[Steve] - Steve Norris (Climax Entertainment)
[Yurg] - Yuri Bushin (Freelancer)
[Yurg]: Please, tell something about Climax Entertainment. What projects you're working at and for how long have you been working at games?
[Steve]: These days we're working on Warhammer Online. As well as another project that I'm afraid I can't reveal at the moment.
[Yurg]: Art of Magic project has a long story. Was that difficult to begin 'finishing' this game and how long did it take to get into the heart of the project?
[Steve]: It took no time to get back into the project, but the tedious process of bug fixing has been a long haul.
[Yurg]: At what stage of AOM development is you now? How is beta-testing going on? How long is it to the release of the game?
[Steve]: Beta testing is over. We are currently putting the finishing touches to the Master copy of the game, and the release date just can't arrive soon enough.
[Yurg]: The game was really widely discussed and a lot of details were known about it. Could you tell what has changed from the time you got this project for further development?
[Steve]: There were a very minimal set of wish list items that went into the game - Climax took over the project to complete the bug fixing only.
[Yurg]: Could you tell our readers on magic in AOM? How the system of making spells of components was changed if compared with the first part of the game?
[Steve]: The system is exactly the same as MM1 - why change what wasn't broken? You have up to 18 spell ingredients available, each of which when combined with a talisman produces a spell for you to fight/defend with in the game. However there are three different types of talisman - chaos, neutral and law, and each spell ingredient produces a different spell dependant on which of those 3 alignments it is combined with. So there are 54 spell combinations in all!
[Yurg]: As far as the game is based mostly on using spells then the question arises as what is with balance of powers, or to be more precise, with balance of spells. Could you tell something on this captivating part of the game?
[Steve]: It's easy to sum up in a single example. Brimstone produces either the ability to cast meteor showers, summon trolls, or cast lighting. And you can only pick one of these 3 equally useful spells. So, each of the three spells is balanced to avoid one of these options always being picked by players, usually by the amount of mana required to cast it. And that's where our tweaking/balancing has come in.
[Yurg]: You've inhabited the world of Magic and Mayhem with hordes of different monsters. I always wonder from where the artists draw their inspiration to create monsters. To what extent are 'your monsters' related to traditional mythic creatures?
[Steve]: We used the original game's monster list, and then did some more research into mythology and more contemporary role playing games. Then with a vast pool of mythical creatures to choose from, the design team narrowed it down to 22 which they believed would give the game some interesting variations.
[Yurg]: One more interesting topic, that is usually left aside, is music. Tell something on the music style; what was the music of AOM inspired with?
[Steve]: We did our best to improve on the quality of the original title, with our own in house musician.
[Yurg]: As to questions concerning campaign mode, then we hope that campaign will be longer then in MM the first. How many missions will be there?
[Steve]:There are over 30 campaign levels.
[Yurg]: And, of course, we have a question concerning multiplayer mode. What is for you, as the developers, the cutest in the Art of Magic network game?
[Steve]: Multiplayer mode is fantastic fun. The best thing is beating a real person, rather than the AI. Friends are also easier - the AI opponents frequently show us how it should be done.
[Yurg]: Working at this project you might be limited in time, so what would you like to change in the game if you have enough time, and, as the main, if you started the game from the zero?
[Steve]: Nothing. It's time to move on.
[Yurg]: Do you have any plans to continue series of Magic and Mayhem?
[Steve]: We'll take a breather first, see how well it is received, and who knows.
[Yurg]: Are the plans for release in September still the same?
[Steve]: We've heard no different form VIE. You'll have to ask them.