired together yeah yeah it's an interesting um kind of process because it's it's one of those things where you can look at a character on their own and all the powers you add to them um but once they kind of mix and match with the rest of the cast there's a lot more discovery that happens and that can be really exciting where you're like oh i never we designed this character with something specific in mind boy these work together and like this is crazy powerful and it's really cool uh but we also want to make sure that it doesn't feel um you know super broken or super awful to play against um i would say in terms of power tuning we do want to push like those co-op abilities to be a bit on the stronger side if you are uh synchronizing with your teammate and really like working together as a team there's some really crazy powerful stuff you can pull off uh but it it's i think it just comes down to a lot of play testing a lot of listening to the community uh we want to keep our ears always open if something feels like it is gone too far uh and just check it out a lot in game um a lot at the studio play a lot of matches with different characters and just try to see how far we can push things so yeah it's that that edge between this feels awesome and does this feel like a little bit too far and trying to find that like the perfect sweet spot it is it's always an effort i find with like fighting games uh not you know just from playing them even there's always seems to be something that changes a little bit each time like you like you know it'll be an accidental thing of someone's really powerful because the person who was really powerful last patch is suddenly no longer powerful and we talked a bit before about the two big changes sort of coming in with to combat that i've noticed with dash attack and parries sort of really changing that combat and it feels pretty like pretty complete at this point but would you ever see maybe further down the line another big change like that something that is sweeping across all characters uh i mean at the moment we don't have anything specific planned uh but i would say our ears are always open we're always listening to feedback with the community if it um if it feels like there is something that isn't playing as well as we would have liked or if we're seeing a lot of player sentiment toward something where we're always um yeah trying to stay engaged with those conversations and see whatever is best for the game at any given moment yeah cool there is like a huge community focus and something that i find with um live service titles nowadays is the huge community sometimes uh will find that something like a battle pass they might not be able to get to the end of it within the time uh given how do you look to balance things like a battle pass or other sort of limited time things in a live service era to ensure that people don't maybe feel pressurized to spend more time um than they would otherwise like to yeah so that kind of leads into another big change with our full release as we've done a lot of tweaks with progression um and even how you get gleamium so yeah it's like battle passes being a limited time thing um we want to make sure those things that you can be getting in the future there are going to be alternative ways to get it um and even with gleamium which in the open beta was a very restrictive thing was only accessible through actually purchasing it we now have ways to either get it through the battle pass or through events so there's more avenues to kind of chase after the cosmetics the rewards you're seeking as a player and be able to get those through gameplay and kind of and having more options just gives the game a lot more flexibility to kind of getting what you want from out from it yeah now the answer here is probably already know but uh the sky always seems the limit with multiverses as characters is there anything from a design point where you look at a character that people have maybe fan cast or put forward and you think that isn't possible because i would have said maybe the iron giant wasn't possible but then the iron giant's in the game and he works really well so is there anything where you think maybe that guy's not possible uh a lot goes into kind of deciding the cast um it's hard to kind of yeah sum up super succinctly but we are we're listening and we're always having those discussions behind the scenes yeah cool cool um just going back sort of towards community i guess and competitiveness as well we've seen multiverses at evo and not sort of jumping the gun a bit but is there sort of plans to get it more out into the competitive space is you know on big stages like evo again uh yeah i don't think we have anything to announce at the moment but we're always interested in the competitive scene for sure cool cool um last couple of questions um as a rhine dog main myself i have to ask are there any plans at any point um down the line for maybe more original characters that we can see uh for now i can only say we're kind of focused on our our launch roster um but yeah but you know we'll have to see what the future holds yeah um and just just a final fun one who do you like to main who's your favorite you know character to go for oh yeah it it um i like to mix it up a lot um i have been really excited to play aria lately i think a lot of the the tweaks been able to get um since open beta are really exciting her dash attack feels really good um there's been a lot of revisions to kind of her face steal mechanic that i think with a lot of with the time we've kind of invested uh since open beta we've been able to push that ability a bit further to i think kind of what we've always wanted it to be so when she steals attacks um there's a bigger range of attacks you can steal from and it feels really exciting to go into a match and be like to like look at the your opponent your allies and you're like okay how can i kind of mix and match this situation and really feel that power and like kind of how things can spiral in really exciting ways so right now aria is really exciting uh i love jason a lot too i think i just love characters that hit hard and maybe you just need like one or two really good hits to to win the match but that's that's what feels great yeah yeah sweet i think that's it's that time i think that's that's everything i've i've i've got"

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