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

150 0
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 was a huge fan of and spent countless hours playing Warhawk. I’m in the Starhawk bet and I must say, waiting for and having to buy parts and vehicles is going to take some getting used to as well as the build and battle.

  • Can’t believe I didn’t get invited, put over 500 hours into Warhawk.

  • Well I have the statement checked “Yes, I’d like to receive news, special offers and other information about PlayStation and Sony Group of Companies’ products and services.”

    But I didn’t have the other one below it checked until recently. And not only did I have put over 500 hours into Warhawk, I have over 1000 Warhawk Wings (Be 1st on the winning team).

  • This game looks fantastic. I just hope there will be more vehicles, weapons and maps!

  • I’ve been hoping to get in the beta for a few weeks. I haven’t put a ton of time into Warhawk in the past, but I’ve been playing as much as I can over the last week to help improve my chances. I’ve also registered on starhawkthegame.com and have opted into marketing emails. And of course, I wasn’t around earlier when the codes were posted and they’ve all been used now. I guess I’ll have to see what happens tomorrow.

  • North American codes


  • Wow Harvard you are the man. just got a beta code now im downloading. Wont be off the PS3 for days now.

  • Thanks Harvard, Just made my night and tada it was right there. Cheers from one IT guy to another.

  • I’m assuming the NA codes are gone, don’t want to enter any for fear of getting locked out. I’ll be patient.

  • Thank you Harvard for the code, hope you decide to add 3D support

  • Yes!!, I got ERDQ- EPNA-4882!!, cant wait to play this beta!

  • Oh my god! They weren’t used up! I just got into the Starhawk beta!

  • Got KQ3H-6DNF-33Q6

  • I got in! BGDP-F5NM-D38C is taken! Harvard you’re the freaking man! Huge Warhawk fan so I’m stoked.

  • Just used H77h-n3n9-dm46

    thanks for the codes!

  • Oh, perfect. I’m gone for a bit and they come out with more codes that are now already used(Yes, I tried them all!) XD

  • FonFahbre! Don’t try them all! You’ll get locked out of entering codes for 24 hours if you enter too many wrong ones (used up ones). He even said that in the post! Trust me, it happened to me one time.

  • @ReptileHand, I knew that but I wasn’t thinking when entering them at the time ); Thank you for your concern, I appreciate it!.

  • probably too late, but any other codes?

    Pretty pretty please with rift energy sprinkled on top?

  • Aww what?? I Checked this post at 3:00 and stalked it for a while and when I leave more NA codes are posted .. dang it….

  • probably wont be but there might be another batch of codes

  • Hope so iamagirlygil ( lol funny name) Nice u3 beta tester avatar.. I accidentally dumped my code into the trash and my trash got wiped clean :(

  • one more wave of beta codes please..i finally got home..took awhile since my wife is sick :/

  • Harvard, will more invites be sent directly to players or are we only going to gain access by checking these sites every couple minutes? I made the mistake of not opting in for the marketing mails and hope I haven’t missed out. I fixed that a couple days ago and I am hoping more emails will be sent out. I have been checking multiple sites for codes but even finding if five minutes after being posted was no good.

  • I’m not in the Starhawk beta (*sadface*) But I can’t wait to be. I loved Warhawk, and it looks like there’s going to be so much new with Starhawk that it will likely become my default online game. As a side point, I want to say that it’s pretty awesome that you’re so willing to respond to people on here, Harvard. It’s not often devs are willing to do that. It’s a nice change.

  • Only concern i have with the StarHawk so far is please make sure that there is a “Forced Tutorial” in final release because StarHawk is going to have a very very Steep Learning Curve for New players to the series/genre.

    other then that the gameplay is fun

  • I understand trusting the gamers who played your last game. I hope you’ve considered though, that you want Starhawk to be a much, MUCH bigger game than Warhawk was. I bought Warhawk, but I didn’t play it as much as I thought I would, because there were actually lots of quirks about Warhawk that made it hard to get into.

    My point is that if you rely mostly on what the “Warheads” say, who are fans who are used to your last game, your feedback will be extremely skewed. It seems like more than anything you need outsiders’ opinions who will see the idiosyncrasies of the “warhawk series” and help things improve.

    I’m comforted to see that you HAVE put in an over the shoulder view, it looks like you don’t have to switch your grenades to throw them, and thank GOODNESS you’ve improved the character animations. So you’re not just keeping all the weird/dated things from your last game, which is good. Still, don’t underestimate the value of fresh eyes.

