[Mischa] - Mischa Strecker (Spellbound)
[Yurg] - Yuri Bushin (Freelancer)
[Yurg] Please, briefly describe main features of your project to our readers. And is it true what you project based on Commandos?
[Mischa] We were of course inspired by Commandos, but we developed our own engine for Desperados. With this foundation, we evolved it and basically created a new one for Robin Hood. The A.I. for example, has been rewritten from scratch and is now far more powerful than the routines we used in Desperados. New compression methods enabled us to increase the size of the graphics and animation of the characters. We also included a "fighting system", to give players control over the action in hand to hand combat.
[Yurg] What sources of inspiration do you rely upon when creating the game's characters - books, movies, other games, perhaps? Is Robin's figure created from scratch or he's a main hero of some literary work brought to virtual life by you?
[Mischa] Everything you mentioned. The legend of Robin Hood, a saxon nobleman who eventually became an outlaw is a fascinating story. He took from the rich to support the poor, fought for his people against the Norman oppressors and for the save returns of King Richard the Lionheart. This "noble thief" inspired a lot of people, who adapted the legend into games, movies, books, TV Shows and such. So we had a huge "archive" of Robin Hood fiction to study from and use it for our game.
[Yurg] What weapons will our noble bandits wield? What is the main aspect of the game - stealth, tactical puzzles, straightforward battles or something else?
[Mischa] In melee situations Robin Hood and his men use swords, staves, nets and such. Robin and Marian, of course, will be adept with the bow. His merry men will have special abilities, which include the handling of weapons. They will mainly fight with staves, bludgeons or… apples! The main aspect of the game is what the player wants it to be. If they like a more stealthy approach to the mission or if they want to force their way through the game is entirely up to them. There will be many ways to solve Robin Hood.
[Yurg] In recent press-releases, you mentioned "40 non-linear missions". Could you explain (or give examples) of how players will experience this non-linearity?
[Mischa] Robin Hood will feature a lot of different types of missions. For example, ambush, infiltration and rescue missions. Some will appear out of the line with the story. Such as an ambush on a taxman or a heavily guarded weapons transport. For this kind of missions, the player will be able to set up traps and he has the advantage of his "home turf" - the forest of Sherwood. All the missions can be chosen on a campaign map where several opportunities are present at any given time, instead the straight forward method of solving one mission after another in other games of this kind.
[Yurg] What tactical features you're going to bring from Desperados; what are the brand-new ones?
[Mischa] At first glance, the gamer will find some known features from Desperados. But he will soon realize that these features were enhanced and new ones were added. The "quick action" feature is a good example: In Desperados you were able to program a series of actions and activate it by pressing a key. In Robin Hood all player characters can memorize up to three quick actions. The new A.I. routines allow much smarter enemies. Not only do they fall in defensive formations if the odds are against them. They obey orders from superior officers. And these guys will be really tough. Over all, the new features will add more action and suspense to the game. The fighting system I mentioned above is an example for one of the new features in Robin Hood.
[Yurg] Desperados featured an amazingly well-written, melodic soundtrack that I kept listening even after beating the game. What music will accompany us in robbing money-bags? Can we hope to enjoy some ear-pleasing Scottish tunes?
[Mischa] We still have a lot of work to do with the soundtrack. As for now, we are still experimenting with different kinds of medieval and music and traditional tunes. Rest assured, that the soundtrack will be as enjoyable as it was in Desperados.
[Yurg] Where will Robin's adventures take place? And, most importantly, will you include some legendary stories of Hood's bravery or write new ones?
[Mischa] It will take place in the Sherwood Forrest, the city of Nottingham and the castles and cities surrounding the Sherwood Forrest. We wanted Robin Hood to be exciting and fun, so we mixed the original legend with stories from Robin Hood movies, books and TV-shows and spiced it with our own ideas. All in all, the story outline will be recognized as the story we all know and love.
[Yurg] Is there a global storyline binding all missions together and if yes, then who's The Ultimate Big Bad Guy?
[Mischa] Yes, one of the most appreciated features of Desperados was the storyline. But this time, the story will not be linear like in Desperados for example. People, who play Robin Hood, will experience a story that will be transported through the missions and in between missions. There are quite a few bad guys, the cunning Sheriff of Nottingham, Prince John, the evil brother of Richard the Lionhearted and Guy de Gisborne to name a few.
[Yurg] Judging by the looks of RH's conceptual artwork, your game is going to be flavoured with humor. How you'd define Robin Hood - is it a serious or funny title?
[Mischa] A bit of both. Robin Hood will be a serious strategy/tactics game, but there is just no way not to include some funny details or actions. We think a game must be enjoying playing - and you wouldn't enjoy a game without any funny elements or small jokes that'll make you smile in it, would you?
[Yurg] A couple of questions concerning the game's "сast". How would you describe each of 5 characters available to player in Robin Hood? What are their distinctive traits, abilites, "pros" and, maybe, "contras"?
[Mischa] I think Robin Hood and his merry men speak for themselves, and after all - let us keep some surprises until the release of the game :) All I will say now is that there will be distinctive abilities for each of the main characters, and there will be many more than five playable characters...
[Yurg] The game takes place in The Dark Ages, so we wonder will Robin Hood feature some serious "mano-a-mano" swordfights? How do you plan to implement such feature? What will be the rules of these duels?
[Mischa] Of course there will be dazzling swordplay, merry men attacking with staves, knives and swords. The rules of combat are not easy to explain. They depend on the characters experience, a few abilities (courage, dexterity and others), and the kind of weapon they wield. The exciting thing about the combat system is: It's the Player's choice if he lets Robin and his men do the job, or he takes control of them.
[Yurg] Finally, some standard stuff. Are there any sequels planned, will there be a demo and what is the expected release date?
[Mischa] As of now, we don't plan a sequel. But then, who knows what the future bears for us? The scheduled release of Robin Hood will be in the third Quarter of 2003.
[Yurg] Thank you very much for interesting conversation. I wish great successes to you and your colleagues!