Wait, what? July is over?! But that means… We are back from the holiday! And we are ready to share another Nine to Five Development Update with you all!
In the past two months, together with all of you, we have been extensively testing various gameplay systems like movement, gunplay, items, and armor. You have seen the game develop and change quite a bit throughout this period, and with every test, we have gotten closer and closer to the final look and feel of the second-to-second gameplay. We are happy to say that the tests have proven that you enjoy Nine to Five at its core, with the unique 3v3v3 aspect and a strong focus on teamplay and strategy over quick reflexes.
Thanks to that, we have been able to move towards fine tuning, balancing, and polishing the core gameplay, as well as adding in new content. And with this Development Update, we want to try out something different to show you the improvements that we have been working on, by showcasing how these changes will affect your everyday experience.
Once you jump into matchmaking, the system will automatically decide a map and flow for you to play on. Flows are the game modes of Nine to Five, and each flow consists of three different rounds. With the use of a dynamic round system, each round will pick up again where the previous one ended. This means that the outcome of each round will influence your goal in the next. During the latest tests, you have mainly been playing with two different flows: Bioweapon Breakout and Opposition Research.
In Bioweapon Breakout, your team is tasked with locating and hacking a safe before extracting with its contents. In Opposition Research, you are sent on a mission to identify a cargo drop location, securing that location and finally defending it as the transmitter in the box does its business. However, keep in mind that your mission for each round will be different depending on how the previous round ended. For example, if you hacked the safe in the second round, you will be tasked with extracting with its contents in the third, whereas losing the second round means you are tasked with preventing the winning team from escaping in the third.
Even though you have been able to play these flows before, they will look and feel quite different the next time you get your hands on the game. Most flow items have received a new updated look, and some of the steps and mission objectives have received a bit of a rework as well. Below is a quick tease of what to expect:
We are also happy to announce that we have introduced a new flow called Blockchain Bounty to the rotation. In this flow, your team is tasked to access terminals to pinpoint the location of a cutter tool. Once the cutter tool has been secured, you will use that cutter tool to hack a safe. When that’s all done, you must defend your position and the contents of the safe while waiting for extraction.
When developing flows for Nine to Five we focus on several key ideas: they must be fun to play, they need to offer variability and enough complexity for both casual and hardcore players, in other words, they should be easy to learn and hard to master.
To keep things fun, and to prevent the game modes from feeling stale, we have created different variations for each of the different flows by placing the mission objectives and spawn locations in different places around the map. Luckily, our maps are big and complex enough to allow several locations for the same types of objectives. For example, on the Old New York map, the mission objectives could be in the Supermarket, Water Plant, Sewers, or on the Rooftops. This means that even during an extended play session, you are not playing the exact same flow over and over again.
Not only does this mean that you are seeing different parts of the map, each of the locations is also vastly different requiring players to use different strategies and playstyles to be successful on their missions. Your choice of weapon will also be heavily influenced by the location of the mission, so let’s have a look at what kind of tools are at your disposal to make sure your weapon fits the job.
As a mercenary your weapon is your most valuable tool, and the corporate overlords want to make sure that their staff always have a tool that fits the task at hand. With upcoming updates, we are bringing weapon customization back to Nine to Five so that you can always have the best tool for the job!
As mentioned earlier, the different locations of the map require vastly different weapons to be effective. The Water Plant in Old New York is a prime example of a large, wide, and open space, meaning that you might want to focus more on mid to long range weapons. Whereas the Supermarket is a lot more of a tight space, preferring close quarters weapons to get the job done successfully.
Before, adapting to the environment meant picking a completely different weapon, for example, when you wanted to get that little bit of extra range, you had to change your ML-PDW9 SMG for the ML-CR Assault Rifle. However, with the option to customize your weapon, swapping away your favorite gun might no longer be needed! Weapon parts and blueprint codes will allow you to adapt your weapon of choice to the mission at hand.
