Predecessor’s Developer On “Elevating What It Means To Be A MOBA” [EXCLUSIVE]

Born from the assets of now-defunct MOBA Paragon, Predecessor is a new project that aims to keep the community and experience of the original game alive. Paragon was first released in 2016 as a free-to-play title from Epic Games, but the servers shut down just a few years later. Before doing so, Epic Games released the MOBA’s assets online for anyone to use, which is when content creator and developer Robbie Singh began his own project with the founding of Omeda Studios.

Predecessor differs from most MOBAs like League of Legends and Dota in a myriad of ways, particularly in its perspective – while most games in the genre are top-down, Predecessor is played in third person. Teams of five compete on a three-lane map, with each playable character possessing their own special abilities. As players complete different objectives like defeating enemies, they’ll collect gold which can be used to purchase further hero upgrades like teleportation and invisibility. The game released in early access on PC last year, and is finally coming to PlayStation consoles – complete with crossplay – early next month.

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Screen Rant sat down with Omeda Studios founder Robbie Singh to discuss how the Predecessor project first began, parlaying his content creation past into development, and what players can look forward to with the new MOBA.

Robbie Singh On Predecessor

Screen Rant: First, I would just love to know a little bit more about how this project started in the first place. Was it pretty soon after the Epic Games announcement?

Robbie Singh: We’re going back quite some years. I think it started pretty soon after Epic announced that they were releasing the assets on the store. So I think in December they announced that they were shutting down the game and then a couple of months later they announced that they were going to release the assets, and that’s about the time that we kind of got started.

And before that I was a content creator, so I was making videos on YouTube, doing that full time. I say full-time, but I was working at the time, but I was really focused on content creation. I think I started that in 2016. I saw an advert for Paragon and the Unreal Engine. I was at university at the time and I thought, “I’ll make a YouTube channel and see how it goes.”

Spent about two years building my channel and grew to become the largest content creator for Paragon. And then of course Epic Games shut down the game and my co-founder, Steven, decided to stream game development on Twitch. Once Epic released the assets, he was just kind of figuring out what they were doing with the assets, learning a bit about how they built games on the Unreal Engine.

Then I started to get involved as well. We loved the IP, we thought it was really cool. I started kind of doing the same thing on YouTube and Twitch. We decided to team up. The community that I had sort rallied around the project and obviously having been the largest content creator for the game, everyone was really inspired, and so I thought, “Why don’t we put our own take on what it means to be a third person MOBA.” And we just built it from there with our community.

And as a former content creator for the game, how do you feel like that has maybe changed your perspective when it comes to the actual development of this project?

Robbie Singh: I think it has its pros and cons. I think one thing that’s really helped is that you just have a really good understanding of the players because you kind of are the player. And I have such a good relationship with a lot of the people that play. I play a lot of MOBAs, and so if I want some feedback or opinions, I literally go to the players and ask them, and we have such a great relationship. so that’s pretty unique.

And the other side is that you end up caring too much and you don’t know which is the right direction sometimes, so that can be an interesting challenge being from the other side. But it’s been really fun and having a community while building a game is really interesting. A lot of times people make games and then they start to build a community at some point once they showcase the game or they release a trailer. For us, it was like we had the community first and then we built the game around them.

It’s funny you mentioned taking into consideration so much what the fans of it would want, because one of my other questions was about just how much you find yourself pulling from the community and taking those ideas to heart versus like, “This is what the vision is, this is what we’re going to do.”

Robbie Singh: That’s one of the hard ones. We definitely have a vision of what we want Predecessor to be, but ultimately we’re building a game for players, and so it’s really important that we take in a lot of their feedback. So I think we’ve been super fortunate that a lot of our community and players that are playing the game and also coming to the game kind of aligned with the overall vision.

But then you might get feedback from players about the way a specific hero is designed or certain abilities they would like to see in the game. And so those smaller pieces of feedback are really helpful when we go into design certain mechanics, but overall they still fit into this vision that we have for the game. So I think that’s been really beneficial for us as we’ve been developing the product that we’re all aligned in the same vision, but our community has been great at giving us feedback that’s really helping shape the product for the better.

Predecessor character shooting fire out of a weapon.

Are there any features that you had planned that you really wanted to do or you found the fans really wanted incorporated that just turned out not to be feasible for whatever reason?

Robbie Singh: I don’t know. I’m sure the fans or the players are going to tell us there’s a ton of features that we haven’t implemented. But off the top of my head, I don’t know if there’s anything in particular.

I know something that the players do ask for a lot more is like verticality. I don’t know if that’s a specific feature, but they do ask for more heroes that incorporate more verticality. It’s something that we are planning to add more, we’re experimenting with a lot. It’s just a hard thing to balance. If you are a melee character, how do you hit someone that’s flying or who could fly the entire time? So it is a tricky one to balance, but that’s one of the core pieces of feedback we get from players quite often.

