If you’ve been following Warner Brothers’ new platformer fighter Multiversus over the past several months, you’ve probably heard of Tony Huynh, Multiversus’ game director and spokesperson. Through his personal social media channels like Twitter, Huynh has maintained an open and direct line of communication with players, taking feedback, answering questions, and offering updates about the status of the game.
As you might imagine, this isn’t exactly a common practice for directors, or game developers in general. Typically, players are instructed to direct their feedback towards surveys and official comment channels like bug reports, or otherwise leave their opinion on message boards and forums like Reddit and Discord where developers can review feedback on their own terms and timelines. Huynh has taken a wholly different approach however, by making himself the first point of contact for many players. If you have a feature request, a bug to report, a complaint about the balance, or an idea you’d like to see implemented, you can tweet at @Tony_Huynh on Twitter and you just might get a response.
Huynh attended San Diego Comic-Con this weekend, along with executive producer at Warner Brothers Sheloman Byrd and voice talents Tara Strong (Harley Quinn) and Matthew Lillard (Shaggy) to promote the upcoming open beta and reveal three new characters coming to the game soon , LeBron James, Rick Sanchez, and Morty Smith. I asked Huynh how he manages all the questions and comments he gets online and if it’s something he thinks he can keep up with long-term. Here’s what he had to say:
“I don’t even know how to manage it so far. My number one priority is making sure the game is being made, but also understanding we’re making the game for players. I want to make sure that players are heard and that their suggestions are taken to heart, and that we’re doing things to surprise and delight them.”
Huynh says that, as a fighting game player himself, he recognizes how important it is that players feel like their voices are heard. He wanted to bring to Multiversus a quality that he had always hoped to see in other fighting games: a sense of collaboration with the community.
“At the end of the day I’m a player as well,” Huynh says. “I’ve been playing fighting games my entire life. I’m a combat designer. The reason why I am a combat designer is this community and these games. All my friends are from this community. So it’s really important for me to make a game that is a love letter back to that community and supports that community but also gives the community what I always lacked, which is a direct like into the development of the game and being able to influence what development actually looks like.
The studio behind Multiversus, which Huynh co-founded, is called Player First Games. Huynh says that name means a lot to them, and is a philosophy they choose to live by.
“We didn’t call ourselves Player First Games by accident. It was a very risky thing for us to do, but I’d rather just be genuine about what we’re trying to do, and I hope I can keep it up. I’m gonna try really hard. That being said, I think the whole studio has the same kind of mentality of trying to support players and deliver a service. We want to be the best service, not just a game.”
Multiversus is currently in Early Access Open Beta, and is available to anyone who either was in a previous Beta test or purchases a Founders Pack. You can also earn access via Twitch drops by watching a Multiversus streamer for one hour. Open Beta officially begins on Tuesday with the introduction of LeBron James as the next fighter.
Next: SDCC: Matthew Lillard Isn’t Interested In Doing More Video Games Until Actors Are Paid Better