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Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Role-Playing
Publisher: JoWood / Aspyr
Developer: Phenomic

About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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'Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars' Developer Q&A

by Rainier on Jan. 31, 2006 @ 1:59 a.m. PST

In SpellForce II the player takes over both roles - he is Commander of his troops and also a front fighting hero, solving quests and overcoming obstacles as in classical RPGs, but also leads armies as in an RTS. The Players character is supported by up to 5 heroes who can be summoned at special monuments - these will become available in stronger versions as play progresses and the player reveals more of the epic storyline. In most scenarios, which are placed in huge and detailed environments, the player leads one of three factions (Alliance of Light, Hordes of Chaos, Brotherhood of Darkness) and builds bases to gather resources and summon troops at monuments.

Q: First most important question – The game has now slipped to 2006, could you explain why this has come about?

ML : The game could have made it into the stores in time for Christmas 2005, but thankfully our publisher allowed us to tap the full potential of SpellForce 2 and gave us the support we needed to add some extra polish to the game. In particular this extra time allows us to run a beta test with a good number of users to further balance our multiplayer parts.

Q: What will be added to the games structure in that time?

ML : Even more Quality and of course better balancing.

Q: Could you give some examples of what benefits players will see because of this delay?

ML : The beta test which now becomes possible will greatly improve the quality of the multiplayer game play. Of course the extra polishing time will generally help every aspect of the game, so the customers can expect an even smoother game with more detailed surroundings etc.

Q: The American market are finally getting there hands on the original? How do you think it will stand up to Blizzard as American gamers adore this developer.

ML : Blizzard produces great games, no doubt about it. But I do not think that SpellForce 2 – Shadow Wars really compares to any of Blizzards games. SpellForce 2 is the only RTS with the story depth of an RPG and the only RPG which lets you control whole armies. No other game can offer the game-play experience that SpellForce 2 offers. We are confident American players will find it an enjoyable experience that compares well with regards to quality of graphics and gameplay and offers a fresh take on well known genres.

Q: You have just released a collection AVI's how close do you feel that they represent the game or are they just gloss?

ML : Actually these AVIs do not look as good as the game does by now, they were just intended as a first glimpse. They were captured with an older iteration of our game engine, which still lacked a number of features such as glow and a number of really never-seen-before shaders or the different lighting moods concerning the lighting.

But that is just the technical side. From a gameplay side we did not want to show too much, yet. We will have some more and more spectacular AVIs coming up soon, which will show the game in its full graphical and atmospheric brilliance, but also scenes captured while people were actually playing the game, to give a better impression of what the players can expect.

Q: How have you structured the RTS element in SF2 will it be a marked difference from the first game?

ML : While the RTS element in SpellForce 1 was mostly focused on resource management and build-up, SpellForce 2 focuses on battle. The build-up is way faster and needs less micro management and we work with much fewer resources to increase speed and ease of gameplay.

There are three fractions in the game: The Realm, The Clans and The Pact. Each of them features three races. The realm for example consists of Humans, Elves and Dwarves and of different units like cavalry, Siege engines, Flyers etc.. You start of with the Humans, but early in the tech-tree, you have to decide which race of your fraction you want to develop first. Each race comes with its own units and buildings and has its own specialities so it is a very important decision in which order you develop your races.

Overall this translates into a fast and still very variable RTS game-play which offers a lot of strategic options.

Q: In the first game the RTS was good but at times there was a surprise in the battle mainly because the battles would be quite small when gamers wanted a full on campaign battle with hundreds of soldiers?

ML : I think SpellForce 2 offers a good variety here. Usually the size of the battles increases during a quest. There are some boss monsters that definitely need a full RTS-army to be defeated. Due to our more variable unit types, the size of the army will not matter as much as the clever combination of the right units, but you will certainly see some spectacular battles with lots of units on screen.

Q: What have you been working lately which has made you go wow in the game?

ML : Gameplay wise, the Titans are currently being balanced. Having special abilities and featuring powerful spells these gigantic and gorgeous units are the WOW! in every RTS battle.

Visually, adding glow to the game was a great improvement. When this feature got into the engine, I think the whole team was going "WOW" all day long.

Q: The RPG element has great bearing on this game in the first game there was on story where the Spider character had stolen the children of the village and you were asked to go and find them. This was a good story ark but will you be expanding on this kind of personal tragedy?

ML : Oh yes, greatly. These elements were a great success in SpellForce 1, but they were mostly limited to side quests. In SpellForce 2 – Shadow Wars the whole main campaign gets way more personal. There is more interaction between characters in game, especially your party and reappearing NPCs. On top of that we tried to make the side quests even more varied and meaningful. They will take a great part in making the side characters more believable. Finally even our Co-op game play features a lot of personal and at times surprising turn of events.

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