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Dev Q&A: Home’s Cutthroats: Battle for Black Powder Cove Going 2.0

Cade Peterson's Avatar + Posted by Cade Peterson on Sep 13, 2012 // Community Manager, PlayStation Digital Platforms

Last week, PlayStation Home got an update to the action-packed free-to-play multiplayer game, Cutthroats: Battle for Black Powder Cove. With this news, we jumped on the phone to chat with Michael Mumbauer, Director of the Visual Arts Service Group (VASG), a madly creative department within Sony Computer Entertainment America. VASG has been helping make Home content nearly since Home went Open Beta and has made some of the platform’s most entertaining items and spaces, including the Home Mansion. Although VASG creates art and code for other development teams, like several of the World Wide Studios, this is their first full game.

Michael was kind enough to let me ask some questions that will shed a little insight on the decisions that went into this 2.0 update.

PlayStation.Blog: VASG has created content for Home for years, but when Home transitioned to a game platform in itself, it was the next logical step for them to step their game up and make one. What was the original concept behind Cutthroats, and did you do what you set out to achieve?

Michael Mumbauer, Director of Visual Arts Service Group: If we were going to make a game in Home, we wanted to focus on the strengths of Home—individualism and community. You can express yourself with a variety of looks as well as take your friends into an experience to share a really great time together. That was the focus — supporting the two pillars of what makes Home great.

As gamers ourselves, we didn’t want to sell the user short by making the user experience limited compared to what it could be socially while not sacrificing the game play experience in any way. For instance, would this game stand up on its own outside of Home? Yes, we think it would.

Cutthroats: Chicken Cannon

PSB: Do you consider this game a success?
MM: We met the goal — we delivered one of the best game experiences in Home, while also delivering a fun social experience. However, in the first version we left some polish on the table that we wanted to add, but unfortunately we were up against the clock.

PSB: That leads me to my next question. With the update to version 2.0, did you revisit your initial ideas while adding upgrades to the rest of the game?
MM: You polled in the official PlayStation Home forums, and we were very interested to see the feedback — users overall loved the game, but would liked to have seen a different approach to how the micro-transactions were set up. We didn’t have a functional grind-based economy, so that users could sample some of the purchasable items. The original game singularly focused on limited commodity items, which didn’t have value outside of the game. I think we corrected that by adding wearable purchasable items that perpetually affect the game, as well as limited use items that are significantly cheaper and add greater playtime.

Cutthroats: BLOW STUFF UP

PSB: There’s a lot of noise on our forums about a lack of new rewards or other incentives with the arrival of 2.0.
MM: My main focus for this update was to fix some of the obvious issues we learned from the feedback from its original release. Version 2.0 addresses many of the issues and provides a bunch more polish to the game, and adds a greater overall value. We wanted to raise the level cap and offer more rewards, and have many of these already prepared, but could not fit it all in time.
Seeing the demand already for these new rewards and incentives, as well as increasing the level cap, we’re going to release some of these items as well as a “giant” reward that will be the ultimate reward in the next update — so by all means enjoy it now, but know we have some tricks up our sleeves for you.

PSB: Anything else you’d like to share?
MM: I’d love to ask the community: What would you like to see? Please leave comments below with your feedback — we’re going to be listening.

An all-new Cutthroats: Battle for Black Powder Cove has arrived in PlayStation Home! See what’s new and get free coins by visiting the newly updated Armory, Clothing store, Game Board, Info Table and News Board.

New Armory:

All Cannon balls and power ups are discounted. The addition of four new, unique-looking weapons will require some strategy if you want to rule Black Powder Cove! All weapons have been retuned with varying ranges and damages. Be sure to visit the revised store to stock up on ammo and new power-ups, such as teleportation and mines!

Cutthroats: Armory

Improved User Interface and expanded game play Experience:

Select cannons, ammo and power-ups by using the new quick select menu. Ship damage indicators so you can see where the enemy fire is coming from. Repair your ship to keep it afloat. Communicate with everyone on your ship through Voice Chat.

Cutthroats: UI

Clothing Store:

Check out the clothing items Male and Female pirates are wearing. Some of them even give you special power ups when you wear them while playing!

Still Free-To-Play:

You can still play for free and collect coins to power up you ship, or purchase any upgrades through the store. There’s even a new option to collect free coins daily by visiting Cutthroats and checking in with all the vendor tables.

Set sail in this massive update to Cutthroats: Battle for Black Powder Cove.

//Add Your Own

12 Comments   3 Replies

1

+ MushThePainter on September 13th, 2012 at 10:53 am said:

FIRST!! and most likely LAST!!


