Interview: Becoming a Better Brawler With Injustice 2’s Learn Hub
Injustice 2 has had a pretty good run over the past year, with a number of great fighters at launch, along with a new bonus games thrown in as downloadable content, including Hellboy and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But one thing you may have missed out on is the Learn Hub.
This tool from NetherRealm Studios enables users to become better at their game by utilizing a number of tips to their advantage, from blocking to combos to more advanced techniques. There's really a lot to sink in here, which you can read more about here.
We managed to sit down with Injustice 2 designer Michael Bellipanni about the effort that was put into the Learn Hub; where it can best benefit the player; what characters could best be used with it; and, out of curiosity, why it wasn't used in NetherRealm's previously released Mortal Kombat XL. Dig in!
Getting Started With the Learn Hub
First up, was the Learn Hub a feature that NetherRealm initially wanted to include in the game, or is it something that you've developed since its release?
The initial discussions of an expanded tutorial probably started near the end of Injustice 2's initial development. Unfortunately, we couldn't start work on something that large until after the game's release due to time constraints. The character tutorials in the game at launch were in some ways a first step in that direction.
Why do you think it is that some fighting games don't bother with tutorials? Do you think they figure that people will just learn as they go along?
For us, the limitation has often been time and resources which are always stretched thin leading up to the launch of a game. A thorough tutorial is a very large undertaking if you want to cover a game as complex as Injustice 2 in any amount of detail. The Legendary Edition update gave us a great opportunity to take a little more time and experiment with more detailed lessons.prevnext
Putting Things Together
How did development of the Learn Hub come about? Did you see what players were doing with Injustice 2 and use that as a guidance tool for putting it together?
In focus testing, as well as feedback after the game's release, some players struggled to complete the advanced parts of our initial tutorial. In addition, many players didn't know what to do with the mechanics that they had learned. We wanted to give newer players a more approachable introduction to the basics and we moved the advanced topics into individual lessons that are more in-depth. This helps players progress at their own pace without getting overwhelmed.
Did you get a lot of requests for a feature like the Learn Hub? Were there certain requests that you threw into the game, as requested by the community?
We always listen to community and player feedback when we're planning new features. For the Learn Hub, it helped us put together a list of topics that we wanted to cover.prevnext
Digging Into Features and Characters
What's probably the most beneficial feature fans can take advantage of in the Learn Hub?
While the lessons in the Learn Hub provide examples of how to deal with specific in-game situations, we're trying to provide context to players so they understand why these tactics are effective. Our goal is to equip players with broader knowledge that they can apply to similar situations and different characters.
Does the Learn Hub give recommendations on which characters to start with, since there are so many? Or is that choice still up to the player?
Outside of the character tutorials, the player uses Batman in every lesson. He's a well-rounded character that can demonstrate examples of every topic we cover. That being said, very little of what we teach is specific to Batman. Players are encouraged to apply what they learn to their favorite characters.prevnext
Who Is Learn Hub For, and Why Wasn't It In Mortal Kombat X?
Do you think the Learn Hub would've been just as effective in your previous fighting game, Mortal Kombat XL?
Much of what we teach in the Learn Hub can certainly be applied to the other fighting games we make. Post-release on Mortal Kombat X, we focused our efforts as a studio on implementing improved roll-back netcode, which we carried forward to Injustice 2.
Is the Learn Hub made for casual players in mind, or is there stuff that fighting experts can learn as well, like counters and combos? Who do you think it's best for?
We hope to offer something to players of almost any experience level that are motivated to improve. There's a very wide range of player skill in a game like Injustice 2 since there are so many aspects of the game to master. Different players run into roadblocks at different points as they explore new aspects of the game. Hopefully the Learn Hub can make that exploration less daunting and mysterious.
Injustice 2 is available now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.prev