Q&A: Starhawk Private Beta is Reaching for the Stars

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Q&A: Starhawk Private Beta is Reaching for the Stars

At this very moment, a small group of lucky testers are putting the Starhawk Private Beta through its paces. During last week’s PlayStation holiday showcase for New York City media, I had a chance to go hands-on with the beta. But I wanted to learn more about the beta’s reception among the diehard Warhawk community, so I chatted with Senior Producer Harvard Bonin to learn some key findings from the beta: the most popular weapons and vehicles, the sneakiest tactics, and what beta players can expect next.

The Starhawk Private Beta is Live This Tuesday

PlayStation.Blog: Obviously, there’s a private beta going on right now. What have been some of the key learnings?
Oh, boy. There have been too many to name here, but one of the key learnings has been how closely we need to listen to hardcore Warhawk players. We made some changes to the flight controls that they reacted to negatively. We’re now in the process of addressing that, and it’s only because of the beta that we realized. Without a beta, we have no way to do that.

We’ve also seen a lot of strategies we couldn’t have anticipated. The Build & Battle configurations are pretty interesting, people placing walls backwards so enemies can get in but not get out. Some players are employing a more aggressive use of the Spawn Towers, and they’re leapfrogging across the map while planting Spawn Towers in order to progress faster.

PSB: Where do we stand in terms of another wave of beta invites?
We have a lot more invites going out next week (read: this week), and then we’ll go through December with those. At some point, we’ll need to take down the private beta in order to prep for the public beta, which will include new features. So you’ll see us going pretty dark while we prep that public beta for 2012.

PSB: Have you seen any clear trends so far in terms of favorite vehicles?
Well, it depends on the day and the balance. The mech is very popular. In earlier phases of the beta, it was majorly overpowered and was able to forcibly take advantage of enemy bases. We just made some significant changes to the mech with a live update yesterday, so we’ll see how those go.

The jetpack is also very popular because it’s so versatile. On the outer space map we’ve had players going under the map in the outer space level. Just like Captain Kirk in The Wrath of Kahn, you’ve got to think in three dimensions!

Starhawk for PS3

PSB: Have you had to tone down or tweak certain weapons?
Every day something is too powerful. We recently went through a nerf session with the Shotgun, maybe we overdid it. When we make balance changes, we often prefer to swing the pendulum a lot, then in smaller and smaller increments to find the sweet spot. Your initial balance change needs to be big enough.

But yeah, like you mentioned earlier, this is a real beta. It allows us to take our time with balancing: it’s not like we’re scrambling to release the game in a week or two. There’s a big window between the public beta ending and the game releasing. Games need time in the pressure cooker, you know?

PSB: What’s been the reaction to the private beta so far?
Some days they love it, some days they’ve got constructive criticism! We had originally invited very top Warhawk players to join the Starhawk private beta, and they were apprehensive at first. But now we’ve seen some of the harshest critics from before begin to evangelize Starhawk. It takes some time to get your feet wet, but once you do, you begin to find layers to the game you didn’t realize were there. That’s what’s exciting about Starhawk.

Overall, though, it’s been a very positive private beta, both in terms of the constructive criticism and the feedback.

Starhawk for PS3

PSB: What was the logic behind keeping the Outcast and Rifters identical in multiplayer?
Whenever you start to differentiating the skill set of players, it’s tricky. We’re already treading on thin ice with our skill system, which we’ll be introducing soon in an upcoming patch. Our system of gaining skills is different than most games; you earn them by accomplishing certain goals. All of these are designed to encourage players to play in a way that is “optimal fun,” whether it’s assists or playing in a more cooperative way.

PSB: What’s the sneakiest move you’ve seen in the Beta so far?
People love the drop pods, trying to land on an enemy when they respawn. One of the most useful tactics so far is using the jetpack to sneak close to the enemy and then knifing him from behind. It’s not exactly a science, but some of these guys are great at it.

PSB: How is the single-player campaign coming along?
Really well, we’ve recently hit alpha. All the pieces are in place, and right now we’re going into each individual mission to make sure that the core structure, the moments are as fun as possible, and that everything works. Sometimes we have to change the entire layout of a scenario; other times we just have to upgrade the presentation level.

We’re going to start talking more about the solo campaign soon in the next few months, so stay tuned.

Comments are closed.


  • I’m in the beta and can confirm it is fun. It does need tweaking in terms of hawks though. I’m just happy this is a real beta **cough**BF3**cough**

  • im loving every single second of it , im really impressed , only thing is i still havent figure it out how to evade missiles when im on a warhawk or jet pack , anyways Starhawk will be my online game next year , yeap im that impressed oh i almost forgot can we set up matches longer than 15 minutes ? i think 20 , 25 minutes would be even better

    • those are kind words, thanks. You should be able to press L3+X to dodge when in a Hawk to evade. Also, press R3 for your flares. Double pressing R2 with a Jetpack should boost you

  • at 1 yea im having a hard time trying to control the hawks , it wasnt that hard in warhawk

  • I’ve been updating a thing called StarHawk Corner at:

    Everything from maps to tactics. Check it out!

