Maxwell McGee from GameSpot.com speaks with Blair Fraser about 'Sins of a Dark Age'
. Blair shares information on some of 'Sins' gameplay style, a revolutionary hybrid of RTS and tactical command.
Click here to watch the video on our YouTube channel
(Subscribe while you're there)
Maxwell McGee: Hello everyone this is Maxwell McGee back again with Blair Fraser of Ironclad. We've got a big announcement that you might have heard of, Blair, why don't you go ahead and take it away from here.
Blair Fraser: Well, Ironclad is moving into the fantasy strategy genre.
MM: So, what does that mean exactly?
BF: Well it means we've had our fun with the sci-fi strategy and the 'Sins of the Solar Empire'
series, now we're moving into the 'Sins of a Dark Age'
MM: So I take it we're moving away from the grand outer space spaceship battles and what-have-you, to something more terrestrial?
BF: Yes, we're moving into land battles with mass carnage, magic spells and cavalry flanks, resource acquisition and maneuvers around forests and around difficult cliffs and whatnot.
MM: Are you still going to attempt to have the same sense of grand scale that is seen in the 'Sins of the Solar Empire'
BF: No, we're toning it way back because we want our play sessions to play on a much shorter timeframe. Our approach is the same as what we did with 'Sins (of a Solar Empire)' where we hybridized real-time strategy with 4x games, now we're taking the traditional real-time strategy games and hybridizing it with what we call the action RTS.
MM: So when you say 'action RTS', what do you mean by that exactly?
BF: 'Action RTS' people know as the ('Defense of the Ancients'
) DOTA-clone style type stuff, 'League of Legends'
and whatnot. We have a completely new approach on how that is going to integrate into a real-time strategy type game.
MM: So is it focused on combat and tactics, or is there still going to be base-building and resource management involved?
BF: Again, we're looking at the philosophy we took in 'Sins (of a Solar Empire)' where we took the high level strategy component of the game and a low level tactical component of the game, we are keeping that philosophy. But in this new game the Commander is taking care of the high level strategy; that includes base-building, resource acquisition, controlling large groups of units, AKA 'the chaff'. Other players will control the powerful Heroes that will lead those armies into battles and in the assaults into the enemy defences.
MM: So I imagine it is going to have a big focus on teamwork then?
BF: Exactly, the game is all about teamwork. In fact we're calling it the 'Hero-and-Commander strategy' style of gameplay. The Commander has a set of tools that allow him to issue commands and information to the Heroes. The Heroes can either follow that or not, it's all about coordinating the tactics and the strategy to lead to victory.
MM: How do you motivate the Hero units to follow the Commander? If you are playing with regular people online they just want to do whatever they want.
BF: (laughs) it’s the same in every game, 'Battlefield 2'
had the Commander role as a lot of other strategy games. The basic incentive is, you want to win and he has information that is useful to you and you have skills that are useful to him. We have designed user interface mechanisms and game design mechanisms that encourage cooperation. But there is no reason that they can say 'the heck with you, I'm doing my own thing', that is just life on the internet.
MM: So can you give us any example of orders or missions that the Commanders can give? Can he say 'Go to this area' or 'Capture this base' or 'Destroy X number of units?'
BF: Absolutely, (the Commander) can give out different 'pings' that will say 'Go here and defend this area' or, one of the things we're trying out right now, is you can band-box one of the Heroes and say 'move here' like a traditional RTS order, but what happens on the Heroes' screen is that he seems some breadcrumbs about the suggestion from the Commander to do this. (The Hero) doesn't have to do it, he can say 'I decline, I'd rather be doing (something else)', but there is nothing that is forcing him to do that.
MM: Is there going to be a single-player, narrative driven campaign type mode to this game?
BF: No, it's online only and it is about teamwork. However we recognize that there is a lot of people who aren't necessarily into the hard-core competitive stuff, so we're adding a whole cooperative component. You and some buddies can work together, Commander and Heroes, in specific scenarios so you don't have to feel like you are screwing up the team, or people are hollering at you and it gets really hostile.
MM: So when you mentioned 'League of Legends', that put a ping in my mind, 'Free-to-Play' are we thinking Free-to-Play for this game?
BF: Absolutely, it is completely free-to-play, but you won't be buying power and you won't be grinding to unlock all the cool units. You will be able to have fun right off the bat.
MM: So when can we expect to learn more about 'Sins of a Dark Age'
BF: We will be demoing a fully playable and quite fun build at the Game Developers Conference and we will be releasing more and more content as we build up to a beta this summer.
MM: Alright well thank you so much for stopping by and giving us the early details.
BF: Thank you.