E3 2011: Magicka sold 600k copies, PvP DLC will be free for the game's owners
Graham's been speaking to Paradox CEO Fred Wester in Magicka's weird language about the game's success.
"Fredrik Wester: It’s now sold close to 600,000, and we’re still selling ten to fifteen thousand a week. We’re probably going to pass a million by the end of this year because we’re seeing no steep drop-off in the purchase rate."
That's a lot of accidental friend-murdering. Read on for Fred's thoughts on the game's crippling early bugs, details of the free PvP DLC, and why Paradox might release a standalone PvP-only Magicka in the future.
Magicka began with a miniscule development team of seven people. Fred explains Paradox's process for bringing developers on board:
"PC Gamer: Does the company have any overriding philosophy to the type of games you make? Or is it purely that you’ve stumbled across a market and you want to service that market?
Fredrik Wester: It’s a mix. Obviously we’re looking for certain types of games. We’ve been working with TaleWorlds now since 2006 on the Mount & Blade series and I chased Arma?an Yavuz for two years before he signed with us. I was thinking “This is so perfect because it’s niche and hardcore and even though it’s an RPG it’s still the same style that we want to do”. The Magicka team came to us and said “Can you do this game?” We were blown away by the whole concept. If we can choose ourselves we pinpoint companies we want to work with and we take it from there. Cyanide for example: they’ve done Blood Bowl, and they’re making Game of Thrones: Genesis. I’ve known Patrick, the CEO for many years. I contacted him in March saying “We have this idea and we want to do this game with you guys” and he was like “Great”."
Fred took to Magicka immediately, and described the game to Graham as "sort of Monty Python in gaming." Monty Python, if watchers had their televisions turn themselves off for the first three episodes, anyway - Magicka's bugs were game-breaking until a few weeks after release. Fred's aware of the game's issues, and diplomatically describes it as "somewhat buggy." How do Paradox mean to stop that happening again?
"PC Gamer: There’s been problems with bugs in a few Paradox games. Is that because you don't have a big enough Q&A team, or is that a budget constraint?
Fredrik Wester: Our biggest challenge in the coming two or three years is quality assurance. We’ve been - I wouldn’t say sloppy - but inexperienced on how to deliver a fully polished product. We’re still learning. We’ve hired a new producer who comes from DICE and has a lot of experience on the Battlefield series. It’s a totally different approach to the whole gaming scene.
I agree with you both Hearts of Iron 3 and Ship Simulator Extremes should have been released in more polished states."
Paradox aren't done with Magicka. After the release of the gloriously unhinged Magicka: Vietnam pack, they're experimenting with payment models. Fred confirmed PvP DLC - which they've "put a lot of effort into" - will be free for owners of the original game. Rather than a flat fee, players can purchase cosmetic items for minimal cash. In a departure from the normal 'stupid hat #1, #2 and #3' cosmetic items, these will serve a visual purpose for dedicated teams. Fred explained players can dress their wizard as RPG archetypes like the tank and healer to denote their preferred battlefield role. "It doesn’t do anything for your character, it’s just a visual feature."
The PvP DLC will be out June 21st, but might be the precursor to something more substantial, as the developers have had so much fun with it:
"Fredrik Wester: It might've been that we put even more effort into the PvP parts of Magicka because it's so solid. I would like to do, in the future, a standalone PvP-only online game for Magicka. That’s just a dream at the moment, but we’ll see."