  • Giving up hope on getting my invite to the private beta, but it won’t be too long until the public beta starts. Do we have a release date yet? I’m dying to play but don’t want to get too pumped if I have to wait another year or something.

  • I’m in the Beta, it is a nice cross of classic Warhawk and AwesomeSauce! Glade we finally have a top notch shooter that puts everyone on the same playing field.

  • When do people who bought Uncharted 3 get in the beta?

  • @Lolsa1 next year.

  • @MPaullin – Check out twitter (@StarHawkRadio) as they often give out codes.

  • i was sad when Warhawk pretty much went downhill as far as number of people playing. I hope starhawk has the same feel as warhawk did.

  • I beta tested Warhawk but I didn’t get a invite yet. I’m signed up for emails too.

  • Been part of the Beta since day one, thanks to you Harv I was the first person to get a code off facebook! I think I had helped alot when it came to the nerfing of certain weapons such as the Shotgun. This game is great fun, and its great the game is getting alot of attention from other sites. I really want this game to be huge, it deserves it and I’ve been telling my friends to save up for it!

  • Here are a bunch of North America codes. Remember to not keep trying to input as you’ll get locked out. Other peope are trying to use them too. Once you pass the legal info you should be in the clear to use. Maybe you’ll get lucky!


  • Here are a bunch of Europe/Australia codes. Remember to not keep trying to input as you’ll get locked out. Other peope are trying to use them too. Once you pass the legal info you should be in the clear to use.


  • @Harvard Bonin
    I registered on the website when the game was announced. I just redeemed one of those codes though so I’m good now.

  • Once those codes are gone…how to [maybe] get in to the private beta:

    Or, if you’ve just gotten in, go there to learn basic play info.

  • I got in! Thanks guys! I chose a good time to click on this page lol
    I used the north american code NR75-QTN3-HBCB

    Thanks you guys, I was really excited to hear the beta started but was disappointed when my UC3 code didn’t work, didn’t realize it was for the late beta. So I’m happy now. Thanks guys.

    I loved Warhawk and played it for many many hours, honestly I have to try this new Starhawk thing to see if I’ll still like it, it seems like a pretty big change for me.

  • I’m in the Beta and so far, I’m not a fan. I love Warhawk and spent countless hours on it and I guess I was really just hoping for “Warhawk 2” with improved graphics, new maps and offline bots so that you can still play if the internet or PSN are down.

    I’ll keep putting in time in the Beta though and hopefully I’ll “get it” at some point.

    Regardless of my feelings about the game itself (so far) you guys at Lightbox are seriously talented people!!

    • thanks. We’re open to all feedback. Keep playing and check out the changes. Its not Warhawk 2 for sure but I think some of our future updates will make you feel better

  • Re-posting, since the blog dislikes URLs:

    How to [maybe] get in to the private beta:
    Go to the Starhawk wiki and read Intro_To_Private_Beta

    Or, if you’ve just gotten in, go there for basic play info.

  • jason_ac don’t forget StarHawk Corner on Full Frontal Gaming (my post is awaiting mod as well for a URL.)

  • I just redeemed the code: BH5G-29ND-2E75 for North America

    Hopefully theres some Team Deathmatch and some Capture the Flag gametypes. The game looks great, if it looks as good as it plays, Sony needs to acquire them

  • I’m loving it so far, glad to see LightBox putting so much effort into this. Definitely plan on buying the full game.

  • any more of those codes tried a bunch but no took! plz post more would be so grateful!

  • Okay, so I installed the game now but it just loads for like 2 minutes then a message comes up:

    “A server connection error has occurred.”

    And before you ask, no my internets not down I just downloaded the game silly! Then it goes to the BETA update includes list. Then I press ok and it goes back to the EULA.

  • ok never mind persistence wins out! Got the 9HRC-Q4NA-L9FJ code thanks so much Mr. Bonin cant wait to get my feet wet. Warhawk is dope and this game has been on the radar for awhile! Glad I don’t have to wait till after new year, good lookin’ out and tell the team good job for all of us addicts!

  • Never played warhawk but I’m in this beta. So far I’m confused and don’t understand the game at all but it’s intriguing and appears to have potential. I hope I can get into it more and start to enjoy it. So far, just getting owned…

    • stick with it. We’re throwing everyone into the deep end. The retail game will have a solo campaign and be much friendlier out of the gate

  • @starBlinky01 this is the daily server maintenance time. Try again in 10 minutes.

  • @capitales7 you can play some Warhawk and get owned for the next 6-9 months…

  • Will PSPlus members get into the next beta?

  • i dont think i’ve caught it in the reading but how long is the beta. i know it goes into next year but can you give me a month.

