Author Topic: Questions for our new Lead Developer  (Read 2329 times)

Dragon41673

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Questions for our new Lead Developer
« on: 15 June 2017, 17:06:25 »
This series of questions is directed only at Brent. While I wouldn’t mind an answer from Adrian Gideon...I wanted to pick the brain of “the new guy in charge”...

Brent,

First off...congrats again on the promotion. I hope you are out at Origins!

This has been on my mind, as well as many (probably hundreds of) others, for the past few years. While I know Catalyst’s normal response is to not answer directly, I think I speak for everyone that being the new guy in charge, we’d love to know what are your plans, directly or indirectly, with Battletech. Sorry it's so long...but it is what it is.

I have not had any interaction with you, other than to tell you my experience with the most recent dice sale, so I’d love to hear what you have in store for us. Although I’m not a Catalyst employee...I have a unique position being between a normal Battletech Player, and a Catalyst employee by being an online retailer & quite active socially (although not as much as I’d like to be sometimes).

Not sure if you know who I am, and no this isn’t an advertisement and yes my signature & Avatar give it away...but I sell Catalyst products on my online website. Granted my main bread & butter is Iron Wind Metals items as well as The Army Painter stuff & Reaper Miniatures paints. But I have my ear turned towards the community, sometimes more than some of the people realize. Yeah, sure...most of the complaints or compliments are the same as here on the forums...but sometimes I get more of a descriptive answer (hate and swears included)...that we don’t get to see here in the forums.

So the following series of questions has been built up over time. It’s to help you realize, if you didn’t already, where we as a community stand on certain issues. Just don’t shoot the messenger. I love this game, have since it came out and I bought my first book & miniature back in 1985! I can literally remember the day my mom took me in to my first game store & I found TRO 3025 and the “Fat Boy” Atlas.

With all that in mind...it’s time to see where you stand, pick your brain, get to know you..and have you layout what you can...for us to devour with either envy...or hatred.

While we all know that someday, there will probably be an ilClan (if we like it or not), and someday the Home World Clans will come back, the Fed Suns could die, Kell Hound could disappear, and the Mani Domini could re-appear...we would all love to know what’s going to happen over the next few years or so...so here goes:

Hopefully you will be able to answer the following as best as you can. While I realize some answers will HAVE to be a bit vague, which has always been Catalysts nature...we would LOVE for you to be a bit more direct if you can:
  • For the remainder of 2017, what can you tell us is in store for the the Inner Sphere & Inner Sphere Clans. I know some has already been divulged, but perhaps we can sum it all up in to this thread rather than a bit in thread a, and another bit in thread x, and more in thread yyy.
  • What can we expect will happen, both in the Inner Sphere, as well as the Home World Clans...in the coming year (2018) without completely spoiling any plot lines?
  • Where do YOU PERSONALLY see Battletech going under your reign as Lead Developer for the next year?
  • What about in the next 3 years?
  • And the next 5?

Now...for us that don’t know you, let’s get it over with:
  • While I realize you wouldn’t be where you are unless you liked the game, are you PASSIONATE about Battletech?
  • When did you get your start in the game, how long have you been playing?
  • Aside from your Avatar, what are your favorite Houses, Clans, and other groups?
  • Doesn’t matter if it is something that does make it through, or gets trashed as a bad idea….as a fan of the game, what do YOU want to see happen in the Inner Sphere Houses, Clans, and Home World Clans?
  • As I’m sure you have a personal life outside Catalyst...do you play still? If so...with who? Anyone from the company or these boards? What about belonging to a group in your area? Etc.

