Splitgate Beta Season 2 launches Thursday, June 2, 1047 Games announced Wednesday, bringing three new game modes, a remastered map, new matchmaking, player progression systems, and a new battle pass in addition to improvements to the map maker.
New Game Modes: Juggernaut, Hotzone, Lockdown
Of the three new game modes, one is a free-for-all, and the other two are team-based. Juggernaut selects one player at random to be the Juggernaut for the round, giving them a huge boost to survivability. They then score points based on how long they can survive.
Hotzone and Lockdown are both area control modes. In the former, teams battle over a neutral zone. Holding it for 30 seconds scores a point. In the latter, there are three hills to contest. Holding all three at once earns that team a point, then moves the hills to new locations.
Arena shooters are inherently repetitive, according to 1047 co-founder and CEO Ian Proulx. That's where plenty of game mode variety comes into play.
"Having a ton of game modes allows it to that variety that you need," Proulx told DBLTAP in a recent interview. "Also, for us, we're looking at the feedback, we're listening to the community. We're always trying to improve. So for us, it might be changing a game mode, it might be making a new game mode and replacing old ones that aren't as popular, but I think our approach is we just keep iterating and adding more and more modes to replace the ones that aren't doing as well. Eventually we'll end up with really, really fun modes that as many people as possible like."
Rather than release a new map, 1047 opted to remaster the already established map Abyss.
"We're continuing to evolve into a AAA game, and a AAA studio," Proulx said. That means hiring a lot of new talent from within and without the games industry, and bringing what's already in the game up to the new standard the studio has set for itself.
"We've continued to overhaul the maps, so this next season we're overhauling Abyss, continuing to release new characters that are AAA, release new weapons that are AAA that have this new art style that we're going for."
The remaster retains the most salient elements of the map, but adds new portal wall placements that the studio says will keep everyone on their toes. Proulx says the team has doubled down on the game's graphical overhaul, and the new Abyss displays the extent of that work.
"As an indie studio with a very small team, we really went for the Halo-meets-Portal look, because we don't have to give it a lot of thought. We don't have the resources to go make something unique. Now we have those resources, both in terms of quality and in terms of style," said Proulx.
Less flashy, but perhaps even more important, are the improvements 1047 has made to matchmaking.
"When Splitgate skyrocketed to popularity last summer, our servers were not up to the task," the studio said in a press release. "We've replaced our backend with one that can scale to a million concurrent users. And it completely replaces our poor matchmaking experience with a fast and intelligent system."
The new matchmaker takes head on one of the main gripes players had with the previous system: bots.
"One of the things we hear from our community is they don't want bots. That's something that the new matchmaker, it prioritizes getting you good matches in a much smarter way, and getting you matches with real humans and balanced teams," said Proulx.
Player Progression and Battle Pass Updates
To keep players queueing, 1047 has introduced a new progression system and a battle pass full of unlockable goodies. The new progression system has players leveling up more quickly at the start of the track, and uses Level 100 as a mile marker. Passing that level will send players into Pro 1 tier, starting the process over again all the way up to Pro 10. All along the way they'll unlock new challenges to complete and rewards to equip.
The new battle pass also offers 100 levels of unlockables, with more than 100 total items. They include two new Legendary characters — Guardian and Operator — six Legendary weapons, 10 drops and 1,200 Splitcoin. The pass itself costs 900 Splitcoin.
Map Maker Improvements
Splitgate's dedication to community shines when it comes to its map maker. Beta Season 2 adds a raft of improvements, including the ability to save created maps to the cloud, making them easier to share. Players can also build on a new island called Wet Ocean.
"This is definitely our biggest new season to date," Proulx said. Some parts of the game may still be in the old art style, but he and the studio are confident in their approach to the transition.
"I think our mentality, really from day one, has been we're very iterative. We're okay with having a bit of an awkward transition, because we want to optimize for speed so that we can keep iterating the product as quickly as possible."
"We're only going to get faster and faster," he said.