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Mercenary's menu Interview

Icewind Dale II






[Dave] - Dave Maldonado (BIS/Interplay)
[Yurg] - Yuri Bushin and Nomad (Freelancer)

[Yurg] Hi, Dave! The first question is somewhat of the legal affairs area. Is IWD2 - last in the long line of Infinity Engine-based titles as well as the last AD&D game from Interplay?

[Dave] That's the official word, yes. Of course, it's not as if the moon would drop from the sky and shatter the Earth were we to make another one... it simply means we aren't planning to.

[Yurg] The press-release mentioned that a hundred items will be available exclusively in 'Heart of Fury' mode. Could you give us some real examples of such items, how superior will they be over those found in 'normal' gameplay modes?

[Dave] We've got a sort of item creation system that allows us to gauge how powerful items are... for instance, a Long Sword +3 would be a Power Level 3 item, while a Flaming Long Sword +3 (which might inflicts an additional 1-8 points of fire damage to a target) would be Power Level 4.

Heart of Fury items are generally between three to six levels above their equivalent "normal mode" items... so in areas where you might normally find a Flaming Long Sword +3, you could end up with something like a Holy Flaming Burst Longsword +5 or something similarly nutty.

All the unique items have Heart of Fury versions, too. For instance, take Belib's Everlasting Torch:

Belib the Wary was arguably the best-equipped adventurer the realms had ever known - or would have been, had he ever actually left his home on one. Just one item from his astounding list of enchanted dungeoneering equipment is his Everlasting Torch. A magical lantern fashioned in the shape of an elaborate wooden torch, the item burns with a bright orange flame that cannot be extinguished - whether dunked in water, buried under several feet of rock, or smashed over the head of a soggy marsh-troll, Belib's Everlasting Torch simply will not be put out.

When Belib finally finished the last of his items, he crammed them all into a giant pack - enchanted to hold far more than Belib could normally carry himself, of course - and heaved it onto his shoulders, prepared for the adventurer of a lifetime. As Belib crossed the threshold of his dwelling he tripped... and the tiny gnome was instantly crushed beneath his enormous backpack. The bag burst open, its contents scattering across the Waterdeep street where Belib had lived and rapidly vanishing into the hands of various good-for-nothing passersby.

Belib's corpse was eventually taken to a temple and raised by a kind-hearted priestess, but by then the last of Belib's enchanted items... and most of the contents of his home... were long gone. Grateful but understandably upset, Belib fashioned a number of unique magical items for the priestess before returning to his family and homeland, forever vanishing from the surface world.

Damage: 1D6
Damage type: Crushing
Flame: 1D6 fire damage
Burst: 10% chance of 1D10 additional fire damage
Weight: 5
Speed Factor: 4
Proficiency Type: Clubs
Type: 1-handed

The Heart of Fury version of this weapon might be +2 (instead of no plusses) and have a 50% chance of casting Beltyn's Burning Blood on a struck target. Wooooo!

[Yurg] Does the game support possible add-ons (btw, that web add-on was a cool idea, it would be nice to see the same thing for the sequel)?

[Dave] Oh, I think just about any game could possibly support an add-on... whether or not there will be one is a matter of speculation. It seems doubtful at the moment; there are other projects in the wings that will likely consume most of the division's resources when IWD2 is done and on its merry way.

[Yurg] According to the press-release, we are to expect 50 new spells. Which ones are your favorite, most spectacular, most unusual?

[Dave] I'm most excited about the addition of the new higher-level spells - there simply weren't enough choices for high-level casters in the previous games. I think we've done well to alleviate that with some of the new stuff. I'm big on summoning monsters to help out, myself, so I dig the new Cacofiend and Summon Fiend spells that let me call in some really nasty fellows. It helps to have a Protection From Evil cast on the party when you bring those bad-boys in, though!

[Yurg] Do you plan on having open ending? And, how tough will the Ultimate Big Bad Guy be compared to his colleagues from IWD and HoW?

[Dave] The End Battle, eh? Well... we all think it's going to be a pretty tough fight, possibly the toughest yet. However, there are a number of methods for players to alleviate some of the battle's difficulty through prior actions... the really cunning players ought to find an easier time of it.

[Yurg] The first installment was linear but it had several nice side-quests (and even moral decisions). How linear (or non-linear) will be the storyline of IWD2?

[Dave] While the storyline is no less linear, there are a few more side-quests. We've also striven to add multiple solutions to many of the major quests and obstacles, so that ought to add to the fun.

[Yurg] Will IWD2 feature full-motion video and what role will it play in telling the story? Will movies look like a series of book illustrations with a narrative?

[Dave] Most likely no and not applicable, and most likely, yes!

[Yurg] How many CDs will the game occupy?

[Dave] Two, I think. Might possibly change.

[Yurg] In your interview to GameSpy you mentioned a reworked interface. How does it look now? The screenshots don't show it off yet...

[Dave] We think people will be mighty pleased with the re-tooled interface. Three "final candidates" were spread around the division last week and I believe the favorite is being implemented as I speak... or write, rather! There ought to be some tasty screenshots soon enough...

