DualShockers recently talked with Hypixel Studio's Chris Thursten about Hytale, discussing community mod support, post-launch plans, and more.
This year, Hypixel Studios’ debut game Hytale will be entering its first beta phase and preparing for a full release soon after. The game, which was announced in 2018 by the newly-formed company, is a fresh and exciting take on the existing blockgame genre; something that the team behind the game have incredible origins working on.
DualShockers recently talked with Chris Thursten – the Publishing Lead for Hypixel Studios. Chris talked to us about post-launch plans, community modding support, the team’s Minecraft origins, and much more. Here is our full interview:
Ben: Hytale is your first full game ever, and it seems you all are jumping into the deep end with it. Was there any doubt that you’d be going in the direction of what you were familiar with – e.g. Hypixel and Minecraft?
Chris Thursten: Yes. We spent a considerable amount of time not wanting to go in that direction, but we were naturally pulled towards it. Our team has a lot of experience in the blockgame genre, and it made sense for us to build on what we’d done before.
B: Riot Games are direct investors in the project – can you tell us about how that came to fruition?
CT: We approached Riot Games looking for advice, because they’ve got direct experience of building a professional development studio with modding community roots. We got on well, and that eventually led to Riot making an investment in Hypixel Studios.
B: Your studio runs the largest Minecraft server on the planet, and arguably the most diverse in terms of content. On that topic, what kind of support will Hytalehave for people who want to create huge server networks? Will there be any tools that you wish were in Minecraft for Hypixel to use that you’re bringing to the game?
CT: We’re planning to support people who want to create and run large server networks as well as anybody who wants to set up a server for their friends. Our server browser makes it easy for players to find, filter and rate community servers, and we’re investing in technology that’ll make it easy to jump into a server, or even adventure mode, straight from your friends list.
B: Are you planning to make community mod support a large part of the game, or are you just throwing the tools out there?
“Hytale Model Maker is the tool we’re using to create the game ourselves…It didn’t make sense for us to say ‘to mod the game you’ll have to learn a professional modeling package.'”
CT: We’ll be providing a huge amount of baseline content with Hytale, but we plan on giving the community lots of tools to find and play modded content too. We’re really looking forward to seeing what people do with the platform we provide.
B: Interestingly, Hytale is shipping with modeling and animation tools. Is there anything that prompted you to make this decision specifically? Are you excited about what your talented players could do with tools like that?
CT: Hytale Model Maker is the tool we’re using to create the game ourselves – it’s designed to make it as easy as possible to create and customize assets and load them into the game. We’ve put a lot of work into it, so it made sense to share it with the community too. It didn’t make sense for us to say ‘to mod the game you’ll have to learn a professional modeling package.
B: Do you plan on incorporating interesting but hidden lore into Hytale’s world and main modes?
CT: Yes. Exploration and discovery is a big part of adventure mode, and players who venture off the beaten track will have the opportunity to find secrets that others might miss.
“It makes sense that people will make the comparison, but blockgames are a genre and we believe there’s plenty of space for something new.”
B: You’re planning on adding minigames to feed the hunger of Hypixel fans who play the game – can you tell us more about these minigames?
CT: We’ve got a lot of experience building minigames and all of that is being invested into Hytale. We’re currently experimenting with a prototype variation of The Pit, a minigame that has developed a fun meta on the Hypixel server.
B: Do you think Hytale being compared to Minecraft constantly is a natural way of judging the game? How far from your Minecraft origins are you planning to stray with Hytale?
CT: It makes sense that people will make the comparison, but blockgames are a genre and we believe there’s plenty of space for something new. Hytale is its own game, and over time we expect that the comparison will be made less and less. We’ve got a huge amount of respect for Minecraft, Mojang and Microsoft – there’s definitely space for both to coexist!
B: How regularly will you guys be updating Hytale post-launch and does the team already have an idea of what they want to do with the game after release?
CT: We’ll be providing lots of support for the game after release. We’ll discuss more details about this further down the road!
B: How easy are you making the in-game scripting tools to use? Are you targeting advanced programmers and modellers, or are you wanting to create a system for beginners to turn into more advanced users?
CT: We’re targeting the higher end of modding – we know how good community mods can be. That said, difficulty really just depends on how ambitious your mod is – simpler mods will naturally be easier to make.
B: How do you plan on making Hytale appealing to YouTubers, streamers, and other content creators?
CT: We’re providing in-game cinematic tools to allow for advanced machinima creation, and we’re even letting players watch videos together in-game. It’s important to us that we support the needs of YouTubers, streamers and other content creators.