Beside League of Legends Y Fortnite, Minecraft is one of the phenomena in the world of videogames that has left the most imprint on culture and the media industry. Therefore, it is not surprising that Xbox and Mojang try to take advantage of the brand and its aesthetics in derivative products that, until now, have not finished settling, such as minecraft earth Y minecraft dungeon.
However, something in Minecraft Legends tells us that this time may be different, although it probably won’t reach the community of 173 million monthly active players that the game it’s based on has. After chatting through Teams with Dennis Riesexecutive producer at Mojang Studios, and Lee Pedersonexecutive producer at Blackbird Interactive, it became clear to us that there are very good ideas behind the title that will reach all platforms on April 18 (and that it will be on Game Pass from day one).
It may be because of the particular way in which he approaches a genre that is usually perceived as complex, the strategy, with an important touch of action and with some simple bases (not simple). Maybe it is because the nuclear elements of Minecraftsuch as construction and collaboration, are also an intrinsic part of Legends. Or that he multiplayer, with its short gamesunique and with a predilection for chaos, may be to the taste of those less skilled in this type of game.
Competitive multiplayer and cooperative campaign
Minecraft Legends it consists of two parts. On the one hand, a open world campaign huge procedurally generated. The story places us in a universe where everyone lives together: villagers, creepers with funny little hats, zombies and animals. until they arrive piglins, some anthropomorphic pigs with a nice design whose only desire is destruction. Thus, in that campaign we will have to go gathering an army of mobs (as the enemies are called in the Mojang game) to destroy the bases of the invaders. It can be played in online cooperative (no local multiplayer) with up to three other players, regardless of whether they play in PC, PlayStation, Xbox or Switch; however, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo machine users who create the game will only be able to invite one player due to hardware limitations.
But our conversation with those most responsible for the title focused on the other part of Legendsequally important, which was made clear during development: both halves of the project, the campaign and the multiplayer, have been developed in parallel since 2018. The competitive side offer short 4 vs 4 games (in private games, hosted on the PC or console of the user who creates the game, they can play less) where the objective is destroy the opponent’s baseaccompanied by an army of mobs and gradually improving our fortifications. What is curious, interesting and even exciting in this way is how do you integrate the components of Minecraft and it incorporates many of his ideas into its mechanics, such as construction and the procedural, something that at first might seem antagonistic to other proposals of the genre.
Strategy based on “chaotic fun”
Let’s start with that: the procedural world. “Is a different world every time you open the game and you start a new game,” promises Blackbird Interactive executive producer Lee Pederson. “It’s a much smaller world than the campaign, a tighter environment, and we want people to have a 20-30 minute PvP game experience. Because of that we needed to make the world a little smaller. In the world you have to find out where your opponents are, you have to build your base, you have to form a strategy to attack your enemies. The ultimate goal is to destroy the opponent’s base.”
The developers of the title say in one of the promotional videos something that may shock fans of games like starcraft Y Age of Empires: the chaotic fun about balance. At least, about the balance as understood in the RTS. “When we started developing the game we did a prototype, a PVP mode, and that’s where the term chaotic fun comes from. We realized that with the elements we have in the game, it feels very chaotic, with crazy situations and difficult to predict. We took that as an inspiration for the final game”, explains Pederson, who admits that yes adjustments have been made in the size of the map and in “the distribution of resources and their arrangement in the environments”.
Dennis Ries, executive producer at Mojang, elaborates on this point: “Procedurally generated worlds have definitely created a dynamic where it was different from having static maps like in typical PVP experienceswhere you can adjust those maps so that they are fully balanced […] So we embrace the chaotic fun that comes with that procedural world. Although sometimes it might seem that not everything is perfectly balanced, and you might find the position of an advantageous enemy base, there may be many good resources in your areaso you’ll have a different kind of advantage than the other team with a base in a more secure position, but having to travel farther to get resources.”
Building, collecting and creativity
Another nuclear piece of Minecraft is the construction and the creativity that is associated with it, and that will be evident in each game, both when it comes to choose which fortifications and offensive instruments to manufacture, as at the time of planning the design of our base. Is it better to surround it with different walls or to arrange walls in such a way that they form a labyrinth? Ries speaks of the “creative aspect” of the title as one of the hallmarks of Minecraft applied to Legendsbut they have also focused on two others: exploration and collaboration.
The first is very important for the progression systems in the game, that is, for improve our fortifications and enlarge our armies. “There’s a scouting part to the game: going out and finding where your opponent’s base is, but also explore what resources you can exploitsays Ries. “You may want to create a Redstone based strategygo out and collect, upgrade and find resources that you need to build something like a Redstone launcher, which is like a trebuchet, and start an offense to attack your opponent?”
The constitution of the army is similar. “A player can go looking for resources, allowing you to invoke mobs; can summon a limited number of mobs. In addition, the mobs that you can summon depend on a specific resource,” continues Mojang’s executive producer. “For example, if you want a stone glem you’ll need stone to summon it. If you want a Creeper you will need coal to summon it. So what you will have to do is collect the resource that will allow you to summon mobsand then you take those mobs and direct them to do what you need them to do.” The limit of mobs that can accompany the player is “quite high”, according to Reis. Lee Pederson adds: “You can direct them to a specific place. You can have them just follow you and attack things that get in the way, but you can also send them. The hero doesn’t have to be there for the mobs to attack or do any other actions.”
Collaboration, violent little pigs, and mod!
The variety of actions that must be carried out in each game usually naturally encourage collaborationanother of the pillars of Minecraft. “When I think about PVP I think of all the different roles that people can assume“, says Pederson, who narrates how in the test sessions they have seen “super interesting strategies” that they had not thought of. “Someone can be the collector of resources to keep the chests full. someone can be a advocate and build towers. can someone be exploring and find the mobs for the team. Someone can be the attacker, and another specialized in piglins You can fight them and collect their resources.”
Ah, the piglins! The anthropomorphic little pigs are another of the keys to games that promise to be agile and always surprising. Its objective, in the words of Reis, is none other than “cause trouble here and there”. “They will attack both bases with equanimity, they don’t care, they just want to destroy. So you and your opponent will have to look for the piglins and be careful with them.” This opens the door to interesting strategies, such as waiting for an offensive on the enemy by the pigs to attack us at that time. In addition, when finished with piglins a material is obtained that “you can use for upgrades and basically become more powerful.” Therefore, function as a mobile and violent resource to take into account when designing the strategy.
We have the procedurality, the construction, the creativity, the collaboration But something key is still missing in Minecraft. And they have not forgotten about it. “You can put mod to the game”confirms Ries, who clarifies that not having official support for mod, but on PC there will be “open” files as in the base game so that the most knowledgeable in the matter “experiment” with them. “Since we use the Bedrock Engine [el mismo que la versin de Windows y consolas del ttulo de Mojang], you can modify the game. We know that this will happen […] It’s interesting because our community is MinecraftY there is a culture of modding in minecraftSo I think there’s going to be a part of the community that’s going to love modding the game. We’re very excited to see what people do.”
The journey to a world in constant mutation begins on April 18
In the absence of putting ourselves at the controls (or at the mouse and keyboard, according to the preferences of each one), it is undeniable that Minecraft Legends it is full of good ideas and that, despite being a derivative product, is at least original. Something in which the executive producer of Mojang agrees: “It is a type of experience that is hard to describe until you play the title and begin to realize the variety of strategies that are used. It’s been really fun to see how unique this game is. It is a very creative game, and I don’t think you’ve seen many like thisat least that we have found”.
We have conducted this interview through Microsoft Teams thanks to an invitation from Xbox Iberia.