Twitch-based multiplatform MMO Vendetta Online will add iOS to its roster this spring with a launch that's been "awhile coming," Guild Software creative director John Bergman told Polygon at GDC during a hands-on preview.
Launched in 2002 online and 2004 for retailers, Vendetta Online has already spread to Windows PC, Mac, Linux and Android. Bergman said that players can expect the same experience no matter what platform they chose with the game's uniform interface.
"The way I approaching designing anything, I really design for what I want to use," Bergman said. "In this case, the [iOS port is] partially for introducing the game to a new subset of players, and it's partially for our existing user base to be able to transition seamlessly from playing on their desktop or playing on their iPad or phone."
The biggest difference about the iOS port from its PC counterpart is touch control. Players control their ship's direction by tracing a finger across an invisible control pad, while arrows on the left side will rocket the ship into motion. Targets can be easily locked onto and then fired on with the tap of a finger. The game is designed for continuous contact, Bergman said, and players can leave a finger on the screen the entire time.
Players won't be restricted by their platform choice, either. In some cases, Bergman said, mobile players will beat out PC users.
"It's really the player's skill that determines their success in combat," Bergman said.
Guild Software launched an ill-fated Vendetta Online Kickstarter in January to expand upon the game and improve future prospects for iOS. The campaign ended in February after failing to meet its funding goals. Although the team wasn't able to achieve some of expansion and interface goals for iOS, but won't affect the upcoming launch.
"It's the chaos and the unpredictability ...that I find the most fascinating and the most wonderful."
"We're weren't doing a very big Kickstarter on purpose," Bergman said. "The goals we had outlined were not huge, and the Kickstarter was really an experimental thing for us to see if it would resonate well."
The team had "substantial issues" reaching their own userbase, Bergman said, and there were several other missteps at the time that caused the campaign to go awry. But with or without Kickstarter, the iOS version was always the plan.
"I just didn't know what it would look like," Bergman said.
Guild Software will continue to work on the game and circle back, as is possible with MMOs. Vendetta Online, which Bergman affectionately likens to his child, continues to pursue his perfect vision of the game. His goal is to create a deep universe that is meaningfully reactive to player activity, while still being unpredictable.
"Almost no MMOs are unpredictable," Bergman said. "They're almost always locked down."
Once games start delving into territory where players can change to much, it becomes possible to unbalance the game, Bergman said. The challenge is to create a game that is reactive while allowing player to evolve the universe on their own.
"I would find making single player games really boring," Bergman said. "It's the chaos and the unpredictability of what people are going to do with the universe that you give them that I find the most fascinating and the most wonderful. That's really why I love building MMOs."