Mission Zero interview: NetEase Games reveals insights about its latest stealth IP

Diving deep into the backdrop of the development of Mission Zero!

With the technical test of Mission Zero, NetEase Games‘ upcoming IP coming soon shortly on July 8, 2022, we at GamingonPhone sat down with Kai Yu, who is the project leader of this upcoming stealth, action IP, for an interview. Two teams fighting against each other, with high-octane action pieces and unique abilities, Mission Zero promises to be a different experience for the players. Players have been craving the release of the game since its announcement. We’ll hear Kai Yu breaking into the background, ideas, and what’s all in store for the global release of Mission Zero, with this interview.

Before we get started with the Mission Zero interview, could you please introduce yourself in brief for our readers?

Hello, I am Kai Yu, the project leader of Mission Zero. My team and I have many years of experience in asymmetry and stealth games, and we hope that Mission Zero will deliver a very different gameplay experience for our players.

How long has the game been in development and what is the current team size?

Mission Zero has been in development since the middle of 2019. We have been working on it for three years and have now finished two rounds of Closed Beta Test (CBT) on the Chinese mainland. Our team currently contains over 100 people.

What was the initial idea behind this game?

Mission Zero was originally designed to be a multiplayer PVP stealth game. During the development process, we found that the levels of difficulties in traditional stealth games are controlled by AI, which has fixed patterns. Because of this, most players would not want to play again, after they had completed the game once. For this reason, development costs are high, while re-playability is low. It got us thinking about the possibility of allowing the players to control the game’s difficulty levels. We tried to combine the blend-in and PVP gameplay to give the game more replayability and more randomness.

Mission Zero Gameplay
Image via NetEase

Based on that, the game turned into invaders vs. chasers, which has both something in common and something different amongst asymmetric competitive games. In addition to the 4 invaders and 2 chasers, the game also includes a third-party faction, which involves hundreds of NPCs. These NPCs’ actions will create unpredictable variables for both factions.

On the other hand, in order to improve the playability of the game, we have increased the number of chasers from the traditional single-player to two. Another challenge is the balance of ‘blend-in’ and ‘confrontation’. ‘Blend-in’ mostly happens in single-player games, which have a slow pace and strong sense of immersion, while ‘confrontation’ is fast-paced. We are always pursuing the balance between those two types of gameplay and trying to make the game more interesting.

How much inspiration has Mission Zero gained from the Hitman IP, considering its success in the stealth genre of games?

Hitman is a very successful single-player stealth IP. The Hitman series did very well in the AI design, 3Cs, level design, scene design, and so on. But, Mission Zero is fundamentally different from Hitman or AC, which are single-player stealth games. The core stealth experience of Mission Zero is not dependent on the AI, but more on real-player opponents. This requires us to focus more on balance, the pace of the invading and chasing mechanic, and how to design more chasers and equipment to increase the depth of gameplay.

2 vs 4 or asymmetrical games are not completely new in the market. We have Dead by Daylight and NetEase Games’ own title Tom and Jerry: Chase. How is this game going to differentiate itself from these two?

That’s a good question. Firstly, we have a different TA and we can fill a gap in the market. The asymmetric players who aren’t fans of horror games or those who don’t care for cartoon-style games will really enjoy the innovative approach of Mission Zero.

Secondly, compared to 1v4, 2 Chasers in Mission Zero will be able to communicate with each other. It will not only reduce the feeling of isolation but will also raise the bar in terms of chasers’ cooperation. Last but not least, Mission Zero offers stealth gameplay, which is not available in other asymmetric games.

The Chinese version has been out for a while and got a fair success there. What has brought up the decision to move the game to a global audience?

The game was developed for global players from the very beginning. My team and I really hope that players around the world can play the game and enjoy the charm of Mission Zero.

What are your favorite characters in the game, both in the section of Mobius or Sirius?

My favorite character is Aya. She is the first Mobius Chaser we designed, and she has a special meaning for us. Aya has the ability to move long distances. If invaders are pushed against a wall by Aya, they will be stunned for a while. She plays a comprehensive attacking role. Aya is a cool girl who has a lot of secrets. We will reveal her story later on our official social media account.

When can the fans expect the global release to take place?

Mission Zero release
Image via NetEase

The July 8 technical test will be our first test for global players. We are very excited and nervous about this test. We will definitely speed up the pace of the CBT, listen to the feedback from our players, and launch the game as soon as possible.

The gameplay looks interesting at this point in time. What are the plans for regular updates post-global launch? Maybe new maps, characters, game modes!

Thank you. It is certain that we will have new maps, new Mobius chasers, new Sirius equipment, and new game modes. Moreover, the story behind Mission Zero will be gradually revealed in the future.

Did you find this Mission Zero interview insightful? Do let us know in the comments below!

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