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Imperator

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Publisher: Mythic
Developer: Mythic

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Mythic Entertainment 'Imperator' Q&A

by Thomas on July 22, 2002 @ 8:28 p.m. PDT

"Imperator" is an Alternate Earth game, one set in a future world where Ancient Rome never fell. Small changes at crucial moments in Roman history create an entirely new timeline for Earth, leading to a star-spanning Roman Republica and thousands of years of interstellar Pax Romana. The Republic is home to many planets, each containing wildly different flora, fauna, creatures, culture, and climate. As the game begins, new threats to the Republic have sprung up from beyond its borders, making the galaxy more dangerous and the Republic itself less stable ­ an exhilarating setting for an online gamer. Over the last few decades, many themes of classical Roman history have found their way into modern science fiction and fantasy -- in "Imperator" the architecture, beauty, nobility, and even the savagery of Rome are the heart of the game.

Concept

Can you describe Imperator?

Imperator is an Alternate Earth™ game, set in a future where Ancient Rome never fell and in fact continued to nourish as a major world power. As a result, civilization has advanced at a much more rapid rate. As the game begins, new threats to the Republic have emerged internally and from beyond its borders, making the galaxy more dangerous and the Republic itself less stable – an exhilarating setting for the online gamer. It will be a radical departure from the current generation of online games and lead the way for the next generation.

Who came up with the concept for Imperator?

Mark Jacobs, President/CEO of Mythic Entertainment came up with the concept for Imperator, and he is currently working on the initial game design document. Mark is one of the most experienced designers and programmers in the industry with almost 16 years of experience conceptualizing and designing online games. His credits include Dark Age of Camelot, Dragon’s Gate,Splatterball and Aliens Online.

When does Imperator take place?

The game takes place somewhere between 2500 and 3000 a.e. (Alternate Earth).

Why did you choose the Roman Empire for Imperator, and why a futuristic setting?

Similar to what we did with Dark Age of Camelot, we wanted a property with great brand recognition and endless possibilities. Rome is one of the greatest civilizations of all time with a name recognition value that is unmatched in the world. It has been used as the basis for books, movies, and television episodes and has inspired creative types for generations. We decided on a science-fiction game in order to go head-to-head with the biggest players in our field, Sony and LucasArts.

Describe the characters in Imperator. Will there be different races and classes?

Players will be able to play many races, some human and some humanoid, and all of Terran origin. There will be no classes in the game as it will be a skill-based system.

Will there be elements from Dark Age of Camelot in Imperator?

Most likely there will be a lot of things from DAoC in Imperator, but a lot of new and different things as well. We are not going to follow the tri-realm model in Imperator as we did in DAoC and the Darkness Falls series. Since we are in an age of high-science, things will need to be very different on many levels.

Will there be Player vs. Player (PvP) or Realm vs. Realm (RvR) conflict in Imperator?

Unlike DAoC, Imperator will not be a RvR game. There will be some level of PvP but not as in DAoC.

What sorts of enemies will players find in Imperator?

Imperator will have some amazing characters including intense enemies, but we cannot reveal much about them at this time.

Did you seriously consider concepts other than Imperator?

Yes. We have been in discussions with a number of publishers who have some amazing IP. However, in the end we decided it was best to create our own branded IP.

How will character generations be handled in the game?

Character generation will be as simple as possible. We want to get players into the game quickly and easily.
Design

What will the setting look like?

We cannot reveal too much at this early stage, but the setting will be amazing. We will incorporate aspects of classical Roman culture and history with futuristic elements and planets that contain wildly different flora, fauna, creatures, culture and climate. The worlds that are available for players to explore will be quite varied and unique.

How will Imperator’s futuristic setting figure into the game?

Part of our challenge as designers is to create all new and interesting intellectual property for Imperator. Mark Jacobs is currently researching everything from artificial intelligence through wormholes in creating a scientific backdrop for the game that is realistic as possible but with an emphasis on allowing the players to have fun.

Will there only be Roman influence in the game?

We expect to see a heavy Roman influence throughout the game but keep in mind that not everyone on Earth is Roman or lives within their borders. With the continued existence of a strong Roman Republic, the entire history of the world is different. The world as we know it has been shaped by three great powers, only one of which is Rome. The other two will be revealed over time.

Will you use licensed graphics engine technology for Imperator, as you did with DAoC?

Yes. While we will be building a lot of new things for Imperator, especially the game system, we will also use all of our current source code base. This will allow us to once again develop the game faster than what is considered typical for these types of games.

How long will you spend on the design of Imperator?

We are going to spend the next six months designing the game from the ground up.

When will you be bringing in other people to help with the design?

We will not bring in additional people to work on the design until after Shrouded Isles is released and stable. At that point we will begin technical and artwork on Imperator.

What kinds of weapons and items will you put into Imperator?

We will try to create weapons that evolve from both their Roman origins as well as from our own timeline’s history but with a Roman twist.

Development

How will Imperator's development and launch affect Dark Age of Camelot?

The development and launch of Imperator will only affect DAoC in a positive way. We will keep every member of the development team fully focused on DAoC until the expansion pack is complete and stable after release. After that we will continue to spend the same resources on DAoC as long as the players continue to support the game. Since DAoC and Imperator will share the same code-base (with each having multiple branching areas), that game will actually benefit from any resources being put into Imperator. For example as we expand our tools for Imperator, much of what we are doing for that game may be able to be used for DAoC.

How long has Imperator been in development so far?

We officially started design in June.

When will Imperator be released?

We do not yet have a release date.

Have you conducted extensive research on the Roman Empire for the development of Imperator?

We have researched not only Rome's history but also comparative world history. Research will continue along the entire development of the game until we are sure that we have gotten it right. Since we are working with a civilization that collapsed in our timeline, we must be sure to construct a plausible one in which it not only survives but also prospers. It is not enough for us to say, “Rome survived, it’s all powerful and everything is great!” in this game. We want to draw the players in with both the historical backstory as well as the current one.

Mythic

Why is Mythic creating a new game?

Mythic obviously had a huge hit with DAoC, and like any successful company, we want to continue to grow and provide gaming fans with more of what they have come to expect from our company.

What lessons that you have learned from development of other games will you take into consideration during the development of Imperator?

One of the key lessons we learned prior to DAoC and one that DAoC re-emphasized was the need to get the foundation technology solid prior to release of the game. While content is crucial to a game’s long-term success, the core technology and initial launch are even more crucial. That is why Mythic continues to grow as a company and is able to expand its offerings.

How many staff people will you add?

The full development team for Imperator will be at least forty people.

The competitive environment is stiff. Is Mythic up to the challenge?

When we first began work on DAoC, everyone in the industry thought we were crazy to compete against EA, Microsoft, and Sony, and that we were doomed to failure. As our success has shown, that was not the case. Sony and Lucas Arts have some of the best people in the industry working on Star Wars Galaxies, but so does Mythic – and soon the focus will be on Imperator. We look forward to this exciting challenge.

MMORPGs (General)

What are your thoughts on the current state of massively multiplayer games?

The state of massively multiplayer games has never been better. There is plenty of room for great titles and always will be.

How is Imperator a departure from the current generation of online games?

Imperator is intended to take a number of assumptions, aspects of MMORPG gaming, etc. and at the minimum, radically change them. While many features of the game will be familiar to today’s gamers, Imperator will intertwine them with new elements in a decidedly different manner than the current generation of online games.

Additional Information

When are you likely to release additional information about Imperator?

We will release more information over the course of the next several months.

When will the Imperator website be released?

Sometime at the end of the year.


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