Interview With James Petty, President of Action Mobile Games
Earlier this month we got our grubby mitts on a preview build of 2013: Infected Wars, Action Mobile Games’ ambitious debut title. Naturally we had to find out more about the development of this co-op action horror shooter, so we ventured through zombie-infested cityscapes to bring you this interview with President and Creative Director James Petty.
Action Mobile Games has a big crew by indie standards. How did you guys all happen to meet up, and where in the games industry have some of your members worked in the past?
This would be a really long story but suffice it to say I’m a big believer in networking, so I came to know many on our team through colleagues in the industry and existing team members. We have also recruited through more traditional means and had applicants contact us directly through our website. Our team members have previously worked at Turbine, BioWare, Ironclad Games, and a number of smaller studios.
On the flip side, we’ve helped many talented artists that were new to the industry get some experience, and help them get placed in more established studios.
In my opinion, when a game is in the horror genre, it usually means there is some sort of undead, zombie, etc., type of gameplay element. I don’t think it necessarily means the game is meant to be focused 100% on scaring the user. Though I’d like to think we have some really creepy environments, creatures, and music. One previewer has told us playing in the dark was pretty scary. That being said, our focus is definitely on action and keeping things exciting on mobile devices.
We are all huge gamers and it would be impossible to list all the titles that have influenced the design of 2013: Infected Wars. The ones that come to mind as having similar gameplay elements would be on the console and PC market. Titles like Left 4 Dead 2, Killing Floor, DayZ, and Counter-Strike have all played an inspirational role.
Infected Wars’ class system sounds very cool – it’s not something we see so often in shooters. How does this work exactly? Does the player get to switch on-the-fly or is it set at the beginning of the game? What bearing does class have on the player character’s weapons and abilities?
You’re right, it’s not something that’s very common in shooters and my hope is the community will appreciate the added depth and strategy it brings to the equation. Essentially the player will be able to choose at the beginning of each map/mission which class they want to play. Experience is earned through killing the infected and completing the missions you are assigned by the resistance. So if you get bored playing Field Support, which is the short range weapon specialist class, you can switch over in the next map and try another class like the Marine, who specializes in assault rifles and forces you to land those headshots when playing.
The class will dictate a couple of different things. Each class has a number of bonuses that will increase damage with class-specific weapons, decrease the cost of those weapons, dictate what bonus starting weapon you receive, max health, and many more things such as movement speed, reload speed, etc.
The biggest decision a player has to make is whether they want to focus on their class weapons, which they get discounts and bonuses with, or play a more hybrid build and buy that grenade launcher to balance out their sniper rifle-focused build, for example. The other big consideration is experience: you will only earn experience when you kill infected if you are using that class’ weapons. I feel this offers a ton of replayability and strategic depth for the player.