Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West catapults the player straight into the dramatic crescendo of the Western myth. Allowing players to relive the thrills of a gunfight in classic western settings such as main street of a frontier town or the claustrophobic depths of a gold mine.
Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West features intense gunfights in beautifully rendered Western settings. Incorporating the unique Synergy system, which encourages co-operation and team tactics to achieve a maximum gameplay experience and rewards, Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West calls upon players to team up to relive the excitement, danger, and mystery of the Wild West.
Q: Who has the honor to speak with us? State your name, rank and occupation!
I'm Mårten Stormdal, lead designer on Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West over at Fatshark, and am responsible for the overall level and game design
Q: Why the Western-setting?
A: Well, the Western setting is rather unexplored as a setting for games, if you compare it to the sheer number of Western titles on the movie side. Or at least it has been until just the latest year or so.
In addition to that it has a built in aptitude for team conflict, there’s always two gangs fighting over something in the movies, may it be gold, the power over a town or a railroad line. There’s also the thing with the atmosphere and ambiance. A lot of the classic Western environments work very well as small scale multiplayer levels, like the town, the mine, the fort etc.
Q: What is Lead & Gold? Would you please briefly explain the game?
A: If you want to staple labels Lead and Gold is a team based multiplayer, 3rd person shooter set in a classic Wild West environment. The players choose a character amongst a number of different typical western archetypes, such as the Gunslinger or the Trapper. Each one of these character classes have a set of unique traits, weapons and roles to fill in the team.
The core idea of Lead and Gold has from the beginning been team play and competitive cooperation. All our decisions have been weighed against this. For example the objective based game modes was all about creating a common incentive for the players to strive towards rather than just running besides each other killing randomly.
This can off course be loads of fun as well and I’m sure we’ll see a lot of that in our game but we wanted the players that there are more aspects to develop among themselves than eye hand coordination.
People having fun together, communicating and coordinating themselves towards a common goal, and on the way a very fast paced and deadly action shooter. Lead and Gold is also about being easy to access for the console audience but in the same time be able to meet the specific demands of the PC gamers.
Q: Please describe some key elements, such as classes, objectives and team interaction.
A: All the professions have their own role in the team, since they have their own range bracket and different maps and game modes encourages different combinations of the four. A trapper might not be the optimal choice in the when defending the twisting and turning tunnels and close quarters of a gold mine, and the blaster might have difficulties if he is alone on the open plains of the prairie. But if you team up with someone of a different profession the table might turn. And since the professions in addition to the different ranged main weapon they radiate what we call a synergy effect, this is basically an area buff which affects such parameters as accuracy, damage etc. All team mates which are within the area are affected by the bonus.
Q: What sort of weapons and abilities can you use?
A: Each class has one main weapon and a secondary weapon. In addition to this there are stationary Gatling guns in some of the levels. Each class also has a special trait that he can use which include, traps, fanning, marking and throwing dynamite. When the player gains levels he also gain improved synergy effects that improves the characters and your teammates in various ways.
Q: Is there a character upgrade system?
A: In each scenario your actions toward the common goal are rewarded with experience points, they will eventually give your character better synergy and healing power.
Q: What sort of games modes do you have?
A: We have five competitive game modes in the game right now; Greed, Powder keg, Robbery, Conquest and Shootout . The objective in Greed is to carry as many gold sacks to your team drop off zone as possible. A gold sack is spawned on the map and both teams struggle to bring the sack to their respective drop off zone. In Claim both teams are battling for one or several control zones. The zones start out neutral and are up for grabs to both teams. A team in control of a zone will continuously gain points until the zone is lost to the other team. To capture a zone, clear the zone of enemy presence for a specific amount of time. The team that first reaches a score of 1000 wins the round.
Q: Could you please expand a little on that mode, where we can destroy a whole building? Is it a sort of Counter Strike- bomb detonation?
A: You mean Powderkeg, that’s Similar, but not quite. There are a couple twists, which makes this a highly explosive and action packed game mode indeed. In fact, our maps are dynamic in many ways; those kegs can be used to blow up some strategic secondary objectives, pieces of architecture, which will make it easier for your team. Or harder for your enemies.
Q: Isn’t this just a kind of Team Fortress 2 in the Wild West?
A: No, not really. We have obviously looked at the Team fortress to see what we can use from it in our game since it is an excellent multiplayer game. But we would be well off target if we just tried to clone their concept. We have a different take on the game modes, the pacing of the games and the role of the player class. Besides that, we are a third person shooter.
Q: Do we have any kind of background story for all these gunfights, or is it more like Team Fortress 2 jump-and-play style?
A: The game is mainly about jumping in a play easy set-up games with and versus your friends online. Story and background is therefore mainly there to enhance the mood and setting of the game. There are no lengthy campaigns as such in the main game release.
Q: If I understand correctly, you have chosen Digital Distribution. Pro/cons? What formats will the game be released on?
A: We believe digital distribution is the way of the future, mainly because it allows for games to be less expensive for the customer. It is also a convenient way to adjust games after testing and come up with a more finished project because of the limited scope of the game. The game runs on PC, PlayStation® 3 and Xbox 360 right now. Then again, it is too early to comment on which platforms we will actually release the game on and when it will happen.
Q: What audience are you hoping to tap into with Lead and Gold?
A: Gamers playing above mentioned games for a start (or multiplayer games in general), but also a perhaps another type of player that find the Wild West setting enticing. We also hope to attract players not normally playing versus multiplayer games with our strong focus on team cooperation.
Q: Previous experiences?
A: Started out working with set design Amuze in ‘99 with Headhunter and continued to level design for Headhunter 2, moved on to Avalanche Studios as Lead level designer for Just cause and Just cause 2 and finally to Fatshark with Terminator salvation and now Lead and Gold – Gangs of the Wild West.
Q: What are you playing now?
A: Call of Duty MW2 and Star Trek online
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