Now, for the more direct questions you most likely cannot answer but need to be brought up because people are getting pretty tired of waiting. I don’t mean just tired...some are getting plain sick of things being pushed back over & over, or the refusal to answer ANYTHING about the question they asked:
  • Will we see more printed material on the Home World Clans, in the Dark Age, in the next year or two? (this is currently a big complaint from us Clan loving guys!)
  • Will we get novels about the Home World Clans during the Wars of Reaving? Many, many, many of us WANT THESE BOOKS!
  • There is a LOT of us, some more so than others, that are still waiting on ilClan. I think it’s safe to say that this book has become the “not named book” if you’ll excuse the play on words for this game. We’ve been told numerous times it’s coming soon...but never materialized. Is this book going to come out this year as previously planned...or has it been pushed back yet again? TONS of people are pretty mad about this book not being out yet.
  • Where did the Kell Hounds go?
  • Will we EVER know who knocked out the HPG network?
  • Can you give us more details, or possibly hints, about the markings that were on their mechs? If I recall, it was something like a sword, with a snake coiled around it, and I think a sunburst or something like that (think Blood Spirit sunburst icon comes to mind as the description was written for some reason).
  • Is there anything left of the Word of Blake as far as the actual group? i.e. I don’t mean their technology, I mean the actual people that formed the Word.
  • Will Clan Wolverine ever make a comeback, or will they always be the boogeyman for the Clans?
  • Will there be another Box Set...and will there be a Clan version of it, or maybe a combo box set? This is a MASSIVE complaint for a LOT of people. While I understand the logistics of what happened to the old box set...people make a good point about it’s replacement not being available. You’re losing out on new gamers trying to break into this game by not having an Intro Box Set out there! I’ve personally had 10+ requests from NEW PLAYERS wanting to break into the game, and they all want an Intro Box Set.
  • Now, the hardest question of all...what happened with the Valkyrie & Wasp? There are a TON of rumors, and I’ve tried to help control them, but obviously a ton of people thing Harmony Gold has something to do with it. You guys have been pretty silent on the matter, which has only made things worse. Can you elaborate AT ALL on their status, as well as the status of the remainder of the “Classic” `Mechs?
  • On the coming release page...there has been some products on there for a VERY long time. The XTRO and TRO’s come to mind. When will these get released? Perhaps we as a community are wrong, but we alway thought that once they were “announced” on that page...they will be out at some point. Well, that may still be true, but some of those products have been there for probably a year or more. What’s the holdup?

Thank you for your time Brent. I realize being in the position I’m in, I have a bit more clarity than some on a few of these subjects, but I also have the unique position as I said to be between the rumor & sometimes the facts which at times I cannot divulge (such as I knew about the pulling of the Valkyrie before anyone else in the public, but I wasn’t able to say anything because it wasn’t announced yet).

At the end of the day, I’m a fan just like a ton of other people, always have been...always will. I just don’t want to see this game lose people out of frustration because their favorite products aren’t appearing, or are constantly pushed back, as well as lack of communication such as the Classic art issues. Hopefully you will be an active face of the company like Adrian Gideon is, as well as some of the other “Battlemasters” that float around here.

Feel free to PM me if needed...I won't mind.

Thanks!
« Last Edit: 15 June 2017, 17:17:07 by Dragon41673 »
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Dragon41673

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Re: Questions for our new Lead Developer
« Reply #1 on: 24 August 2017, 18:50:29 »
Brent...over 2 months, no answers?
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Brent Evans

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Re: Questions for our new Lead Developer
« Reply #2 on: 25 October 2017, 17:24:55 »
Hey there Dragon,

Well dang man - that's a lot of questions.  :0)  I've actually been so slammed that notification of this post got buried in the flow of emails and this is the first I'm seeing of it.  That said though I will do my best to blast through them.

[Question]  For the remainder of 2017, what can you tell us is in store for the the Inner Sphere & Inner Sphere Clans. I know some has already been divulged, but perhaps we can sum it all up in to this thread rather than a bit in thread a, and another bit in thread x, and more in thread yyy.
[Answer]  The answer to that is to share a paradigm - because I don't have a specific agenda or end point that I'm trying to force things into.  I'm no writer... more a Creative Director.  I grab the best team members, throw 'em together with some direction, gas and matches, and then shake.   Prior to GenCon I recruited the team, locked them in a room at GenCon, and since then I've been beating them with sticks to forge stories worthy of BattleTech.  The stories grow from there, and you'll be able to devour them beginning 2018 in a series of products and fiction which bring it all to life.  Beyond that you'll just have to trust that under my direction there will still be Mechs, War and Warriors - and this will still absolutely be a game about blowing stuff up!
   