Weapon parts will allow you to improve the parameters of your gun as well as change its visual presentation. However, attachments will not just affect the numbers and aesthetics, but rather they will change the way your weapon performs and sounds. For example, adding a muzzle brake or a suppressor will reduce the noise and flash of your weapon, making you harder to detect when shooting. With the right attachments, you could turn your ML-PDW9 from a close-quarters powerhouse into a mid-range weapon that blurs the line between an SMG and an AR.
While weapon parts will be able to completely change the playstyle of your weapon, blueprint codes will in turn allow you to fine tune the weapon to your liking. Want to tweak the range, RPM, ammo capacity or more? These codes will let you do exactly that, allowing you to customize the weapon to your personal needs.
Speaking of personal needs, we would really want to highlight one extra addition to the Weapon menu UI. Ever since we have started testing, we have received requests show more detailed weapon stats. You will now be able to find more detailed information for your weapon, allowing you to see the damage, RPM (Rounds Per Minute), range, magazine size, handling, noise parameters and much more. You can now compare your equipped weapons with those available in your armory. No need to do the calculation on your own anymore! However, keep in mind that not everything can be conveyed through stats, so there is still a lot of room to test out the different weapons to see what fits your skills and playstyle the best.
Weapon Customization means that no matter which flow variation you get, you can guarantee that you will have a weapon that fits your needs. The improvements we have been working on do not stop here, as there are significant number of improvements done to the gameplay experience as well.
Movement & Gunplay
Even though the flows and weapon customization make up an important part of Nine to Five, movement and gunplay are still a shooter’s bread and butter. Therefore, we are constantly striving to make the movement feel exactly right and to make sure the weapons sound, look and feel as satisfying as they should while operating them.
Movement wise, our goal is to make the movement feel weighty but fluid. To achieve this, we have updated the animations for walking, running, crawling, and vaulting. Smoothening out the overall movement experience and feel.
As many of you recognized and reported in the previous tests, crawling through the air duct in the Water Plant at Old New York was a real commitment, as the crawling speed was …unhurried. We have now increased the crawling and vaulting speeds, so going through the vent will not take you half of the round. The increased speed is still not final, as we will continue testing and checking if it should be adjusted any further.
With the movement animations being in a good place, let us talk a bit about the actual weapon feel! To begin with, we have worked on improving weapon sway, giving more weight and swing to it. Furthermore, we have polished the reload animations and recoil patterns for all available weapons. Recoil is now more predictable, and it will be easier to learn how to control it.
Last but not least, Weapon Audio. Over the last three months, we have remade all the weapon sounds, to take in to account the addition of suppressors and the environment where the shooter is located at. This means that on a rooftop, in enclosed space and on the street, weapons will sound vastly different, so it is easier for you to know where the action is happening.
All of this comes together to offer a lot more polished experience. Due to the current development phase, we were not able to get this in video form for this update, but we will be showing these of soon. We can’t wait for all of you to get your hands on the latest version and tell us what you think!
There is a lot more to come…. soon!
There is one last thing we would want to share before wrapping this development update up, and this is something that should excite all our beginner mercs and the Nine to Five speedrun world record holders. Not only have we been busy polishing the flows, UI, and gameplay, but we have also been working on a new tutorial level to help new mercenaries get a head start on their new careers. The Training Ground is a place where new Mercs can learn the basics of the game and familiarize themselves with the primary missions and objectives of Nine to Five. We cannot talk much about it yet, but here is a sneak peek we have prepared for all of you to enjoy:
And with that, we are wrapping up this Development Update. As you can see, the game is shaping up very nicely, and we are getting into a stage where we are focusing more on polishing instead of doing substantial changes to the core gameplay. This also allows us to add in new content, ranging from weapons to flows to a tutorial level. With all that being said, there is still one bigger feature that we have not fully shown yet, this is Progression and Customization, and we will be sharing more in-depth information about these during a live stream and blog post in August.
In addition to the stream about Progression and Customization, we have a lot of exciting things to share during the coming month: expect more details about the different weapons and items, teasers about upcoming content and much more. We cannot wait to show more about what we have been working on, and there might even be a chance to play the game soon, so keep your eyes and calendars open.
Redhill Games Team