Tag Archives: Justin Korthof

Staff changes at Robot Entertainment
Dean
8583

We have some sad news about some staff changes taking place at Robot Entertainment following the release of Orcs Must Die! Unchained. Speaking on the ‘Orcs After Dark’ twitch stream this week, Community Manager, Laura “Harmonia“ Barrett commented that several staff are sadly leaving the studio following lay-offs that are taking place. Readers may be aware that in the gaming industry lay-offs sometimes happen after games are released.

Typically as games are being finalised there is a big push and need for resources to get a game out the door and then when a game does go live a studio may find itself with a larger workforce and needing to distribute those resources onto other projects which may be in early stages. Kotaku has an informative article on this topic. It is unfortunate that Robot Entertainment finds itself in a similar position of a scenario that is all too common in the gaming industry, the post-ship downsize. Robot is a smaller independent studio and no doubt managing striking these balances is incredibly difficult.

Speaking to REF, the studio commented:

Over the recent years, we have staffed Robot Entertainment to focus almost exclusively on Orcs Must Die! Unchained. After a tremendous effort from the entire studio, last month we launched the PC version. We are incredibly proud of it and are really excited about our plans to support the game, along with the upcoming PlayStation4 version, with new content and improvements. However, our studio demands are different now than they were during the core development of the game, and today we made the difficult decision to let go of 16 full-time employees and six contractors in order to better fit our current direction. These employees are our friends and we are doing all that we can to support them in their future endeavors.

 

SixOkay is among those leaving

It is with sadness that REF can report that one staff member affected includes Justin Korthof, Marketing Manager – aka SixOkay. Justin who has worked for the studio for around seven years following the announcement of Age of Empires Online, has spent the majority of his time at the studio as Community Manager and has been the main bot talking and engaging with the community and fans directly throughout those years. Justin’s hard work and dedication during that time has fostered a great relationship between the studio and its fans. Fans will miss him greatly on the forums and on Twitch streams. We have no doubt though that his legendary reputation and legacy will take him to big places in the future and we will keep an eye on where the future takes him.

Laura “Harmonia” Barrett will continue to support the community moving forwards as Community Manager. Robot will continue to engage with the community and its fans. Twitch streams such as Insider Access and Orcs After Dark will continue.

K2D2 is also departing

Other staff members include Kirst Kahler, aka K2D2, Associate Producer (localization) who previously worked on all the OMDU lore was a popular face on the twitch streams and Mitchell Waudbaurer, aka MitchellW, customer service is also departing. Mitchell was often found around the forums helping players with technical issues. Winter will continue to provide support for players. All staff affected will be sorely missed.

The studio moves forward with the continued development of OMDU and Hero Academy 2. Expect to see news on both these soon. This week is another episode of Insider Access with Shade that will cover the patch notes for the upcoming update. Be there!

Catch up on the OMDU 24hr stream for brand new gameplay
Dean
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Last week Robot Enterainment achieved its goal of raising over $2000 as part of the 24hr stream in support of Extra Life. Justin “SixOkay” Korthof and “Danger Mike” among other bots stuck with the community on Twitch throughout the duration. This special stream also featured over three hours of BRAND NEW gameplay footage of the upcoming new update for Orcs Must Die! Unchained.

We get a look at all the brand new maps, brand new prologue and the re-worked heroes for the refreshed survival mode. Not only that but we get to see a first look at some new concepts including unstable rifts where rifts appear suddenly on a map spawning minions if not destroyed in time. Plus the new weekly challenge where each week players get a new unique challenge where Robot sets the map, the loadout, the heroes and a special type of objective. Ideas such as defending wave after waves of Gatebreakers where the only way to gain money for traps is by picking up coin drops. Designer Doug “ShadeDev” Houserman was on-hand to give us some thoughts on the direction for weekly challenges, commenting that they will generally be puzzle based or changing the way people think, such as playing maps without being able to use any traps, or just 1 hp / rift point.

Next OMDU update features a new story prologue

The three hour stream also showed us that the in-game visuals have been improved and the physics has been ramped up a few notches. Heroes move faster and visual effects on traps and abilities are bigger and bolder. Speaking of heroes, be sure to check out the video footage below which shows a number of heroes in action, all with their new re-worked abilities. Wondering how Midnight has been tweaked for survival? Find out below! (Answer: she now has an awesome fast dash forward ability dealing damage).