2

+ Y2David on September 13th, 2012 at 11:49 am said:

AARRHHHIGGGHHTTYYY MATEYS!

Well I love the new Game play & controls, like the updated feel of it, on the other side there was some who experienced channel disconnection.. but being able to voice chat during game play was the big plus fer me.

As what I would like to see in the future if there was another udpate…Do like to see a way to set group DeathMatches between ships.. or know from a leaderboard how many times ppl r sinkin one another on a daily basis.. that would be nice for competitions


    Cade Peterson's Avatar

     

    + Cade Peterson on September 13th, 2012 at 1:14 pm said:

    Ahoy matey!

    These are great suggestions. Michael and VASG are listening for great feedback like this for future updates.


3

+ NorseGamer on September 13th, 2012 at 11:50 am said:

Cutthroats 2.0 is a remarkable experience. From very overt changes — lowered pricing, far more strategic gameplay with new weapons and abilities, a grind economy, a new voice chat feature, etc. — to subtle tweaks, such as additional visual effects and new sound cues, this game is a dramatic improvement on the original. Sony really ought to be commended carefully studying consumer feedback and then going back in and throwing a ton of time and resources at a Home game to make it even more compelling.

For what it’s worth: I’ve seen some of the content that’s scheduled to go into the next update — including the “giant reward” that Michael mentions — and it really is legitimately epic. This is a game that’s deserving of our support.

NorseGamer
Editor-in-Chief, HSM
http://www.hsmagazine.net


4

+ Joanna_Dark_ on September 13th, 2012 at 11:50 am said:

Nice interview! Thank you!


5

+ Y2David on September 13th, 2012 at 12:05 pm said:

Yes really nice interview.. like the part as mentioned of plans of increasing the lvl cap and offering a “Giant” reward of a sort :)


    Cade Peterson's Avatar

     

    + Cade Peterson on September 13th, 2012 at 1:15 pm said:

    Who doesn’t love rewards, especially when they’re big!


6

+ Jersquall on September 13th, 2012 at 12:23 pm said:

Good stuff! Cutthroats is a great Home game and I hope others reading take the time to try it out if they have not yet.
We heard that team mic chat might be coming in a future update and this is fantastic news. I would like to see boarding parties and sword play in future updates. Maybe even NPC “Ghost Pirate” ships in the future and maybe a single player game spin off.

Thanks for the 2.0 update! Thanks to all involved for this blog interview as well’


7

+ Shinra_Soldier7 on September 13th, 2012 at 12:36 pm said:

I know 2.0 just came out but are there any estimation of when 3.0 will come out? November? December? Sooner or later? This interview has got me excited for 3.0 already!


    Cade Peterson's Avatar

     

    + Cade Peterson on September 13th, 2012 at 1:23 pm said:

    With 2.0 just releasing, there’s nothing concrete to announce at this time, but you know I’ll keep you posted!


8

+ chronicus_pr1me on September 13th, 2012 at 8:41 pm said:

Hey Cade, Can you answer a question PLEASE.

What is the friend limit for people who own a Vita and PS3? I own both systems and I’m curious to find out what the limit is, since both systems are linked to my single main account. And is there currently any plans to increase the friend limit if it’s still a relatively small number.

I’ve tried numerous times to get an answer anywhere online, to no avail.


9

+ Kid_Fleetfoot on September 13th, 2012 at 9:28 pm said:

It wasn’t as much fun the other day as I hoped because the ship I was on was invincible for an extended period or else the other ships were terrible shots.
Also, when I hit a ship (apparently) there was no pop up notice saying I did except for a couple of times.

I bought three coats with cannons hoping for more. I know there’s glitches and that you know it and that they’re being worked on so I can wait it out.
However, matey, I bought the coats too soon me thinks.

As it still has a fun factor I gave it a very satisfied or satisfied rating but that was because I’m anticipating fixes.

I’m not as good as I was in the previous version but that’s OK.

I miss the floating chests. It was strategy and fun to see who was looking for gold and who was just out to kill.


10

+ polo155 on September 13th, 2012 at 10:04 pm said:

Great Job Guys,Love Home!


11

+ BradGrenz on September 13th, 2012 at 10:18 pm said:

This must be the game that’s been getting advertised on the PS3 news ticker for a while. Maybe next time include the name of the game so I can tell where to find the new canons and free coins.


12

+ KarateChampChad on September 15th, 2012 at 10:20 am said:

Why does this blogpost still show up as the most recent one on the mobile version of the PS Blog? I want to read about real games, not this wannabe pile of dog garbage…


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