Tag Archives: Gigantic

On Big Things

Let’s talk about Gigantic.

Not a MOBA

MOBA is joining RPG in that the meaning of the acronym applies to many games not included in the genre. “Multiplayer Online Battle Arena” is a good description, but Gigantic doesn’t have minions, it doesn’t really have lanes, and you can’t break your enemy’s base. Instead, it has capture points, and summons, and giant fighting creatures.

The goal in Gigantic is to destroy the enemy team’s Guardian while defending your own, but that is a bit like saying the goal in Football is to score more points than the other team. In Gigantic, this is accomplished by performing various actions that grant Energy to your guardian. When it has a full bar, it will go rampaging toward the enemy guardian, rendering it vulnerable to player attacks for a little while. Kills grant energy, as does attacking the opposing guardian when it’s not vulnerable (this actually steals energy, but requires getting through the enemy team without dying). I think the capture points have some effect on how quickly your bar fills, but I didn’t get a chance to see that during the playtest. Since only one guardian is on the offense at a time, it plays out a bit like a football game, with alternating attack and defense.

After enough times of this (or I think if one of the guardians is low enough on health?) The Clash begins, and the guardians adopt positions that are much closer to each other, effectively reducing the playable space. Points can no longer be captured once this happens, and kills are worth increased energy. This greatly accelerates the pace of the game, creating a definite “endgame” scenario. It remains to be seen (by me, anyway) if this prevents games from being drawn out unnecessarily.


Summon Creature

The mechanic for capturing points is also somewhat non-standard. Points are taken by summoning creatures on them while they’re neutral. Which creature you summon seems to have some effect on your team, one example is a treant that slowly healed the team members that were near it. There was also a cerberus that granted vision of the enemy team on the minimap, and a drake of some kind that I don’t know what it did. These creatures fight for you in any confrontation close enough to the summoning point, which makes defending one much easier (generally) than attacking one. I would say it takes a coordinated effort to take one out, but it’s possible that the character I was playing (Charnok) is too squishy for it. Belghast claimed that he came close to doing it with Margrave (who is a tank) and probably could have if he were more familiar with the game. These summoning points are the territory control mechanism, and they’re the points that fights tend to start around unless one of the guardians is currently on the offensive.

gigantic canyon summoning circle

Motley Crew

One of the things I find very interesting about Gigantic (but unfortunately didn’t get a chance to personally explore) is that you are playing a very different game depending on which hero you’re currently playing as. The cast isn’t yet very large, but they seem to have a lot of archetypes covered. There are 14 revealed heroes, and Motiga mentioned that there are more in development. There seem to be a few characters for people who really like shooters (Voden, Roland, Imani, HK) who all focus on somewhat different roles. Imani for example is fragile, has a large crossbow, and is a sniper. HK is more durable and firmly believes in the Vladof philosophy, making his effective range somewhat shorter.

There are also a variety of characters who don’t rely on such careful aim, including most of the game’s melee characters. The already-mentioned Margrave is a tank, and can be quite disruptive while not dying. Tyto (the owl-dude who seems to be prominent in the game’s marketing) is very dangerous and fairly evasive, but can’t take much punishment. These characters rely much less on your aiming ability, and instead on your ability to navigate the map and get to where you can be the most effective.

There are characters that don’t fit neatly into either of these camps like Xenobia, who has a kit filled with debuffs and support via murder (or enabling murder), or Vadasi who is a more traditional supporting character and can power her abilities with her own health. (I’m told these two pair very well on the same team.) There are also a few mage-types, like Mozo and Charnok, who I got to play at PAX.


Categorizing this game is somewhat difficult, other than “surprisingly fun” and “competitive multiplayer”. I suppose it also has arenas in which you do battle online. I look forward to more coming out about this one, because I can’t wait to play more of it.

On San Antonio

As you may or may not be aware, I spent this past weekend at PAX South, with Belghast and Rae. I had a really fun time, and it was my first time seeing both of them in person, despite talking to them over the internet for years. They’re both awesome, and it made for a really fun day to wander around with them on Saturday.