[Question]   What can we expect will happen, both in the Inner Sphere, as well as the Home World Clans...in the coming year (2018) without completely spoiling any plot lines?
[Answer]  There will be a battle for Terra, there will be upheavals among the Clans, and sh** will definitely hit fans.  Be careful what you wish for - because you may just get it.  I'm not revealing more secrets before their time though, it would spoil the surprises.
     
[Question]   Where do YOU PERSONALLY see Battletech going under your reign as Lead Developer for the next year? 
[Answer]  Two totally different flavors to that question so I'll answer both.  In universe BattleTech will go through and beyond the battles promised in ilClan.  The storyline blazes forward - with FICTION driving the IP narative (not sourcebooks.)  In the real world though BT will absolutely be 'going' into the hands of new players, with box sets and support products that serve as gateway products into the game.
     
[Question]   What about in the next 3 years?  And the next 5?
[Answer]  My team right now is outlining the metaplot that will endure for the next generation of the game, but where and how the product line is received is fluid at this time.  Candidly the industry is evolving, product models are evolving, and distribution channels are... imperfect.  The future of all those things are dependent upon how well the product designs are received and what evolutions they need to go through to better meet the desires of the fanbase. 
 
[Question]  While I realize you wouldn’t be where you are unless you liked the game, are you PASSIONATE about Battletech?
[Answer]  Good God man, you have no idea.  I'm a die hard gamer who really only plays 1 game: BattleTech.  I was originally hired by Jordan Weisman as a subject matter expert on the game.  I've read every piece of fiction - many of them many times.  I consider TROs to be 'light bathroom reading material.'  I have an active player group who plays only BattleTech and we've played every other week for 15 years.  And frankly the main reason I work at Catalyst is for the chance to work on BT.  So yeah, I'm passionate about it.  There's a reason I'm Randall's partner for Masters&Minions every year.

[Question]  When did you get your start in the game, how long have you been playing?
[Answer]  I actually got addicted to BT through the fiction in 1997.  Six months later I'd read every novel and was memorizing TROs.  I bought my first computer solely to play MW3.  Then Clix happened and I got used to playing BT as a minis game (won 2008 pairs tourney with Ward - yes his real name.)  Transitioned my player group from Clix to BT shortly thereafter and have been pure BT ever since.
   
[Question]  Aside from your Avatar, what are your favorite Houses, Clans, and other groups?
[Answer]  Dang that's tough because I value the heroes and villainous tints to all the factions, but that said I do of course have some faves and dislikes.  Clan Wolf because they seem to best capture that Sparta balance between strength and cunning. Everyone who knows me will point to my blatant connection with the Wolves.  The Rasalhague Dominion as the ONLY successfully integrated union of Clan and Inner Sphere so I love 'em.  Davion ever since I read about the Kentares massacre and the national fervor that rose up to avenge them.  The Magistracy for their female dominated society.  The Gray Death Legion as the gateway drug that so many fans accessed the IP.  Clan Nova Cat for following their visions despite the danger and risks involved.  And frankly I've always like the St. Ives Compact because of Kai... that guy was just an awesome character.
     
[Question]  Doesn’t matter if it is something that does make it through, or gets trashed as a bad idea….as a fan of the game, what do YOU want to see happen in the Inner Sphere Houses, Clans, and Home World Clans?
[Answer]  Ooooh... I can't really answer that one, too many landmines until the metaplot is locked in.  There are two things I want to see which I will answer though - I want to see a story that tells the full story of the Black Thorns (which were unintentionally killed off camera) AND I want to see a rebirth of the Gray Death Legion.  That's been a big one for me since before I joined Catalyst.  There's two of my three wishes right there.
   

For the next batch of questions I'll be brief, as much info has come to light during my delay in responding.  Plus my short answers will likely inspire more intrigue about what's to come.  (It really will be awesome - literally - and I can't wait for you to sink your teeth into it.)

[Question]  Will we see more printed material on the Home World Clans, in the Dark Age, in the next year or two? (this is currently a big complaint from us Clan loving guys!)
[Answer]  Clan home worlds - yes.  Dark Age - no. 
   
