[Ken] - Ken Davis (EEX Producer @ MadDoc)
[Yurg] - Yuri Bushin (Freelancer)
[Yurg] To start off, could you represent to our riders Mad Doc's team, who works on Art of Conquest?
[Ken] Mad Doc Software, LLC consists of game industry veterans with experience in every aspect of game development and an unmatched expertise in Artificial Intelligence. Mad Doc Software was founded in November of 1999 by Dr. Ian Lane Davis, formerly Techical Director at Activision's Santa Monica studio. In May 2000 the team expanded, bringing on board many former employees of Looking Glass Studios. The Mad Doc team members brought a wealth of game experience to the company, having been key players on such games as Dark Reign, Battlezone, Civilization: Call To Power, Star Trek: Armada, System Shock, Thief, Flight Unlimited, Thief 2: The Metal Age, System Shock 2, and Flight Unlimited II.
Mad Doc recently developed and shipped Star Trek: Armada 2 and Jane's Attack Squadron for the PC.
The EE:AOC Team:
David J. Fielding
Additional Art By Paul Bernstein
[Yurg] When did the idea for Empire Earth: Art of Conquest initially arise, and when did you actually start working on it?
[Ken] The design phase for the game started towards the end of work on Empire Earth. We were pretty confident that we had a winning formula on our hands so we went spent some time thinking about what we would add in an expansion. The design document was created by Stainless Steel Studios.
[Yurg] Please give our readers a summary of Art of Conquest and its main features or points of interest. With respect to the design concept, what are your overall goals?
[Ken] The overall goal was to give Empire Earth fans more of what they love about the game. More units, more Epochs, more campaigns, and easier/more user-friendly multiplayer.
[Yurg] What's the basic premise or concept of Art of Conquest? What are the major underlying themes, conflicts, et al? And will it be futuristic or ancient-history oriented game?
[Ken] Additions to Empire Earth in the expansion cover the entire scope of the game. Pretty much every Epoch has something new to explore, be it either through new units, buildings, powers or content, though the addition of the Space Age will draw the most attention because it's entirely new. The three new campaigns cover the middle ages, World War II, and the Space Age so there's going to be something for everyone.
[Yurg] Have you any plans to introduce new constructions and add new epoch? If yes, maybe you could give us some brief examples?
[Ken] We have added 36 new units to the game, counting units for both the single-player campaigns and the multiplayer experience. Some of these include historical units such as the Roman Legionaire and Centurion, and the Scorpion siege weapon; World War II-era units such as the Catalina seaplane, Paratrooper planes, Radiomen, LST landing craft, and the Dauntless Divebomber.
One of the central highlights of the game is a new 15th Epoch: The Space Epoch. Going beyond the existing Nano Age, playing in the Space Age will give the player access to a host of new units, both in single- and multiplayer: Riot Police, the Orbital Space Station Wonder, the Cyber Ninja (who can sneak behind enemy lines and disable buildings), and a Space Dock that is capable of building fleets of space combat vessels. The Capital Ship, the Corvette, the Space Carrier (which carries powerful Space Fighters), the Space Transport will take the combat in EE:AOC to a place it hasn't been before.
[Yurg] What is the back-story leading up to the start of the game? How does Art of Conquest campaign tie in to original Empire Earth's campaigns?
[Ken] EE:AOC has three separate campaigns that continue the the original game's tradition of exciting, history-based and futuristic warfare. The Roman Campaign charts the rise of the Roman Empire from a small republic to the world power of the era. The Pacific Campaign follows the dramatic island campaigns of World War II, from Midway to Iwo Jima. The final campaign - the Asian Campaign - is set in the future, and will actually take the player into space and to Mars, where warfare will take on a whole new scope. Our design team has created a single-player experience that is tremendously exciting, spanning history and beyond in the way that only Empire Earth can.
[Yurg] Have you any plans to change strategy of game?
[Ken] Not really. We feel like the rock-paper-scissors dynamic introduced in Empire Earth worked well and helps keep a healthy balance.
[Yurg] What were the main considerations in designing the game's selection of new units? What different types can players expect to see, and how many types are there in total?
[Ken] All of our main considerations were focused on giving the player more: more units, more strategies, more historical accuracy. To have access to units such as the Roman Standard Bearer, Legionaire, and Centurion - it brings the campaigns to vivid life. All the units of the Space Epoch, also, give the player a whole new set of units to add to their arsenals. As I mentioned above, we've added 36 new units - 18 for the single-player campaigns and 18 that are available in multiplayer.
[Yurg] What objectives do you have with respect to enemy AI?
[Ken] To bring it more to life - and give it access to the same new units and technologies, which is uses to great effect!
[Yurg] How many missions will there be in campaigns, and how varied will they be?
[Ken] Each campaign has 6 separate scenarios (missions), that run the gamut from traditional resource gathering-build forces-eliminate the enemy, to more specialized tactical combat, to protecting heroes, to achieving varied challenging goals. The campaigns have very engaging story-arcs that will pull the player into the drama and action of the individual scenarios.
[Yurg] Do you have plans to bring in game some new historical heroes?
[Ken] The campaigns will let the players control the fates of such historical figures and Julius Caesar and Gaius Marius, fictionalized World War II generals, and powerful heroes of the future.
[Yurg] Will be in game new races or new special abilities for old ones?
[Ken] We've added 2 new Civilizations to the existing 21 Empire Earth milieu - Japan and Korea. Furthermore, each Civilization now has a unique power or unit that will add new dimensions to the multiplayer experience. For example, Ancient Greece now has Flaming Arrows available for some of their archers; Babylon has a Priest Tower available to it, which is a giant stone tower that can convert enemy units; The United States has a Market, which will let the player buy and sell resources; Japan has the Cyber Ninja, a stealthy unit that can wreak havoc on enemy buildings. The list goes on, including military and economic powers that add new dimensions to gameplay.
[Yurg] What are the various forms of multiplayer that will be available and how many simultaneous players will be possible?
[Ken] We'll have maps that can support up to eight players in multiplayer. All of the existing forms of multiplayer will be available, with the addition of Space Maps to battle in. The custom Civilization Builder will also give players the ability to mix and match their choice of the new unique Civilization Powers & Units so they can explore different strategies and tactics in their drive to prove that they're better players than their friends!
[Yurg] When do you feel Art of Conquest will be ready for release?
[Ken] The release date will be early in the fourth quarter of 2002, but there's nothing specific yet.
[Yurg] Do you have any plans to make large beta-test like it was with Empire Earth?
[Ken] There will be a beta test, though the scope will not be as great as that of Empire Earth's. Timing is still being determined.
[Yurg] Is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers or anything you'd like to ask them?
[Ken] We're all hugely excited to give the Empire Earth community - which has some of the most dedicated and loyal players in the RTS world - an expansion pack that will bring their experience to new levels. New campaigns, new units, new powers, new map types, a new epoch - we're eager for fans to play the game in ways they haven't, and to give them more of what they love!
See you in the fall!
[Yurg] We wish you good luck with Art of Conquest and will await any news about this game! Thank you for your answers!