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Exclusive Anthem Insider Q&A with Devtodev Lead Analyst Vasiliy Sabirov

Freelancers! Today we have an exclusive Anthem Q&A with Devetodev's lead analyst, Vasiliy Sabirov!

He explains how the industry works and reacts to players, and he also gives us insight on what we should expect when it comes to Anthem. Enjoy!

Vasiliy Sabirov Anthem Insider Q&A

Q: First of all, thank you for doing this short Anthem focused Q&A with us Vasiliy!

Thanks for sharing your questions and sorry about the delay!

Q: Could you please tell us a few things about you, so that we can introduce you to the Anthem Insider readers?

Hi, I'm Vasiliy Sabirov and I'm the Lead Analyst at devtodev - a full-cycle analytics solution for game developers. Also, we provide analytics outsourcing.

Q: We feel a lot of gamers out there are not familiar with the work you do! 

Please briefly describe what an analyst like you does on a daily basis and why should gamers listen to (and take seriously) what analysts have to say?

As an analyst, I try to analyze a game and understand how to improve it, both for developers and players, as that's the balance that everyone should aim for. An amazing game will be beloved by players, and if there are a lot of them and they are loyal, such game will be bringing money to the developers.

I watch dozens of projects on a daily basis, give my expert opinions based on the data that I'm seeing, advice what can be done better, what should be improved and where in the game in particular. In the middle of all of that, I play tons of games because I love playing them and it also helps me keep in touch with what's hot, how it's implemented and where the industry is moving.

And besides that I have three main tasks as an analyst at devtodev:

1. Making the subject of game analytics popular, so developers would understand that there are tools to analyze games and they do make games better. We at devtodev are writing books, hosting webinars, and recently launched a free online course in game analytics.
Also, there are international gamedev events that I participate in as a guest speaker which involves a lot of traveling around the world and exchanging ideas and opinions with other professionals.

2. Creating and improving our own platform devtodev. I come up with the ideas for reports that can be useful for different game projects in different genres that will help developers to understand the meaning behind the numbers in their games.

3. Analytics outsourcing for games. Automation is great, but you still need a bright head and a fresh eye to go along with them, so I'm analyzing a few projects for our clients as well.

Q: With the recent revamp of Star Wars Battlefront II micro-transactions, lootbox and progression systems, should we assume that Anthem will not feature an aggressive mtx system? What is your prediction on that?

First of all, from the analytics prospective, microtransactions are great. Progression systems work well for developers too. And even the concept of the lootbox systems itself is not that bad. The main question here is how they are all implemented in the game.

By the way, Free-to-Play Bible has a lot of interesting theses on the topic.

I believe that everything in the game should make people happy, be fun, and be within the player's comfort zone - meaning that the players can choose their own level of happiness and it won't depend on the money they spend.

Yes, the game should be equally fun for non-paying and paying users. At the same time, those users who pay shouldn't be able to, for example, complete all the levels easily and beat everyone in no time - otherwise they'll lose interest, and those who are beaten up won't be loyal anymore.

Q: Bioware has stated that the want Anthem to be a 10-year journey (Bungie stated the same about Destiny back in 2014!). Is this something we should start getting used to because games are going to be developed with 10y long term goals in mind? How can a game like Anthem sustain its playerbase for over a decade?

10 years - that's really ambitious and super awesome! Honestly, I prefer working with the game as a service type of games, as they are great for analyzing all the main mechanics of game analytics: long-term retention, loyalty growth, repetitive payments, etc.

Everyone knows that a 10-year journey - that's a long run. But is that something that we should get used to? We'll have to see. Usually, a life cycle of the regular game is 2-3 years, with some exclusions of course. That's why it's even more exciting to watch if Bioware is able to keep its players engaged for such a long time. If they do - I think everyone will win.

Q: PvP! Is it essential for games like Anthem? Or is it a relic of the past that gamers refuse to let go of? It feels like an unfair fight vs the ever eluding "balance", for the developers of PvP games.

Yes, especially when talking about a 10-year prospective.

In this case, we're speaking about the long-term retention, and replayability is the main part of it. The game must give the necessary emotions every time and give the players different feelings that they won't be able to predict. PvP gives this opportunity, and it's pretty hard to accomplish the same goal with PvE - you'll have to create new events, release new updates and so on.

So, I don't believe that PvP are going anywhere anytime soon.

Why are PUBG and Fortnite so popular? Because every time the player has a different path and only when you're training a lot, you'll start increasing your probability to win. Just think about it!

Q: The teaser/gameplay trailers for Anthem had a "Fall 2018" release date in them which was later "moved back", to make room for other releases like the new game in the Battlefield series. At the moment, the release date is set for Q1 2019. Do you think Bioware is going to meet the deadline or do you predict a delay?

I believe that they can make it in time, but let's not be too upset if it takes a little longer that we were promised. I’m sure there are a lot of twists and issues within the game, and usually developers are not just sitting there doing nothing but really trying to make the best product possible.

Q: What should we think of the absolute radio silence from Bioware's part when it comes to Anthem? After E3 2017, the only info about the game came from various Bioware employees' tweets and reddit posts. Do you think this should alarm the fans? Is it a red flag in your book?
The fanbase is starving for any new info! Would it be a bad thing to release a batch of screenshot or the game's OST?

I wouldn't worry too much about that. I'm sure they know what they are doing, see and feel the mood of the fans. Anthem is going to be a game as a service, and in such projects community management is one of the main focuses.

Q: What is your opinion on various people leaving Bioware while the game is still in development? Do you sense turbulence in the studio or is it a normal thing that's being amplified by the lack of Anthems news?

Frankly speaking, I wouldn't be worried about that either. All the companies have an employee turnover. Some companies are transparent about it, and some are not. I doubt it would be the reason for delaying the launch or its quality whatsoever. I'm sure they'll release the game and it will be worth the hype. And let's see what will happen in 10 years, exciting times!

Closing the Q&A and after thanking him, Vasiliy agreed to do a follow up Q&A with questions from the community - YOUR QUESTIONS!

You can send them to us using this: Q&A Contact Form

If you're interested, you can find Devtodev's social media below.

Facebook - facebook.com/devtodevanalytics
Twitter - twitter.com/dev_to_dev
Youtube - youtube.com/devtodev - Education Center
Linkedin - linkedin.com/company/dev2dev

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