Destruction AllStars lands on PS5 today as part of PS Plus, but the launch is only the beginning. Lucid Games wants its vehicular combat game to be something that grows over time, an experience that evolves in tandem with the community that it believes will form up around it in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
GamesRadar spoke with with game director Colin Berry from Lucid Games and Sony XDev Europe's senior producer John McLaughlin to learn more about the philosophy behind Destruction AllStars' live-service structure.
"There's a ton of stuff that we want to do, and a ton of stuff that we are doing, but what's really important for us is that we listen to the community," McLaughlin begins. "Games as a Service games live and die by community interaction – we want to listen to the community and give the community exactly what it wants."
Lucid has plans in place for new game modes and characters, as well as refreshes of existing modes, but it's also paying close attention to the reaction of players in these first few days. The initial goal, McLaughlin tells me, is to design content "that will keep people excited and keep them coming back for more". An important aspect of this is ensuring that Destruction AllStars' community isn't fragmented by any of the new content, and so Lucid is taking an open approach to updates.
"We've got plans for new characters and new modes, but we don't want to put them behind the paywall. We don't want any pay-to-win situations, and we've always been upfront about that," says McLaughlin. "And anything that's cosmetic in the game is for personal expression only, so that it doesn't offer competitive advantage." Berry adds: "We've got new characters and new modes but, obviously, we don't want to fragment the player base online by going, 'Oh, this player has got this character and you haven't.' So they are planned to be free characters and modes; we've got a lot of cool stuff planned for the coming weeks and months."
Inside Destruction AllStars: How Lucid Games is bringing the next generation of vehicular combat to PS5.
The reason Lucid is able to so quickly turn around new characters and modes for Destruction AllStars is because some of it is being built from content that had to be shelved during development of the core game due to time restraints. "During development, you come up with loads of weird and wonderful ideas for modes. Some of them stick more than others, and sometimes the ones that don't stick quite so well have still got something really good in there… Games as a Service allows us to have more time to spend with stuff that we originally put to one side to concentrate on the main game," McLaughlin tells me.
"We're pretty excited about some of the content we've got coming, but I think we're more excited about listening to what people have to say, as well," he continues. "It's important that we're able to react to the community and make them feel like they are on this journey with us. We're at this point now where the game is 'finished' but it isn't the end, like it might have been in previous generations. It's just the start and it's gonna be really cool to see what players think and what their feedback is."
As for what these new modes and characters might look like? Berry can't say just yet… but you can tell that he really, really wants to. "We've got some stuff coming that… I think it's gonna surprise some people. I'd love to talk about it, but I can't. I can't so I won't say anything else... there's going to be a couple of things that people are going to go, 'I can not believe that they've done that! That's… wow, that's amazing!"