Since the PC beta release of Paladins: Champions of the Realm, the game has seen an influx of new players joining month over month, ranking among the top 5 most popular free-to-play games on Steam.
With consistent content updates via new maps and champions, Hi-Rez Studios seems to have struck gold again with its latest free-to-play title. The game also recently went into open beta on both PS4 and Xbox One, allowing console players to join in on the fun as well.
DualShockers recently spoke with Todd Harris, Hi-Rez Studios Co-founder, COO and Executive Producer of Paladins.
Marc: What was the thought process behind making Paladins a free-to-play title? Did you guys know it would be free from the beginning?
Todd Harris: Yes, Paladins was designed from the beginning to be free-to-play. We really love the free-to-play model since it allows players to try the game for themselves before every deciding whether or not they want to spend money. And even if players never spend money they can continue to enjoy the core game experience. With a multiplayer title, matchmaking also works better with a very large player community and so free-to-play helps in that way as well. Our game Smite has done very well on consoles as free-to-play, and so we felt Paladins could as well.
M: What is the design process like when coming up with new and original Champions? Where do you guys draw inspiration from?
TH: For gameplay mechanics we draw a lot of inspiration from our first game Global Agenda released in 2010. That game had class-based shooter combat with abilities and ultimates.
M: The game has made a huge shift in gameplay from its alpha stage to its current state. What made you guys want to completely overhaul the core game mode?
TH: We are a very iterative and community-driven developer. In Closed Beta we tested many different game-modes and the current Siege mode was most enjoyed by our players. We will continue to test and release new modes.
M: Can players look forward to seeing any kind of cross game promotions, outside of skins? Maybe some Smite Gods making an appearance in Paladins?
TH: We already have Grover (the tree), so anything is possible.
M: Do you have a set number of Champions you want to release, or can players expect a steady stream of new Champions similar to Smite? Can we expect more maps after the beta?
TH: We are releasing new Champions at a very rapid pace right now, much faster than Smite in fact. We will slow down to about one a month in August. And definitely more maps – perhaps about once a quarter.
M: What was the craziest game Mode concept you guys came up with during the design phase and can we look forward to playing it at any point? Maybe as a special event?
TH: I think the craziest modes are still to come.
M: Paladins has many interesting champions but their stories seem to be missing. Can we expect lore for the champions in the future?
TH: Yes, later this year we will be releasing more lore. The Champions have very interesting stories, we just haven’t revealed those yet.
M: A few years ago free-to-play wasn’t nearly as popular as it is now. Over the last few years we have seen free-to-play become a normal thing, and accepted among gamers. Where do you see the gaming industry going in the next few years in regards to the free to play model?
TH: For multiplayer games I think free-to-play is a better model – both for the players and the developer. Gamers today would rather be “sold” by quality gameplay, not a marketing trailer.
M: Why did you decide to create a class based shooter over any other genre?
TH: Again it probably goes back to our early days with Global Agenda being a class based shooter. We really enjoy that genre because it is action-based but also requires strategy and teamwork. It really supports competition well.
M: Are you planning to support Project Scorpio? If yes, what kind of support can we expect for the console?
TH: It looks like great technology. We are scoping the effort now but no commitment yet.
M: Are you considering a port for Nintendo Switch?
TH: Not at this time. The current focus is PC/Mac, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.
Paladins: Champions of the Realm is currently in open beta on PC/Mac, PS4 and Xbox One. Founder’s Packs for the game can be purchased for $19.99 on all three platforms and gives access to all current and future champions, 10 radiant chests, an exclusive Ares Fernando skin and an exclusive Warhorse mount.