CoH Community Quiz: Matt Miller, Lead Designer


imageEvery so often, we’ll bring you a profile of a Cryptic developer. Then, you get the chance to ask that person questions by posting them on our forums. We’ll select a few, get some answers and then publish the full interview, along with a profile of the next developer you can quiz.

So let us begin by introducing you to Matt “Positron” Miller, the Lead Designer of City of Heroes/Villains. On top of the profile, we also have a few questions he answered to kick this feature off.

So who is Matt Miller?

Matt started in the computer game industry in 1993 at Domark Software (which eventually turned into Eidos Interactive). He started out as a game tester and did phone support for the company’s brand new U.S. office. He worked on many titles at the company including Flying Nightmares, Absolute Zero, Thief: The Dark Project, Revenant, and Joint Strike Fighter. He stayed at Eidos until 1999 when he moved to southern California to work at Prolific Publishing where he was the Producer for Shrek: Fairy Tale Freakdown and Shrek: Swamp Kart Speedway. Finally Matt ended up at Cryptic Studios in 2003 where he was brought on as a Mission Designer, and eventually a Systems Designer for the project. After the release of City of Villains, Matt was promoted to Lead Designer when Jack Emmert moved into the role of Creative Director for the company. Matt is an avid comic book reader and loves the fact that he is able to bring the vibrant and explosive world of comic books to life every day for thousands of gamers across the globe.

And what does he do?

Matt oversees the day to day operations of the Design department, as well as forges the path the games will take in the future. Matt is responsible for seeing the design documentation through, and that new systems are implemented as they were envisioned.

Then why does he call himself “Positron”? Is that some kind of superhero name?

Positron started as a Champions character I played in High School about 20 years ago. He’s been played in many super-powered hero games since then, and each time his “origin-story” has changed to fit the campaign. When I started at Cryptic I was given the opportunity to put a signature character into the game, and I picked Positron because I really liked the concept behind him (a being who could generate anti-matter, causing tremendous explosions) and the name was pretty cool too. I was never really happy with the straight up “bronze armor” look Positron got when the game was first released, so when given the opportunity to update his armor a tad, I got the glowing lines added. Positron is the “brainy” character of the Freedom Phalanx, taking on the role as the group’s inventor, always coming up with a gadget or enhancement that helps the team overcome their newest threat.

Finally, we got a chance to ask a couple questions of Matt. These are just the tip of the iceberg, as after you read these, we want you – the fans – to click on to our message boards and post the questions you want answered by Matt in the next installment of the CoH Community Quiz!

WarCry Network: At AGC this year, Cryptic Creative Director Jack Emmert said that Issue 9 was the thing he was looking forward to most. Given no details were available at the time and you were promoting Issue 8, those are some pretty strong words. What about Issue 9 has created such an internal excitement over at Cryptic?

Matt Miller: The Invention system is the single biggest system we have added post-launch to the game. It really changes the face of the game for the hardcore players, by giving them a huge chance to make their awe-inspiring characters even better with the special crafted Enhancements they can make. The best part is anything that is a “reward” can be made using the Invention system, that means the sky is pretty much the limit on what players can obtain, including costume pieces.

WarCry Network: Comics seem to be taking off again. With shows like Heroes and blockbusters like X-Men, it’s never been cooler to read a comic book. How is Cryptic capitalizing on this trend and turning fans of these peripherally related subjects into City of Heroes/Villains subscribers?

Matt Miller: Late last year we released the Good vs. Evil box set. This allowed players, with one easy purchase, to experience both sides of comic book roles: the heroic and the villainous. It has introduced the game to a good number of newcomers. With the success of media like Heroes we hope that players that fantasize about having super-powers can realize their dreams with the “City of” games. The games offer a ton of options, which many new players really enjoy, and we are trying to make the game as accessible as possible with free trials and promotions.

Remember, now it’s your turn! Click on the comment thread below to jot down your questions for City of Heroes/Villains Lead Designer Matt “Positron” Miller!

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