When Warner Bros. announced Monolith's Guardians of Middle-Earth way back in May, the game immediately had its skeptics. A MOBA exclusively for consoles? Who'd ever heard of such a thing? No one, and that's really the whole point, says developer Monolith.
Guardians of Middle-Earth senior producer Ruth Tomandl is quite proud of what Monolith has built, and it seems there is a fair share of console gamers out there who want a MOBA all their own.
She and producer Bob Roberts were eager to explain that GOME wasn't just some PC port, as so many expect it to be. No, this MOBA is constructed from the ground up for console play. Tomandl explains:
"We've been getting a lot of feedback from players that it does feel intuitive, that it's a very good fit for the console -- it doesn't feel like a PC game ported to a console. It really feels like a console game, and I think people are continuously pleasantly surprised when they play the game. I think people are still expecting it to feel like a half-assed port, and it's not: it's a console game that's developed for the console."
Part of it has to do with dropping the whole money aspect, making experience points the only form of currency in a match. This means last-hitting is no longer an issue, and players won't spend the first minutes of a match playing so defensively, waiting for someone else to screw up first while they farm.
As Roberts notes, they've streamlined the game in a way that keeps with the basic ideas and strategies of MOBA but made it more action-driven. This XP-only system "shortcuts the first six to ten minutes of a typical League of Legends match," he says, which ought to cut down the average match to 20 to 40 minutes, rather than the 40 to an hour many MOBA players are accustomed to.
When asked why GOME was made a console MOBA, Roberts also pointed out that the MOBA genre is already a simplified iteration of strategy gaming, making it more suited to consoles. Tomandl adds that no one had really done a MOBA especially for consoles before, stating:
"We did definitely want to go with an XBLA/PSN game. We felt it was the best place for it, that it would really live well, so it was developed at an XBLA/PSN game."
Recently, Guardians of Middle-Earth was given December release date for PS3, with the Xbox 360 version possibly arriving earlier. The game will launch with some 20 champions.