  • It’s OKAY… I still like Warhawk more. Just too much has been changed.

  • I’m enjoying the Starhawk multiplayer beta but I strongly recommend that the full game should have a very well-designed tutorial for new players – because they might find it confusing.

    Thumbs up for the jetpacks & how they have been re-designed so that you cannot stay up in the air indefinitely.

    When will we see the hoverbike that was seen in one of the videos?

  • Very dissapointed that I have yet to recieve a beta code. As an avid Warhawk player who bought every single mapack I think I shouldve been the first in line to recieve a code exspecially after logging hundreds of hours into warhawk. Soooo how bout somebody on the other side hook me up :P [DELETED]

  • Can…I…just…have….one? My email is zekececil at yahoo. I literally would have to write the code down, run down the hall, then type it in, and then read the message saying I didn’t get it. I’ve done that, it doesn’t work. Please, send it to my email or DM my twitter account. (@zekececil14)

  • I have been a massive WarHawk fan and managed to build a community site which brought WH gamers like myself together. I’ve been playing the beta for a week now and the more I play it and learn from how others play the more I’m appreciating just how amazing this game is shaping into a future classic. It’s got deeper, more tactical elements to the gameplay than WH had so it’s going to make clan matches far more interesting and hopefully a bit more balanced because it was always the best pilots that won the matches for the clans. Finally the war will also be just as important on the ground.

  • I give the beta 8.5/10 right now, good work LBI !!

    I love the constant tweaks that you guys doing. (mostly a new patch every day) Best beta I ever participated !!

  • Will you be supporting Stereoscopic 3D ?

  • Well for a beta this is IMO one hell of a good score, I can imagine the gold version of the game to be easily above 9 if everything goes well !!

  • I’ll miss the tank, but look forward to the game!

    Hey Harvard, how’s about another round of beta codes?

  • Well since Im not in the beta but Starhawk is a spiritual successor to warhawk then I already give the game a 10 OUT OF 10. Warhawk was and still is by far the best multiplayer experience Ive had this gen now if I could only get a beta code hinthint.

  • Harvard
    Any chance of a special edition?

  • Harvard, thanks for getting me into the beta, it’s been nearly three weeks!

    I can’t wait to see more features to be tested (the Riftbikes, Pistols, Grinders, Strikers(?), splitscreen, party & clan support, etc.)

    Keep on going!

  • Hi harvard, got a code a few days ago from the facebook page, well delighted so thanks for giving us, the end users, the chance to really have some input into the development of the end product :)

    i work alot of hours at present so only getting minimal opportunities to sit down n have a decent crack at starhawk, but as a veteran warhawk player i have to say that so far i’m greatly impressed with this title. i”ve been trying to be objective, taking starhawk as a game in it’s own right as its been well publicised as ‘not’ a sequel and more just ‘in the spirit of’ warhawk. my only gripes are inability to distinguish the weapons(including air weapons) with any great degree of clarity, but i assume this is just down to experience and as time goes on i’ll learn what each pick up is and where to find it on the map. i’m sure i had similar issues in the beginning with warhawk lol

    keep up the good work, i look forward to all the exciting news/updaates in the coming months!

  • Here are a bunch of Europe/Australia codes. Remember to not keep trying to input as you’ll get locked out. Other peope are trying to use them too. Once you pass the legal info you should be in the clear to use.


  • The beta is really fun and Im loving how its tactical and fast paced at the same time, I’ll be definitely getting it’ on release date.

    But I have one huge bother, the soldiers seem to run constantly and never fatigue or slow down. This makes the riffle really hard to get kills with since it’s extremely easy to avoid the fire since you can just run away and never need to stop. I always have trouble keeping my aim with the players fleeing so easily while I shoot with the riffle. The damage of the riffle seems really weak too and most the time I just run up and knife or use grenades to kill when I try to kill with that weapon.

    Are you guys planning on making changes to those things I mentioned? Because otherwise this is one of the most refreshing and fun multiplayer games Ive played in a long time

    • Try using L1 over the shoulder, empty your click, then retarget with L1 over and over till target is dead. Otherwise, we have a ton of changes we’re making all the time. Its all on the table

  • I have 2 if anyone wants them. I found them when I googled, “StarHawk beta codes.” They were posted 4 hours ago, so I tried them and they worked. They should still work, but no guarantees. Message me on PSN.

  • I gave them away, you’re welcome to those lucky two gamers!

  • I was trying all the codes posted above for America but everyone took them already, Lol!. Have fun with the game guys, I’ll await for my chance next year with the beta code I received from Uncharted 3.

  • @Harvard Bonin
    Nope, I got a thank you from one guy. He thought it didn’t work, so I told him to try again, then it worked. He typed it in wrong, at first.

  • @49
    I worded that weird…………………..to confirm, it DID work for one guy, he was happy.

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