Daybreak Game Company continues to tweak, change, and enhance its multiplayer battle royale shooter H1Z1: King of the Kill. Following the recent combat update, PC Gamer has been given a look at three new weapons coming to the game in a future update, and during a chat with Anthony Castoro, KotK's general manager, and David Mendelsohn, creative director, they also talked about Daybreak's plans for some sizable changes they hope will lead to more intense matches, as well as shorter ones.
First, the three new guns. Above you can see the KH43, intended as a mid-range alternative to the AK-47, which doesn't hit as hard but has a higher rate of fire and is easier to manage. "The fully automatic KH43 is a counterpart to the AK47, and it trades damage for accuracy," says Daybreak. "While it takes more shots to kill, it is slightly easier to control and gives the user an additional choice when going into battle."
Next, there's the new combat shotgun. With an adjusted choke and spread it requires more precision from players, but it's also more forgiving thanks to a higher rate of fire and a bigger mag.
"The semi-automatic Combat Shotgun is designed to give the player a close range alternative to the Pump Action Shotgun. With a higher fire rate and tighter spread, it will provide a new play style option for close-range combat."
And finally (below) is the .30 caliber ranch rifle, which has a higher skill ceiling but packs a bigger punch:
"The Ranch Rifle is a DMR, or Designated Marksman Rifle. With a significantly slower fire rate than the AR, it rewards the player who takes their time to place a shot because it delivers increased damage and it is equipped with a scope."
The new guns aren't meant as replacement for the existing weapons, but as alternatives to give players with different styles additional options.
"We want to have contenders for [the existing] guns so that if you're taking an AK out in the field, your only gameplay choice right now for dominant mid-range combat is that AK," said David Mendelsohn. "We wanted to offer another rifle that has a similar role in the battlefield, in the play space, but lets players with a sort of different gameplay style, so that you have more player choice as you fight other players."
Daybreak is also looking for ways to generate more action and intensity in matches, as well as making those matches shorter on average.
"We have in the last three months moved the average session time down from almost 40 minutes to under 30, I think it's like 26, 25 minutes now," says Anthony Castoro. "And our goal is to get it right at about 20 minutes on average."
This will come in a few different forms: more airdrops at "designed intervals" intended to create more points of contention among players and thus more gunplay, as well as tiered weapons that arrive with upgrades already attached to them.
"We have an understanding of what makes the battle royale game work," said Mendelsohn, "and we want to move it into a place with better pacing, better growth and progression, both inside the game itself and within the overall player experience. So, to give players a sense of actual power growth throughout a match, we intend on offering weapons that are upgraded. They already come pre-configured and pre-upgraded so it's not like you're running around trying to find different pieces and hoping the pieces you communally collect actually work with the weapons you happen to have on you."
"As the game progresses you'll find even further improvements on these weapons which come prepackaged with all the gear you need to be able to take down somebody or get the competitive edge over somebody who's using just the basic version of the weapons."
And, the three new weapons above may just be the start of a new era of carnage for KotK, as there are more powerful ones on the way.
"As the game progresses we intend on offering unique power weapons that you're never going to find in the map, like grenade launchers, rocket launchers, heavy machine guns, stuff like that," said Mendelsohn, though it should be noted these more powerful weapons won't be arriving at the same time as the new guns shown above, but at some point further down the road.
"We expect the last minute or thirty seconds of a match to be way higher in intensity both visually and from what we're expecting the players to process in any given moment," Mendelsohn said.
"I like to call it a spectacle of mayhem," said Castoro.