In 2.8 update we are reworking Rogatka — not just stats-wise, but also in terms of its looks. It is not the first visual rework we’re doing in War Robots, but probably the most prominent one. Historically Rogatka was beloved by many. It survived through many ordeals and now is coming back in style.
Updating older robots to modern standards isn’t much different from building an entirely new machine. Just like with latest introductions to our roster, we have to compile a reference base, draw sketches, concepts and build animated 3D-models pretty much from scratch.
But still we have to take an old look into account to keep reworked robot recognizable. We’ve done many visual reworks before and learned many lessons, including that saying “screw it, we’re throwing the old design away and starting anew” isn’t the way to go. Visual identity is exactly what makes many of our robots stick out. And it’s very important do it in a way that make that you could look at the new Rogatka and instantly realize: yes, this is, indeed, a Rogatka.
We also didn’t have to go through gameplay prototyping, since the playstyle is firmly set already. We upgraded Rogatka’s stats so it fits better into current metagame, but its identity is still the same: nimble, yet relatively powerful brawler that is ready to jump doaway whenever things get too hot. Or even jump in to make things hot — unlike Griffin, Rogatka’s short jump cooldown allows it to use it both for engaging and disengaging in the same skirmish.
That’s Rogatka’s fantasy — and we’re fully committed to it.
But let’s get back to the beginning. Why even change something when it works?
Because, let’s face it, Rogatka is old. Very old. When we released it in 2014 (a lo-o-ong time ago) all robots were based on historical military tech: take Be-12 and A-90 aircrafts, stick Mi-28’s nose on it — voila, you’ve got Rogatka. Since then the approach has proven to be quite inflexible: there were so many concepts wanted to realize, and yet we were restricted by already existing forms. Our ideas went much crazier since then, and it allowed some really cool things (like four-legged Raijin and Fujin) to emerge.
Still, we didn’t ditch the connection with military tech altogether. We took the question “what if USSR vehicles from the past were built in a few decades from now” as a baseline and started our research from there.
We even had Soviet symbolics on early concepts.
The final decision, however, was to abstain from using these. Parallels are fun and all, but it was a bit too blunt of a reference. War Robots is about a fantasy, and we don’t mind to ground it in reality more or less. But in a future where giant walking robots are leading tools of warfare it’s very likely that symbols and ideologies will evolve in rather unexpected (and much more subtle) ways.
How exactly? That we’ll probably learn someday.