Interview Stranger (anglais)
Edition du : 26/9/2004
Auteur : Scherlock
A.F : In terms of game play, we hear that Stranger will take the genre in a few new directions - can you expand on this for us ?
Ludmila Ludvig (Fireglow Ltd - Licensing Manager) : The keynote is a bigger share of tactical gameplay. That is to say we make the fights more detailed (in comparison with strategy games) and we introduce an additional element, which is battle preparation. This preparation includes multiple actions. In a certain mission you may need just to equip characters and to take them to their positions. In another mission, for example, you be may required to obtain resources which are necessary to hire a neutral tribe at first, then you may have to produce equipment, the tactic planning follows last of all. Besides you have to watch out for neutral characters, as their response to a certain event may be either helpful or unwanted.
A.F : In your opinion, what are some of the more interesting units to be found in the game ?
Ludmila Ludvig : We have to make each character interesting even if its lifetime is just a few seconds. We give each single character its own story; we think out its role in the game and provide it with some unusual skills and abilities. We have paid most of attention to heroes, there’s no question about that. They are crucial characters. The storyline and additional missions are built on them. Anti-heroes will be important part as well, but this information is still secret.
A.F : What can you tell us about the game's graphics engine and will there be a mission editor included in the game ?
Ludmila Ludvig : The graphical engine is supporting and using DirectX 9 features. We have most modern effects, full dynamic lightning and shadows. The engine supports several large maps simultaneously, high density game objects and units. Naturally, the hardware requirements are modern. Large maps are demanding to RAM, effects to GPU and the game objects processing keeping CPU loaded. Mission Editor will be available for download from our site some time after the Release.
A.F : Atmosphere can add so much to create an immersive experience; what ambience will you be promoting in the game and how do you hope to achieve this ?
Ludmila Ludvig : Firstly, we have developed a lot of so-called diverse “themes”. They include artwork and sound designs of missions; different missions use different themes. In our opinion that helps to make a non-boring and continually changing environment. Secondly, we have paid much attention to details. We’ve spent a lot of time fitting each visual and gameplay component accordingly to our goals. We’ve met a lot of technical problems but now we can proudly say that we have got the quality since there’s been a lot of work on this. Thirdly, this magic world is literally crammed with surprises. Our efforts intend to keep the player stressed during the campaign whilst gradually implementing our own logic of magic interactions between the characters and game environment.
A.F : What other unique gameplay elements will Stranger have ?
Ludmila Ludvig : We developed a special fighting system resembling its Role-Playing Game counterpart but refined and adapted to Real Time Strategy needs. We hope that our efforts will make lots of fun for “hack’n’slash” fans as a result. There will be lots of diverse weapons, magic stuff and other items. You can distribute loot between your warriors. You are able to trade or to use (with help of craftsmen) captured items as a building material for new useful things. This is being considered as an additional feature (despite its having a major effect on the general balance).
A.F : Multiplayer will clearly be a major part of the game, what are the challenges of this portion of the title, and how will it differ from other multiplayer RTS's. ?
Ludmila Ludvig : Well, it is a major part but we don’t mean less regard to the Campaign. All ideas and gameplay components were tested in multiplayer and only then were implemented in the Campaign. So we can tell that the game will have similar features in either in the Campaign and the Multiplayer. It’s apparent that there will be regular “symmetric” missions where the task is to gain control over a territory and to wipe out the enemy or a certain enemy player or team. We are also working on “asymmetric” missions, where opposing players will have different goals. In other words, these are “plotline” missions. Of course these “plots’ will be shorter then the main Campaign. This is because of technical limits. The fact is, all of the maps included in a multiplayer mission are available for all players without additional loading. Game action can take place in a few locations at the same time.
A.F : Please describe the general offensive design philosophy of each of the forces in Stranger ?
Ludmila Ludvig : We cannot answer this question as it may affect the storyline. The player will not have to take the side of a certain force but will be left to his own devices. Of course alliances are possible; but those are basically temporary alliances, as the interests of each party may differ too much.
A.F : Will there be any beta tests or open demos of the game released before the game reaches the stores ?
Ludmila Ludvig: Yes. We’re going to release an open demo shortly before the release date. Public beta-testing is not planned yet.
A.F : Will you be hoping to create and support a gaming community around the new title, if so, how ?
Ludmila Ludvig : Presently we understand that the capacities of our engine cover a much wider range than we can use in a single game. We’re going to have some feedback from players to make clear which of our ideas are most successful. Our tools will be available for modders. We are going to support the development of mods while developing the sequel. Who knows maybe this will affect our plans.
A.F : What is the current status of the game's progress and when will it be released ?
Ludmila Ludvig : Now the project is somewhere between the Alpha and the Beta versions. Currently we’re filling locations with content, are testing gameplay options and are going to add some new interesting visual effects. We hope that the game will be on the shelves of retail stores as soon as April/May 2005.
A.F : Finally is there anything else you wish to say about Stranger at this point ?
Ludmila Ludvig : We are happy with the result despite difficult beginnings and the hard work that has followed on this fantasy setting (which is new for us). We have had some reactions from the game community. They have told us that we should not to put off the idea of historical strategy. However we have feeling that we can succeed in the genre of fantasy and who knows, probably Stranger and its sequels will be more successful than our previous hits.