Seeing is believing

Check out the video below to see all the sweet new OMDU content coming soon next month!

Extra Life donations still open!

If you have not yet donated to Extra Life and you would still like to get ahold of the exclusive Gabriella skin and support children’s hospitals, you still can! Just head over to the link below and donate $10 or more and you’ll receive a code for the skin when the next update lands.

bit.ly/orcsmustdonate

A look inside the Throne Room
Dean
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Following on from ‘The Baths‘ the next new smaller survival map heading to Orcs Must Die! Unchained is the ‘Throne Room’. As revealed on last weeks Insider Access the Throne Room is home to one famous Orc in particular.. closed beta OMDU players may remember a playable hero Orc ‘Ball and Chain‘ who looks set to make a return next patch with her own survival map. It will be interesting to see what new things lay in wait  following her hero re-work. Fans should be sure to tune into this weeks Insider Access where details could well be revealed!

Ball and Chain is set to make a return to OMDU soon.

Her map not only features a throne room but also features a rather large swinging mace that can be triggered by both ranged and melee heroes by hitting a switch. When pressed the huge ball comes flying across the bridge, decimating any minions in its path.

You can see more of the map including insider details from Paul Slusser about the art and its design speaking alongside Justin “SixOkay” Korthof on last weeks Insider Access shown below.

Ian Fischer AMA and Jerome Jones to preview a new OMDU map
Dean
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The Robot Entertainment AMA (ask me anything) series continues on Reddit. The latest bot to take part is Design Director – Ian Fischer, you may better recognise him as “Mother” on the forums. Check out his answers over on his AMA. Plenty of interesting discussion about his industry past and the current state of play with Orcs Must Die! Unchained.

You’ll also want to be on the look out for Jerome Jones tomorrow. He’ll be joining Justin “SixOkay” Korthof on the Insider Access twitch stream at 3PM US Central time to talk about a brand new map coming to OMDU. Be there, or be square!

The bots answer your questions on Reddit!
Dean
8253

Have you been following closely on Facebook and Twitter? If so you may have spotted some very interesting new “Ask Me Anything” features on Reddit. Known as AMA’s players have been asking questions directly to the bots at the studio. Taking part so far has included:

Be sure to check out their AMA’s for lots of very interesting information about themselves, experiences and life at Robot. Here are some highlights:

AMA Highlights

BadVogonPoet asked Justin:

You’ve worked in a community position across several different companies in the video game industry for quite awhile now.

What are some of the differences you’ve seen in Community Management and Marketing over the years?

Do you think it’s easier to with social media as popular as it is or does it make some aspects of marketing and community management harder?

Justin responds:

The largest change has been that Community Management has split up into several disciplines these days. A CM used to have to kind of be a jack of all trades and manage every conversation that was happening online. These days, it’s all split up. There are social media managers, forum moderators, community feature developers, website developers, and so on. More specializations.

As for whether or not it’s easier with social media, it depends on your goals I think. SM has obviously made it easier than ever to connect with a broad range of people at virtually the click of a button. But it’s also inserted ridiculous amounts of noise into word-of-mouth marketing. It can be REALLY hard to stand out in all that noise if you’re not clever.


 

RoyalFino asked Chris:

What was the most difficult or hardest part of the production of OMDU that you never experienced with any game you worked on previous?

 Chris responds:

Oh man… OMDU is a giant game, in terms of all the different tech we use, and all the stuff we’re doing for the first time. Having to create a store, an entire networking service, a dashboard, along with a game is a lot to keep up with.

Probably the biggest challenge though is running a “live” game. In other words, while we have a version that is being played online, we’ve got at least one or two other versions of the game running at the office with new features, content, etc. that needs testing. Coordinating when those things “go live” to the public build, and keeping the public build up and running is a good healthy challenge for us. It’s fun :-) .


 

MrBlue42 asked Patrick:

The Steam ratings for the game are currently rather negative sadly, mostly due to the business model, not the game itself. Do you think the business model is good as it is currently or is there still some tweaking necessary?

Patrick responds:

You know going in that you’re going to take some negative feedback on Steam with a free to play business model. You hope that the game is good enough and the business model fair enough that those reviews became the minority. We probably don’t have it perfect today. But we’re listening to players very closely. In fact, there’s already a business model change being hot-fixed in today based on a constructively written Steam review. We’ll continue to watch closely and listen to players.


