Mojang and Blackbird Interactive shared a proper look at the PvP mode in their upcoming spinoff strategy game Minecraft Legends today, along with an April 18 launch date. Ahead of the reveal at Microsoft's showcase, Mojang executive producer Dennis Ries and Blackbird executive producer Lee McKinnon Pederson spoke to me about what it actually feels like to play a round of head-to-head Legends.
Mojang and Blackbird have been describing Minecraft Legends as an "action strategy" game rather than an RTS, given that you'll have your own player character galloping about the map on a mount to direct troops and building from the ground. Like standard Minecraft, Legends also uses procedurally generated maps, which extends to PvP as well.
"Every world is different so you never know where … mountains are, where valleys are, where the other team's base is going to be. So while it is familiar, it's pretty distinct," says Pederson.
"You might choose a redstone strategy if redstone is close to your base [or] a diamond strategy if that's close to your base," Ries adds. "Each strategy requires you to go off and collect resources in a different way." Different resources allow for certain types of structures, like the rather intense-looking redstone launcher raining TNT mortars down into an opponent's base shown in the new gameplay video.
Ries says that the developers are shooting for 20-30 minute matches in PvP, which did mean changing some features from the campaign. While still procedurally generated, the maps are smaller, for instance, because they "couldn't have two bases fifteen minutes apart," Ries says. Basic resources like wood and stone occur closer to your starting area to jumpstart production, and resource gathering with your allay helpers happens a bit quicker too.
The enemy piglin hordes are a factor in PvP play, too. "The further along you go into a match the more the piglins escalate their attacks on you and your opponents," Pederson says. "They're not just a nuisance around the edges. They do become a larger part of the gameplay within PvP across the progression."
Overall, Legends is "clearly Minecraft but it's also clearly not vanilla," said Ries. What's different is obvious—it's got a totally different strategy game style—but it sounds like they've managed to keep a very Minecraft-y vibe to collaboration.
Pederson explains how you can create a division of labor between teammates who prefer gathering or building a base or going on the offensive, but that the game itself doesn't strictly enforce roles in any way. The PvP gameplay reveal demonstrates that idea with participants describing their favorite roles as fort building or resource gathering or combatant.
"You do definitely have to work together," Pederson says, "specifically around the shared resources everybody needs to understand how you're collectively driving towards your strategy."
It doesn't call to mind the hectic player-run minigame servers of Minecraft PvP, but rather the cooperative ways that friends manage to work together on survival servers. We all know whether we're the mining and fighting friend or the base-building and homemaking friend. In a similar way, it sounds like you don't necessarily need to command from the front lines in PvP if you consider yourself more of a diabolical base designer. I imagine you'll need to brush up all your skills to play in the campaign, but not in the realm of player combat, at least.
Minecraft Legends will support up to 4v4 player matches which you can invite your friends to before opening up to matchmaking. As with Minecraft Dungeons, Mojang says that Legends will allow cross-platform multiplayer when it launches on April 18 on Steam and the Microsoft Store (opens in new tab), as well as Xbox, Switch, and PlayStation.