[Yurg] What minimal resolution Icewind Dale 2 is aimed at?

[Dave] We generally play at 800x600, but certainly support 640x480.

[Yurg] I understand that full stats+ inventory transfer is hardly possible, so it would be cool if we are allowed to import at least main stats (yep, we found that nice WIS +2 bottle in Web add-on). :)

[Dave] Perhaps... the problem with bringing over statistics is that we've balanced the game around a point-buy system where we'll always know what a party's range of statistics will be. This combined with the various rules changes we've implemented would likely create a general level of poopiness and instability that we're not eager to support.

[Yurg] Is there a level cap?

[Dave] Yep... 30th level, I believe.

[Yurg] How many sub-races will be added and what are principal differences between, let's say, drow and dergar?

[Dave] At the moment there are nine in addition to the base races: aasimar and tieflings (human sub-races), dark elves (drow) and wood elves, gold dwarves and gray dwarves (duergar), lightfoot and ghostwise halflings, and deep gnomes (svirfneblin).

As for the differences between drow and duergar, the current numbers look like:

DARK ELF: Dark elves, also known as drow, are the subterranean cousins of moon elves. Their black skin and pale hair are a curse for their allegiance with the spider goddess, Lolth. Drow societies are usually ruled by cruel priestesses of Lolth and their noble houses. Dark elves are known for their arrogance, cruelty, and penchant for civil war.

* +2 to Dexterity.
* +2 to Intelligence.
* Faerie Fire 3/day.
* 25% Magic Resistance +1% per level.
* 90% Resistance to sleep and charm spells.
* +1 attack bonus with large swords and bows (not crossbows).
* +5% Pick Pockets.
* +5% Move Silently.
* +10% Hide in Shadows.

* -2 to Constitution.
* -50% Experience Points through 10th level (about one level lower).
* -2 attack bonus, Damage, and Saving Throws when outside during the day.
* -5% Open Locks.

GRAY DWARF: Also known as duergar, the gray dwarves of the Forgotten Realms live even deeper underground than their shield dwarf and gold dwarf cousins. The duergar share little in common with other dwarves and practice slavery in their monstrous subterranean cities. Often motivated by greed and a thirst for power, gray dwarves are known throughout the Realms as devious, efficient warriors. Duergar almost always have gray hair and skin.

* +2 to Constitution.
* Invisibility 1/Day.
* Immunity to Paralysis.
* +20% to Move Silently.
* +2 to saving throws vs. paralyze, poison, death magic, and spells.
* +4 Armor Bonus vs. giants.
* +10% to Open Locks.
* +15% to Find/Remove Traps.

* -2 to Charisma.
* -50% Experience Points through 10th level (about one level lower).
* -2 attack bonus, Damage, and Saving Throws when outside during the day.

[Yurg] You mentioned that IWD2 features quite a few of new monsters. What are the most interesting and unusual (e.g. never-before seen in Infinity Engine-based titles) ones? What is the largest one? What types of dragons we're going to see, if any?

[Dave] I like the goblins worg-riders. A lot. Especially since you can whack the goblin really hard and send him tumbling off the worg. Sometimes he's still got a little life left in him and will keep on fighting with an axe, but usually once that happens you'll only have the worg to contend with! The largest... well, some of the "older" monsters may still wear the "big giant fatty" crown, but I'm not sure.

As for dragons... I'll admit to there being a white dragon... or two... but won't give up anything else for the time being!

[Yurg] Are there objects consisting of several collectible parts, like in BG2?

[Dave] Here and there, yes. It's not a major part of the game, though.

[Yurg] Planescape: Torment featured a terrific monster encyclopedia while Baldur's Gate series had nice hand-drawn pictures in object descriptions. Any chance that these features made their way into IWD2?

[Dave] Unfortunately, no.

[Yurg] Is there an ability to make custom notes on level map? This feature was quite handy in PS:T and BG2...

[Dave] As a matter of fact, yes!

[Yurg] IWD's PC characters were mute, except for acknowledgements. Will their 'kids' break (or continue) this tradition… maybe have love affairs?

[Dave] Certainly not! An entirely player-created party is a big part of the IWD tradition, and we're not about to go breaking that up with romances, bickering party members and so on. Those are all good and well, but it's simply not what the IWD games are all about: killing monsters, hoarding treasure, and winning glory!

[Yurg] Do you plan to increase the number of nodes for path-finding?

[Dave] We've tweaked the path-finding and AI in general bit... should improve things by a decent measure!

[Yurg] How do our avatars look like, are there any new models, more frames of animation for PCs/NPCs/monsters? Can we hope to see some spectacular spell FX from PS:T (they really, really rocked)?

[Dave] We're using BG2's PC avatars. The new monsters and spell effects are pretty sweet, definitely up to par with the IWD work - and in some cases, even more cool!

[Yurg] We wish IWD2 big sales and luck to all team! :) Thank you!

[Dave] Thanks!


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