 

Syndrogo asked Nananea:

How well do you think OMDU going to do up against all the other free game out today? I know how hard it is for a games to succeed on a microtransaction platform.

 Nananea responds:

I think there is a lot of stigma out there still about free-to-play games, but I feel like OMDU has plenty of gameplay mechanics to set it apart from the pack. The great thing about F2P is that anyone can download and play the game and make their own judgment on the game and that’s a very powerful thing!


 

 emelld1324 asked Patrick:

What were the decisions that made you and the team to shift the OMD Franchise towards the MOBA Genre?

 Patrick responds:

We didn’t set out to shift the franchise to the MOBA genre. For us, OMDU was a very logical progression of the franchise based on fan feedback. The first game was single player and fans were clamoring for co-op so we made OMD2. That led to feedback about bigger multiplayer and PvP. For us, we always imagined PvP as two OMD games pitted against one another. Of course, we knew not all OMD fans play PvP so that led us to making the Survival PvE mode. We really hope PvE appeals to the OMD fan that loves killing orcs with friends.

Remember to be on the look out for more AMA’s – subscribe to the Orcs Must Die! Reddit!  https://www.reddit.com/r/OrcsMustDie/
Patch 2.6 landing 3rd December. Including new PvE map – “Surrounded”
Dean
8116

Did you catch this weeks episode of Insider Access on the OMDU Twitch channel? If you did you missed out on another exciting episode, and this one had alot of big reveals! Designer Jerome Jones was on hand with Community Manager, Justin Korthof to talk about the brand new PvE exclusive map coming to OMDU in the next patch.

The new map is called “Surrounded” and is built specifically for PvE. This is not a PvP come PvE map, but a map built from the ground up for Survival Mode. A preview video of the new map can be found below and you’ll soon see why it gets its name “Surrounded”. Indeed players will be thrown into the action in a castle that is being attacked from all directions. Check out the video below!

There are tons of cool features in this new map. Bringing an OMD2 feel with environmental traps and a larger map with many different entry points for minions to spawn. Numerous rooms are found in the castle such as say an armoury and players can place a specific room related guardians to help defend. Players will have many choices on where to build their killboxes on the larger map providing a great depth and breadth of strategy and options. Check out the interview with Jerome Jones to get all the details on this new map and its features!

Jerome Jones on Insider Access

Surrounded and more coming in patch 2.6 landing Thursday 3rd December!

Thats right, also revealed on Insider Access is that the next patch will be available on Thursday December 3rd when the servers come back online after usual maintenance. This next patch is going to be a big one, one of the biggest yet for OMDU – so brace yourself for some pretty heft patch notes that should be incoming shortly!

Upcoming spoilers for OMDU from Insider Access & new tutorial system
Dean
8103

Have you been keeping an eye on the OMDU Insider Access streams? If not watching live you can catch up by VOD on the official OMDU YouTube channel. This weeks Insider Access was very interesting. Community Manager, Justin Korthof (SixOkay) sat down with Mike Creasy (DangerMike) to talk about the new tutorial system. Poor Mike has yet again had to re-work the tutorial system with all the changes that have been made over the patches. He has been working on the tutorial system since August 2014 and has had to deal with many major gameplay changes since then.

The good news is that a new revised tutorial is coming together and its looking really awesome. On Insider Access we saw a 9 minute video taking us through the new tutorial for Survival mode with the video being produced by Nananea. The new tutorial is looking and sounding great with comprehensive voice over talk from Maximilian the War Mage and excellent visual cues. The new tutorial also teaches players good practice at setting up kill boxes so that newbies have a better steer on what to do on their early games and to help integrate into the community faster. If you haven’t already seen the Insider Access episode be sure to check out the video extract below!

Spoilers!

One of the added bonuses of seeing the new tutorial is we get to see some upcoming new OMDU features. If you are eagle eyed you can spot a number of new things. Here are some examples:

New Guardian Options

Looks like options to place different types of guardians is coming

Yarr! – New Boss

Any guesses on Captain Orc’s name?

There are some more hidden reveals in the video too if you take a look closely at minion armour, traps and some more bosses / minions. Check out the new Survival Tutorial video below which is coming in patch 2.6.