The Future of Laser League
ROLL7’S LETTER TO THE LASER LEAGUE COMMUNITY
Statement – https://bit.ly/2MKvSJo
A MESSAGE TO THE COMMUNITY – 505 GAMES
We are very proud of what Roll7 and 505 Games have achieved together to this point with Laser League. A huge amount of energy has been dedicated to Laser League through the announcement a little over a year ago, multiple betas, Early Access PC launch and most recently the console release.
Laser League is a complex game to explain but when people play it the reaction is almost universally and overwhelmingly positive. It is the game which always causes the biggest ruckus in the 505 offices. There is no wonder it is getting 9/10 review scores from even the most particular of gaming media (Hi Edge!)
Because of its complexities, Laser League comes with its own unique challenges to convey what the game is about, something which 505 Games have tried tirelessly to overcome throughout the campaign. “What the hell is going on exactly?!”
By far the biggest issue we have faced however is that Laser League relies on a minimum number of players in the game at any given time to ensure a decent match-making experience (a problem shared by many modern multi-player games- see Lawbreakers, Agents of Mayhem..)
The extreme speed and twitchiness of Laser League’s unique gameplay exacerbates this problem means that we have to segregate North American, European and Asian players on different servers for decent ping times making ‘liquidity’ even harder.
Then of course we have to segregate by player level, then by 2v2, 3v3 etc.
The original intention was to launch PC and console simultaneously with PC/console cross play to overcome some of these challenges but knew that the technical complexities of Laser League, most of them new to Roll7, made this risky.
Consequently we decided to let Roll7 focus on proving out the technical risks on PC where it is easier to iterate, run beta programs and run an Early Access campaign to get player feedback and ensure it was the game everyone wanted it to be before turning our attention to console porting. As it turns out the game was already pretty perfect save for the fact that it needed more players.
Along the way we had to file cross-play under ‘too complex’. The downside to this was a split PC/console release which didn’t help our liquidity.
This all amounts to a focus over the last few months on what tactics are going to bring hundreds of thousands of players into the game rather than slowly building a community over time. We have concentrated on Steam Free Weekends, MSFT’s Game Pass, Humble Bundle events, and are in active discussions with Sony about similar initiatives in the future.
Roll7 have completed some of the last remaining features which we believe will really help Laser League’s meta game and there is always the potential in the future of extra content (stadia, etc), but we believe that the big ticket item which will keep Laser League a viable game going forward is CROSS PLAY. We are actively looking into how quickly and efficiently we can bring this into the game.
Having XBO players (including Game Pass subscribers) and PS4 players being able to play against Steam players means that any liquidity events which we run on any platform would help the overall eco-system rather than being siloed to that particular system. It also opens up the feasibility of other platforms (Switch, mobile…)
505 Games were pleased to be able to help Roll7 ‘level up’ to deliver their most ambitious project to date and continue to be a good home for indie developers who have carved their teeth on small budget projects and want to try something more ambitious. We would like to wish Tom, Simon, John and the rest of the team well in whatever they go on to do next. We’re sure it will blow everyone away…again!