And how do you feel – if you do feel this way – that the goals of your game that you are developing maybe differ from the other projects and development that are utilizing these same assets?

Robbie Singh: I think for us we just want to build the best game for our players and our community, and also by looking at what other games in the genre have done really well and then just elevating what it means to be a MOBA in 2023. There’s not really many MOBAs coming to the market. And so for us, we have a clear vision of what we want to build and I think it’s quite different to what a lot of other people are building at the moment.

We also have a community that’s really bought into that vision, so I think that kind of sets us apart. We still have some ways to go ’til we truly realize that vision, but the perks of being a live service game is you can constantly iterate and you don’t have to get to your vision on day zero, but as long as you’re making progress towards it, I think that’s what matters the most.

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And you talk about bringing a MOBA into 2023, almost 2024 now, what do you think are some of the common pitfalls of the genre that you are looking to avoid and modernize in this game?

Robbie Singh: Yeah, I think something that’s been really important in more recent years is just accessibility of the game. And I don’t necessarily mean how easy it is, but I’ll come to that. I mean more like, I can play with my friends regardless of platform. And so when you think of the biggest MOBAs in the space, like the Leagues and Dotas, you can’t play with your friends on PlayStation or Xbox.

So that’s something that was really important to us, but it wasn’t really like an afterthought. It was something that when we started the project, we knew going into it that we wanted people to play Predecessor regardless of platform. And so we really designed the game with both inputs in mind, controller and keyboard, and so I think that’s something that we’ve done really well. And player feedback on the control, we have acquired a significant amount of players playing on PC with a controller, and I think that’s just because of how well they sit in parity to each other.

Predecessor character running towards a green poison-like cloud and enemies.

What do you think are the most important facets of the original game and its community that you sort of want to keep alive in this project?

Robbie Singh: The Paragon community was my first community that I was ever really involved with, and I really loved the people that were in there, the relationship and also the culture. I think everyone was really passionate about something and they wanted it to succeed. And so they were providing feedback, they were making content. There were tons of other content creators, there were people theorycrafting builds, we have people making websites about the game and plugging into our API. And so that’s the kind of community that we kind of fostered and then aimed to keep from Paragon.

In terms of milestones that you guys have hit so far in this game’s development, what things have excited you the most?

Robbie Singh: Definitely getting to early access was a massive milestone for us. It’s the first game I’ve ever shipped, so that was really exciting. PlayStation is another milestone; just being able to play the game on a PlayStation, that’s a really exciting milestone. And then the funding round was another big milestone for us. It was fairly challenging to raise because we don’t have any experience. We hadn’t worked at a big studio before, but being able to raise that capital and have investors that really believe in the vision as well, it’s phenomenal how much – when you have a passionate community – that it’s infectious.

People will look at our community and then they’ll be like, “This is incredible. It’s great to see so many people so passionate,” and passion is one of those emotions where if I’m passionate about something, it will make you passionate about it and it’s sort of infectious. So the funding round, the Series A, the 20 million was a massive milestone for us as well.

For fans of the genre but that never necessarily followed Paragon, what do you think will surprise them most about this game?

Robbie Singh: I think there hasn’t been a MOBA that’s really done the sort of things we’re doing. So one, I think visually it’s quite hyperrealistic, the art style really immerses you in the game. There’s a lot of mechanics that you can’t do on a top-down game that you can’t do with that person flying being one of them, so I think that’s really exciting.

We also try to blend the MOBA genre with action and shooters. It’s much faster paced, the moment-to-moment action is much more intense and exciting. I think those things really set us apart from MOBAs that already existed in the genre.

And then I think also just the fact that you could play with your friends regardless of platform. That’s something that during COVID, me and my friends – all my friends have PlayStations, so that’s something, that they can definitely form really great friendships.

I’m curious to hear a little bit more about what other games have influenced you during the development process, MOBA or otherwise.

Robbie Singh: Yeah, loads, to be honest. Obviously League of Legends and Dota are massive inspirations, just having played them for a very long time. Call of Duty: Warzone was – I don’t know if it influenced me, but I definitely spent a lot of time playing it during COVID. So I’m sure somewhere in my head it is.

Then I like MARVEL SNAP, I think that game was extremely well-designed. I don’t know the game itself, gameplay mechanics have an influence me, but the way the designers think about problems and how they solve those problems is really interesting to me. So I would say those designers have influenced me for sure. Those are the main ones.

Predecessor‘s PlayStation closed beta will begin December 5, and is currently available for PC via Steam.

Source: Predecessor/YouTube