This was the first annual PAX South, so my only point of comparison is PAX East in previous years. Compared to that, this show was a little smaller, and quite a bit more relaxed. Very few of the bigger publishers came at all, and Nintendo was the only representative of the Big 3 (And even then, they were only there to show off their New 3DS). As a result, the biggest booths belonged to Twitch and a pair of companies I’d never heard of before: Motiga and Greybox. Sadly, Greybox’s booth was incredibly crowded the entire time and so I didn’t get to see much of their games (Grey Goo and Dreadnought). Here are my highlights from the show:

A Gigantic Success

Gigantic is my game of the show, despite having to overcome some major obstacles: I knew nothing about it going in, I generally don’t like competitive shooters (I did have a small bit of enjoyment with Tribes a while back), and I’m already invested in a particular MOBA (League of Legends). Knowing nothing about it other than it controlled with WASD, I was seated in a group where 8 people had played before, and only Rae and I had not. After someone else on our team picked the minotaur-looking thing I was initially going to play, I opted for the dragon, and this turned out to be a great choice. Playing was a lot of fun, and it wasn’t until after we finished that I learned that it was Angry Joe on the other side of the table.

It turns out Gigantic isn’t entirely a shooter or a MOBA, but it does take elements from both.I think I have a lot more to say about this one than I’m willing to put in a PAX blurb, so look for that in the near future.


This Feels Familiar

I’m not going to say Brawlhalla is Smash Brothers without Nintendo characters, but it would be hard to complete this paragraph without that statement. It’s a 2D Brawler in the Smash Bros. style with a few differences. For starters, the game revolves around the weapon system, where each character has a small selection of possible weapon pickups that they can get from picking up glowing swords scattered around the battlefield. Gnash, for example, can get either a hammer or a spear. Some characters have shared weapons, but they have a few unique moves with each. Another thing is that all of the characters have three jumps and Mega Man X-style wall sliding/jumping, so recovery is less emphasized and most KOs are going to be via a direct ejection. The primary thing it seems to have over Smash Bros is that it’s on the PC, so we’ll have to see if that’s enough.

Brawlhalla 1

More Strategic Than Pokémon

Moonrise is a game I find interesting, not only for the claims I heard from Jeff Strain at PAX, from whose words I took this section title. In all honestly Moonrise reminds me more of Jade Cocoon than Pokémon, given the limited set of elements and ability for your player character to actually fight. It departs from most creature battling games by being pseudo-real-time, with actions that take certain amounts of time to perform, ATB-style. This does open up the possibility of things like interrupts and forces you to make decisions faster, so we’ll see how it shakes out. It’s already out if you’re in Canada, Sweden, or Denmark and own an iPad. Hopefully it’ll come out elsewhere soon.


Mark of Shame Award

I just feel the need to say that as the closest major Dev, Gearbox should have shown up with something awesome, and they barely came at all. Everything they had to say was part of a mini-panel, and since the panels were in their specific rooms and not on the schedule it was hard to plan around them. Other than the panel, they didn’t have anything really on display. When I even asked about Battleborn, they just told me to look at the website.

The runner-up for this one is Riot Games. I can see why they wouldn’t bring their big booth, but their panel left a lot to be desired. They originally had a pair of panels scheduled for Saturday, one in the afternoon and one in the late evening, with no indication of what they were going to show. By Saturday, the afternoon panel was announced as one on Champion Design, and the late panel was cancelled. The afternoon panel consisted of Ghostcrawler asking four other Riot employees champion design questions, followed by a Q&A. The minimalism of this panel (especially compared to other things Riot’s done in the past) makes me wonder if whatever they had planned on showing just wasn’t ready. I guess we’ll never know.

And the Rest

Hive Jump was on display, and it looks like it’s shaping up to be awesome. I backed it when it was on kickstarter, so that’s always nice to see. Faded is running a kickstarter right now, and looks like it might be cool if they can get a few things worked out. I also played a game called Pixel with some interesting ideas, although I’m not sure if it’s my sort of game.

Overall I found far more good than bad at the show, so I hope that future incarnations of it are successful. With there being 3 options for PAX in this country now, it’s my hope that more people get a chance to experience it. I’m off to go play more Citizens of Earth, so until next time.