Quake Wars Dev's Next Shooter Adds New Mode, Map, and Character

We talk with Splash Damage, the developer behind the futuristic London-based shooter Dirty Bomb about new features coming to the beta soon.

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The upcoming online shooter Dirty Bomb from developer Splash Damage is still in beta, but a few big additions are coming later this week: a new Merc design, a new mode, and a new map.

If you're unfamiliar with the game, you can read our impressions from last month. But in short, Dirty Bomb is a multiplayer-only game set in a near-future London. The city has been ravaged by a radioactive weapon, and you take on the role of a mercenary to loot the city for money, meds, and information.

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We recently talked with the developer about the additions coming to the current beta as well as how monetization is going to work in Dirty Bomb.

GameSpot: We've seen Nader before, but this Merc's been changed up considerably it seems. Can you tell us more about her?

Splash Damage: Nader's still German and fond of her grenade launcher. We had a few improvements we wanted to make to how her grenade launcher works, which both makes it feel better to use and less likely to cause unexpected explosions!

Where does Nader fit in compared to the other characters in the game? What's she great at compared to the others, and where are her weaknesses? Who is she best paired up with in a three-character loadout?

In many ways, Nader is a more mobile version of Fragger; her grenades aren't quite as powerful, but she has more of them and can use them in mid-range combat more easily. Normally either Nader or Fragger are picked to give solid front line hitting power and the capability to quickly clear out enemy deployables like mines and health stations, letting Proxy and Bushwhacker get to the objective for a quick C4 plant or defuse. Nader's Martyrdom ability is the other reason that she tends to end up a bit closer to objectives than Fragger, as her last resort detonation can sometimes be the thing that prevents a last-second enemy defuse.

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You're also unveiling a new mode--Execution. What's this mode all about?

Execution is Dirty Bomb's take on the classic "bombing run" game mode, with a series of attacking and defending rounds and one life per player. It's a fairly familiar ruleset for shooter players, but when you add in our Merc synergy and energetic action, it really feels like something different… suddenly a single Merc ability use can change an entire round, be it a timely revive on Proxy or Bushwhacker, a Heartbeat Sensor that reveals an enemy rush to a particular bombsite, or an Airstrike that wipes out an entire enemy team. Add the ability to swap Mercs in between rounds to counter the enemy's strategy, and it really makes for an interesting tactical battle outside of the moment-to-moment gameplay.

It is a prototype game mode, which means we plan to see what players think of it and evolve it rapidly before adding final polish.

The game's primarily built on pace. What sort of strategic concerns will people have to take into consideration when playing Execution?

In a phrase, "balanced aggression." No respawns means that attacking players will often back off quickly after the first engagement, and the defenders are left with the choice of pushing forward to finish off the enemy or keep to the objective defense locations.

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The various Merc support specialties of healing, ammo supply, and quick C4 plant/defuse are what give the gameplay its most interesting facets. It's to a degree true in Objective and Stopwatch modes, but no respawns ends up making Defibs and PDAs real game changers!

Let's talk about this new map. What details can you share? How will the action flow through this new location?

Many players from earlier in the Closed Beta will have played iterations of this map, which we feel has taken many of the best aspects of the other maps to make a really well-playing Dirty Bomb level. It's set in the Greenwich area of London and called Dome, as the distinctive Millennium Dome lurks in the background. The map has been designed with our movement system foremost in mind, and also features numerous secondary objectives for each primary objective stage, which gives a great ebb and flow to the carnage.

The most striking thing about the map visually is that it's most definitely far from finished! Just like Execution Mode, we want to get player feedback and collect metrics before we start layering on the polish, as mentioned we've already been doing this with Dome, and have made adjustments to the blockout geometry each time we've made it available for play.

Dirty Bomb's a free-to-play game. Can you talk a little about how monetization will work?

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The current monetization centers around Mercs and their Loadout Cards. Players can spend gameplay-earned Credits or real money to permanently unlock the various Mercs. We're also working on various other elements such as Credit Boosters, Elite Cases (which contain higher rarity Loadout Cards), and various bundles containing Merc unlocks and Loadout Cards or Cases. Loadout Cards let players pursue different playstyles for a particular Merc by swapping out weapons and Augments, which are bonuses that apply to in-game action. The majority of these configurations are available at low rarity so they can be acquired easily, whereas the rarer Loadout Cards have visual improvements over their lower rarity counterparts. We're already working to address some player feedback on the overall balance of the Augments, as it's a paramount concern of ours that they be on an equal playing field.

Again our approach to our content is similar to how we're developing Execution Mode and new maps like Dome: We want to have different items ready to go, but ultimately we'll be prioritising according to what players want. We hope to grow the catalog organically, just as the community of Dirty Bomb players grows.

Dirty Bomb is still in closed beta, but sign-ups are available on the developer's official website here.

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