[Question]  Will we get novels about the Home World Clans during the Wars of Reaving?
[Answer]  Actually no, not in the short term, and if you had the power you wouldn't change that.  Novel content releases at a really slow pace and there are much more important universe-plot-driving stories that need to be told.  I'd love to see a series of Novellas telling those tales, but the chaffing you are feeling about that content is a downside of using sourcebooks to drive an IP (which was a reality Herb/Ben faced but which has changed for my tenure in the role.)  Like I said, the industry is evolving, and we have to fit the stories we want/need to tell into a solicit-able schedule.  Hope that makes sense. 

[Question]  ...ilClan....
[Answer]  Yes this product will come out.  And we all feel your pain on this one.  But frankly the product as it was originally outlined would have absolutely failed to deliver the story that the IP needed.  It had to be rewritten in a way that launches a whole new generation of the game.  Sometime you need to look at your battle line, scrap it, are rearrange in the face of a superior enemy... this was one of those times.  You will get an ilClan book - and it will be worthy.  But the street date will have a 2018 date on it.

[Question]  Where did the Kell Hounds go?
[Answer]  When you find out the answer you'll need to be wearing waterproof undergarments.  I can't wait to tell you.
   
[Question]  Will we EVER know who knocked out the HPG network?
[Answer]  Yes.  What we may never know is why or what they hope to get out of it.

[Question]  Can you give us more details, or possibly hints, about the markings that were on their mechs? If I recall, it was something like a sword, with a snake coiled around it, and I think a sunburst or something like that (think Blood Spirit sunburst icon comes to mind as the description was written for some reason).
[Answer]  No comment at this time.

[Question]  Is there anything left of the Word of Blake as far as the actual group? i.e. I don’t mean their technology, I mean the actual people that formed the Word.
[Answer]  Discussing this now actually.  No comment.

[Question]  Will Clan Wolverine ever make a comeback, or will they always be the boogeyman for the Clans?
[Answer]  Magic 8 ball says "Answer unknown - try again later."

[Question]   Will there be another Box Set...and will there be a Clan version of it, or maybe a combo box set?
[Answer]  Yes there will be 2 new box sets that replace the existing one.  One will be a new Game of Armored Combat, and one will be an actually Beginner Box set.  We had mock-ups and details at GenCon.  The fate of any box sets after that will determine on how well those are received.  The whole of Catalyst wants to see a strong expanding line of Box Set related products but they are a high dollar risk so we can't fight the math on these.  Two boxes first, the rest to be determined.

[Question]   Now, the hardest question of all...what happened with the Valkyrie & Wasp?
[Answer]  Yes your instincts were right.  Now that word of the Harmony Gold lawsuit has come out, you see why we had to be silent about it.  Literally can't say a word until the suit has some resolution. 
     I will say though that the redesigns on these were AWESOME and we went to great lengths to change/overhaul these units so they didn't share any details with the Unseen.  They looked awesome.  Just hope they can land in fans' hands someday.

[Question]   On the coming release page...there has been some products on there for a VERY long time. The XTRO and TRO’s come to mind. When will these get released? Perhaps we as a community are wrong, but we alway thought that once they were “announced” on that page...they will be out at some point. Well, that may still be true, but some of those products have been there for probably a year or more. What’s the holdup?
[Answer]  Wow - lots of problems there actually.  The website overhaul has caused terrible access to almost every corner of the site, and that's yet to be fixed for several reasons I can't discuss.  As for all the support products, when it was clear we needed to overhaul ilClan and redesign the whole BT plot and product line, it put a hold on lots of products large & small because they were going to one direction and we were taking the IP in another.  What you ask about is just the price paid for abandoning a failing plan and forging a new one.  Once ilClan comes out you'll see a steady flow of product once again. 

There you go Dragon - that should give you enough to chew on and keep you up at night wondering "what if..."  Thank you for your interest and love of BattleTech. 

Peace of Blake be with you.

Brent

Dragon41673

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Re: Questions for our new Lead Developer
« Reply #3 on: 26 October 2017, 22:17:04 »
Brent,

Thank you for getting back to "us" on these questions! Hopefully it will help quell some of the masses.
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