In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Frank Keienburg, the General Manager of Brawl Stars, provides a captivating glimpse into the game's latest milestone — the "Hypercharge" — update. He shares detailed insight into the thought process that led to this innovation, shedding light on its importance in changing the gameplay experience in Brawl Stars.
He also provides helpful information about anti-cheat methods, the game's long-term vision, and how newbies might integrate into the Brawl Stars community.
Brawl Stars General Manager Frank Keienburg teases exciting content on the title's anniversary
Q) The introduction of the Hypercharge mechanic was a significant change. Could you walk us through the detailed thought process behind this innovation and how it fits into the overall vision for Brawl Stars gameplay?
Keienburg: There were multiple reasons for us to go down this route! One of our goals was to introduce a new end-game mechanic for our players to shake things up a bit. We also didn’t feel that unlocking a Gear slot on Power 11 felt exciting enough for our players.
Hypercharge is a much clearer goal and has significantly more impact on the player experience than a passive Gear. We also wanted to give our players a “hero” moment but not so often to entirely anchor the outcome of a game around Hypercharge themselves, but enough to feel they can make an impact.
Q) Can you provide a detailed overview of the long-term vision for Brawl Stars, including the key milestones and changes players can expect in the game's evolution over the next few years?
Keienburg: We’ve actually just talked about the foreseeable future in the latest Brawl Talk! The next things on our to-do list are Clubs, Power League, and Brawl Pass improvements!
Q) In the pursuit of fair gameplay, it's essential to have effective anti-cheat measures. Can you delve into the specifics of the comprehensive measures Supercell is working on to discourage and penalize hacking and cheating activities within Brawl Stars?
Keienburg: Brawl Stars, like all current Supercell games, is built around our proprietary engine. This by itself makes things significantly harder for bad actors than us using commercially available engines, which are well documented.
On top of that, our infrastructure is based around synchronization between client and server - which makes it incredibly difficult to manipulate a game. Of course, sometimes bugs open doors for people with malicious intent.
Q) With the Hypercharge update introducing numerous new mechanics, how does Supercell plan to make sure that newcomers don't feel overwhelmed and can enjoy the game from the start?
Keienburg: Due to our current matchmaking rules, new players are mostly paired with other new players, and for most people, it will take a while to level a Brawler to Power 11 and then unlock Hypercharge for the specific Brawler. Because of this slow learning curve, the only people who will be exposed to Hypercharge early in their player journey will be pretty hardcore to begin with - positive self-selection.
Q) Brawl Stars has been making strides in the esports scene. How do you envision the game's esports ecosystem developing in the near future? Are there any specific strategies or initiatives aimed at fostering the Brawl Stars esports scene in India?
Keienburg: That’s really hard to say. The esports landscape is in constant flux, and games usually go where the players are. We’ve changed the Brawl Stars Championships pretty much every year since we started our esports journey in 2019 - and it’s pretty safe to say that we will keep changing!
Q) The Hypercharge update introduced a variety of unique skins. Could you share some insights into the inspiration behind the design of these skins?
Keienburg: The main theme of this update, called Back to Ranger Ranch, showcases another variant of our own version of the Wild West, with a big touch of steampunk (inspired by movies like Mad Max).
The secondary theme, Brawl Academy, is our twist on high school and university dramas, featuring typical characters from this genre.
Q) In the context of optimizing the gaming experience, is Rollback Netcode a technology being considered or implemented for Brawl Stars to enhance network performance and reduce latency for players?
Keienburg: Currently, we’re not considering a significant change for our netcode. Additional server locations around the world led to a situation where our latency kept constantly improving over the last few years. It’s obviously never perfect, but we feel we’re in a pretty good place today.
Q) As a dedicated fan of "El Primo," I'm eager to know about any upcoming changes or developments planned for this beloved brawler. Can you share any insights into the future plans and potential improvements or adjustments in store for "El Primo" that can keep his fan base excited?
Keienburg: Ha! Currently, there’s not much to talk about, but of course, at some point in the future, you will have a Hypercharge to look forward to! We’re also constantly working on new skins, so who knows when the next El Primo skin will arrive?
Q) Lastly, Without giving away too many spoilers, can you offer a sneak peek or tease about any upcoming content or features that players can look forward to in the next update?
Keienburg: The next few updates will focus on improving existing features. We’ve received a lot of feedback from our community members and also constantly monitor actual player behaviors in the game. Besides these obvious things, we have a few really cool Brawler designs in the making, and who knows what will happen around our anniversary on December 12?