Mojang and Blackbird Interactive today took a close look at PvP mode in their upcoming spinoff strategy game Minecraft Legends, along with an April 18th launch date. Ahead of the reveal at Microsoft’s presentation, Mojang Executive Producer Dennis Ries and Blackbird Executive Producer Lee McKinnon Pederson spoke to me about what it actually feels like to play a game of head-to-head Legends.
Mojang and Blackbird have described Minecraft Legends as an “action strategy” game rather than an RTS, as you have your own player character who gallops across the map on a mount to direct troops and build from the ground. Like standard Minecraft, Legends uses procedurally generated maps, which extends to PvP as well.
“Every world is different, so you never know where … mountains are, where are valleys, where the other team’s base is going to be. While it’s familiar, it’s quite different,” says Pederson.
“You could choose a redstone strategy when redstone is near your base [or] a diamond strategy if it’s close to your base,” adds Ries. “Each strategy requires you to go out and gather resources in a different way.” Different resources enable certain types of structures, like the rather intense looking Redstone Launcher, which rains TNT mortar into an opponent’s base, as shown in the new gameplay video .
Ries says the developers are shooting for 20-30 minute matches in PvP, which meant some campaign features were changed. For example, although they’re still procedurally generated, the maps are smaller because “they couldn’t have two bases fifteen minutes apart,” says Ries. Essential resources like wood and stone are found closer to your starting area to boost production, and gathering resources with your allay helpers is also slightly faster.
The enemy piglet hordes are also a factor in PvP play. “The further you go into a game, the more the Piglins escalate their attacks on you and your opponents,” says Pederson. “They’re not just a nuisance on the fringes. They become a bigger part of the gameplay in PvP as you progress.”
Overall, Legends “is definitely Minecraft, but also definitely not vanilla,” Ries said. What’s different is obvious – it has a completely different strategy playstyle – but it sounds like they’ve managed to keep a very Minecraft-like vibe in the collaboration.
Pederson explains how you can create a division of labor between teammates who prefer to gather or build a base or go on the offensive, but that the game itself doesn’t strictly enforce the roles in any way. The reveal of the PvP gameplay demonstrates this idea with the participants describing their favorite roles as fort building or resource gathering or fighting.
“You definitely need to work together,” says Pederson, “particularly in terms of shared resources, which everyone needs to understand as you work toward your strategy together.”
It’s not reminiscent of the hectic, player-driven minigame servers of Minecraft PvP, but rather the cooperative way friends work together on survival servers. We all know whether we’re the friend of mining and fighting or the friend of base building and housekeeping. Similarly, if you consider yourself more of a fiendish base designer, it sounds like you don’t necessarily need to command from the front lines in PvP. I imagine you’ll need to brush up on all your skills to play in the campaign, but at least not in the realm of player battles.
Minecraft Legends supports up to 4v4 player matches, which you can invite your friends to before opening yourself up to matchmaking. As with Minecraft Dungeons, Mojang says Legends will feature cross-platform multiplayer when it launches April 18 on Steam and the Microsoft Store (opens in new tab)as well as Xbox, Switch and PlayStation.