In this fast-paced, portal jumping, arena shooter, players are not restricted by classes nor are they limited by only one game mode. They are only limited by the time they want to put into the game.
We talked with 1047 Games CEO and Co-founder, Ian Proulx, about Splitgate Season 1 — their latest and largest update since the game was launched back in May of this year.
We wanted to know what Splitgate was doing for their players and how they were upgrading their successful indie shooting game.
G FUEL: You’re looking at launching Splitgate’s very first "big" update on September 4th. What has the road been like from your launch earlier this year to this point?
Ian: So we had a really good launch - we had over 600,000 users when we launched which obviously for an indie game with a limited budget was great. But we did see some of the player base starting to drop early on, so we looked at what was causing players to drop, not just, you know, anecdotal evidence. The number one thing we would see is this really repeated pattern of a very high percentage of blowout games where, you know, a team wins a very lopsided game. So one of the things we’re doing with the update is changing the ranking system. The ranking system was based off of the good old days of Halo 2 - that’s what I grew up with.
G FUEL: What was the major difference between the Halo 2 style of matchmaking as opposed to the new system you’re rolling out?
Ian: We've revamped our matchmaking system to basically prioritize getting people close games. So there's now, you know, you play 10 placement games, you get ranked somewhere in the middle and then you go from there. Whereas the Halo 2 system, it was everybody starts at rank one and it's a huge grind to get out, to level up.
G FUEL: In your words, how would you say that matchmaking has changed since Halo 2?
Ian: The two fundamental differences between Halo 2 and the newer stuff like Overwatch is how you are placed in your rank. You either start at level one and have to grind your way to the top or you do placement games to determine your skill level. I think I liked the grind back then because I [sic] one of my issues with Overwatch, as you get placed where your rank is pretty quickly and then you're just stuck. In Halo 2, you’re getting progressively harder and you feel like you’re getting better at the game.
G FUEL: Besides the upgrade to the matchmaking system, what other changes can players expect in the new update?
Ian: I mean there's, there's a lot of big changes coming, a lot of our maps are being totally overhauled. Just graphically and performance wise, we've really dug deep to just get as much performance as possible. We've got a battle pass and daily and weekly challenges as well. Oh - and a new map that’s totally unlike any other map we’ve had thus far. Keep your eyes peeled for an ancient temple like map with the new update!
G FUEL: A Battle Pass? That sounds like something we could get into!
Ian: We were lucky enough to have our players give us good feedback not only about the matchmaking underperforming but also that there was a lack of reason for wanting to grind. The game is fun, but why should I keep coming back to play if I'm not really being rewarded? It comes back to our original philosophy of let's keep things simple - this is what we grew up with. So having these daily and weekly challenges and a battle pass where you're unlocking stuff everyday will help players with the grind. The Battle Pass will last ten to twelve weeks, as long as a season, so players will have adequate time to grind for those rewards.
G FUEL: When you talk about challenges, I immediately think of cosmetics or new weapons. What will be coming to the Battle Pass?
Ian: The battle pass is purely cosmetic items as every microtransaction in our game. You can get cool skins or emotes, which is also new to this update as we have emotes now!
G FUEL: I imagine players will be spamming emotes in game before long! Anything else that might be added to the game soon?
Ian: A highly requested feature has been instead of limiting the game to four players, we allow for more players to be added to a team - like how Halo had 8 v 8 big team battle maps. Yeah, I could see us doing that. I think that would be a natural transition of a next big update that people would like.
G FUEL: We hear big team battles and we think Battle Royales! Any chances of a BR mode coming to Splitgate?
Ian: I'm kind of burnt out on battle royales and I think a lot of people are also in there just playing them out of necessity. The next sort of natural progression from just adding in popular modes would be to have mod support or a map maker. Somebody else making a new map, somebody else making some crazy mode. So those are two of the big things. I mean, we haven't started working on either of those, but those are two things that are on our radar that I think would be really good for this game.
G FUEL: A map maker feature would be extremely cool — especially if they could alter the game state or physics of the game. Are you working with any community members to help develop the Splitgate community in any way?
Ian: We've noticed from talking to a lot of streamers and talking to our own streamer partners is that they want to be able to interact with their community. They don't want to just go play, you know, ranked competitive, sweaty mode and the custom games is where that really shines per streamers. Prior to this update, you don't get any XP for a custom game. You only get it if you play a matchmaking game because we didn't want people to abuse that. Now we do give some XP, but we just cap it so that you can't abuse it. We do give XP for custom games so that players who want to play with their community or they want to put on, just have a casual game with crazy modifiers, like low gravity, big head mode stuff that's entertaining to watch. We want to encourage you to try custom games, ranked games, social games, different game modes, everything.
G FUEL: So the update will have the Battle Pass, the Weekly Challenges, community focused additions, emotes, and a new matchmaking system. It’s a stacked update. Anything else we might be forgetting?
Ian: We're just focusing on the game, focusing on getting it out there to as many people as possible and getting as much testing as possible. And then I would say probably two weeks or so after that, once we really thoroughly tested, we'll focus on all the major changes and the balance changes, and make sure that we're happy with it. That's one we'll resume in the weekly and monthly tournaments.
Oh - and lore! We’ve started adding in performance and other visual improvements. We’ve been optimizing maps and not just for performance, but for the visual features of the maps. We’re trying to tell a story with the maps and that means certain things will have changed - like the water levels on Pantheon have risen and is now flooded. The whole Helix map has been covered in snow and players can take damage from icicles and ice. We’re adding flavor to the maps and making the lore come alive through them.
G FUEL: It sounds like you’re taking the time to ensure that the update doesn’t break the meta and that players will have time to fully explore the game before heading back into the tournaments. We’re really excited to see how this update changes the game and how it’s received by the community. We really appreciate you taking the time to sit down with us and talk about your game with us.
Splitgate Season 1 officially launched today, so be sure to download it via Steam!
Top image via 1047 Games.
This article was written by Hotspawn. Hotspawn combines news, in-depth analysis, and how-to guides into one place to help you learn everything you need to know about esports.