    • all good points. We always try to walk the fine line between the Warhawk fanatics and other shooter players. Your thoughts are not lost on us

  • Great beta so far. I actually also really want to get more on the story of the game.

    Are there any plans for a web based mini game like myresistance.net?

  • My uncharted 3 vouvher code for the Starhawk beta had a blank code box. After contacting many people on twitter and calling customer service I have yet to find a solution. Please Help!

  • i am loving the beta. and i love what you guys have added. feels like a brand new game. its great. but yea everyone is having problems with the flight controls. im pretty good with it. what you could do is add variety to the flight controls. and the player picks its way of flying. but i cant wait for the full game…im expecting more vehicles right?

    • yup, more vehicles, guns, structs, etc are on the way. We’re not sure if they’ll make it into the beta but you never know!

  • I would say first of all that this game has a totally new idea with “build&battle”. i never saw a game with wide open maps where you can change the whole map while playing with the “build&battle” option in starhawk. imagine you are in the middle of a really hard ground war (Online with 8 on 8) and your energy is fully loaded and you can choose between a lot of weapons, vehicles, hawks, walls, turrets and much much more which you can build during the battle to use it right away. honestly “THATS ONE THE MOST INNOVATIVE FEAUTURE” i saw in ages in video games. i would describe it like a 3 dimensional “command and conquer” where YOU building weapons and structure along heavy fights on the ground while “YOU ARE FIGHTING IN REAL TIME” . You will understand it 100% when you are in the game and if you played for one hour you’re straight away addicted to starhawk. the graphics look like a comic science fiction (which is a compliment!) and the gameplay is so smooth and at the same time its heavy war all over the place. big thumbs up so far for starhawk. I am sure it has a long lasting motivation with all those innovative features and the online community.


  • So I am a diehard warhawk fan who has over 700 hours into it, I have purchased every single piece of dlc ever released, have been anticipating starhawk for a long time, a playstation plus subscriber and I still can’t seem to get into the beta.. I keep seeing codes posted all over the blog and facebook but by the time I see them they are all claimed… This sadens me deeply.. Guess I’m going to have to wait for the publice beta :(

  • Just got an email with my beta code. [DELETED] YEAH! Can’t wait to boot this baby up!

    Thanks LightBox Interactive!

  • Big Warhawk fan didn’t get a Starhawk beta code, but that’s alright good things come to people that wait
    can’t wait to buy starhawk it will be a day 1 buy for me.

  • I got in. Downloading now!

  • Thanks for inviting me to the Beta Sony …. I hope my code wasnt accidentally put in these codes you put here LOL

  • man i would like to get chance to try this game i play warhawk it was fun you got any codes anyone is there Starhawk Open Beta coming early next year?

  • Hey Harvard Bonin, I just received my Playstation Network Beta key, I was so excited to try the beta and give my opinion, however, upon entering my code within the Redeem Code method, as stated within the email, the only reply I received was “An error has occurred. (80023156)”. Please Help…

  • I’m curious if there’re plans for in-game soundtracks, similar to what Warhawk had. At least for the multiplayer portion. Loving the music the game has but wouldn’t mind adding my own whenever the need strikes~

  • I JUST LOOKED AT MY EMAIL AND I GOT A BETA INVIT!!!!!!!!!!! XD THANK YOU!!! im going to play it till my ps3 EXPLODES!!!! or at least until the beta is over with.. :) this game is going to be the BEST GAME EVER!!

  • Hello Harvard Bonin, is there any chance you can get some beta keys ? Tyia


  • I have downloaded the beta using my code I got through my email but all I get is the user agreement and then something explaining the enhancements of version 1.0.2 & 1.0.6 which is crazy because on the 9th of December patch 1.0.9 was released anyway after that I get an error tell me that a server connection has occurred

  • It just keeps looping between user agreement and patch enhancements and server error I cannot get in o btw the version that downloaded to my ps3 is v1.0 if that helps at all

  • MY—-SKILLS : have you checked Transaction History > Services in your PSN account ?

  • i missed the codes. i put all of them in but they are all used. well that what i get for being a day late.

  • just got my private beta invite inmy email, installing as we speak. THANKS ALOT! Looking forward to putting alot of hours into this beta.

Please enter your date of birth.