CrimeCraft Exclusive InterviewCrimeCraft is a persistent world shooter that aims to put players in the role of some serious thugs, fighting for reputation and money. Incidentally, recently it became a free to play title. Let’s learn more about it.

MMORPG Gate: Can you introduce yourself and your role on CrimeCraft?

My name is Matt McEnerney, I’m the Executive Producer for CrimeCraft.

MMORPG Gate:What is CrimeCraft, and what do you describe as its major selling points?

CrimeCraft is a unique game in that it combines the action combat of a shooter with the community and character development of a MMORPG. Our goal in creating CrimeCraft was to take the very best parts of each genre and combine them into something better than the sum of its parts. People that play MMOs have been stuck with very non-interactive and somewhat boring combat mechanics that haven’t changed since the genre was invented. Find something to kill, fire off your hotkeys in the same sequence for each battle, kill the enemy, collect the loot. Rinse, repeat. PvP opened a new door, in that players will act differently than even the best AI script, but the core mechanic is still exactly the same. Shooters are all about combat, tactics and most of all skill.

On the other hand, what shooters lack is character affinity and socialization. A typical shooter has the player jump into the role of either a predefined character or choose from a very limited number of characters that fit the same mold. More recent shooters have started introducing limited RPG aspects with gaining levels and skills, but nothing like the character advancement and itemization that can be found in even the most basic MMORPG.
We took the skill-based gameplay of the shooter and the character development, grouping and guilds (Gangs) of an MMORPG and created a new genre we’re calling the Persistent World Next-gen Shooter (PWNS).

CrimeCraft Exclusive InterviewMMORPG Gate: CrimeCraft features an original setting for MMOs. Players were enthusiastic about it or do you personally feel that the fantasy genre is still carved too deep in their mentalities?

I think there are enough fantasy MMOs out there that the difference between them is vanilla, vanilla bean or French vanilla. We wanted to offer some chocolate for a change. Players are psyched. The Gangster theme is still a fictional archetype that anyone, regardless of where they live in the world, can relate to and identify. In many respects it is far more mainstream than elves and dragons. We’ve also kept the setting pretty open so people can roleplay however they’d like. If your gang wants to dress up as a paramilitary group, they can do that. If you prefer a more light hearted take on your gaming you can rock Rastafarian outfits.

MMORPG Gate: Vogster Entertainment has recently added a free to play option. What motivated this change?

When we first announced CrimeCraft in April of 2008 we were planning on making the game Free to Play. As we moved closer to launch we took a look at what the F2P market looked like and where we were from a polish and gameplay perspective and decided to move toward a more traditional boxed product and monthly fee model. We signed a fantastic agreement with Best Buy and THQ for exclusive retail distribution rights for launch. Post-launch now, we want to make sure that we can bring as many people into the game as possible since players are really what make the game move. We want to make sure that there are options that cater to all the various play-styles of potential consumers – F2P for new or casual players, Standard Membership for people wanting a little more and Premium Membership for our core base. Additionally, our retail presence at Best Buy is still going strong and is still the best way to get the most out of the game (3 months of Premium Subscription, some Gold Bars for clothing options and a host of exclusive items).

MMORPG Gate: How is the free to play model turning out, in terms of player base?

CrimeCraft Exclusive InterviewSo far, so good. We’re seeing thousands of players come into the game that might not otherwise have done so. Some of them are converting to membership plans, others are taking their time and playing for free. We want to make sure that people are having fun even if they aren’t paying since those are our future customers as well as our evangelists that spread word to their friends about the games they are playing.

MMORPG Gate: Vogster Entertainment recently went through a restructuring. Did this affect CrimeCraft and future projects in any way?

It allowed us to concentrate more directly on CrimeCraft. In the natural ebb and flow of game development it takes more people to get to launch than it takes to add additional content and features after launch. Normally these people would be assigned to another project that was moving out of pre-production into production, but we decided to get lean and mean and put a few other projects on hold so we could dedicate our very best people to the continuing expansion and improvement of CrimeCraft.

MMORPG Gate: Any major updates for CrimeCraft you would like to share with us?

We just launched our first big update at the end of October that introduced a new gameplay type, a new NPC gang and some additional story elements. We have several other updates in the works right now that will add new maps and features like Gang Tournaments and a new meta-game that will really bring the core focus of Gang vs. Gang warfare to the forefront.