[Steve] - Steve Fawkner (SSG)
[Yurg] - Yuri Bushin (Freelancer)
[Yurg] Steve, how long have you been working at Warlords series and with what have you started?
[Steve] I wrote the first Warlords game (Warlords I) on an Amiga 1000 way back in 1989. It only took 3 months to write, and I even drew all the graphics myself! Fortunately those days are gone, and now we have lots professional artists & programmers all working in a team.
[Yurg] What is your opinion - can we consider the appearance of Battlecry 2 would mean that Warlords universe is being divided into two currents - RPG and classical strategic game? And are you going to continue dividing Battlecry and Warlords in the future?
[Steve] We will certainly be looking at moving into other genres in the future. There are so many different types of games that we enjoy here at SSG we are always very excited about trying something new. Our mission is to make 'Warlords' a strong enough brand name that it can be taken into other types of games like RPGs and Action Games. However, we will never neglect the grass roots of our series, turn-based & real-time strategy.
[Yurg] Have you added any principally new units into Battlecry 2 that were not known to the fans of Warlords?
[Steve] We have almost 40 new units. Some of our favorites include:
*The Gobshooter - a strange-looking catapult that flings Goblins at your enemies (sometimes the Goblins even get up and run around after they land!)
*The Ancient Treant - A giant version of the ordinary Treant. He is much tougher, and when you kill him he splits into 2 ordinary Treants.
*The Runelord - A Dwarven spellcaster who can summon Earth Elementals.
*The Banshee - a Wailing Spirit who damages all enemies around her by screaming at them.
[Yurg] In the game's overview there are some words concerning a new engine to the game, so, what exactly was improved in Battlecry 2?
[Steve] We spent a lot of time getting the terrain to look good. Terrain is 90% of what you see on the screen, so it well worthwhile spending effort to get it right. For new features, we added lighting effects, particles and a "decal" system where armies can leave blood on the ground or footsteps in the sand, etc...
[Yurg] Among new races there was a notion of the race of demons. If I'm not mistaken that they had already existed in the second part of the sequel. Or does this race mean any elementals, dragons, and other creatures, that were not available for breeding in cities?
[Steve] There was a Daemon in Battlecry I who would sometimes join you as part of a quest. The new Daemon side contains lots of new army-types, from tiny Quasit, right up to the mighty Titan Balora. Even the old Daemon unit has received an overhaul, gaining the power to summon Imps.
[Yurg] 11 schools of magic - that does impress! But there is a question - what can be done with a good hundred of spells?
[Steve] With a game this big, it's not hard to come up with lots of spells. Obviously there will be *some* similarities, but the 2 new spheres of magic (Ice & Chaos) each have a distinctive flavor. For example, the Ice Sphere contains a spell, Ice Armor, which improves a hero's armor. This is similar to other armor spells, except that it also gives a special bonus to armor vs. fire damage. The Ice Sphere also contains some totally new types of spells. For example, Freeze Magic, when it is cast stops all mana regeneration on the map, while simultaneously giving a bonus to Ice Mages.
The other spells in the Chaos Sphere are quite different - they have lots of spells that permanently (and randomly) change the stats of various armies and buildings.
[Yurg] Steve, it is known that the multiplayer mode will be changed. What does that mean: new rules, scenarios, and systems of game or all together?
[Steve] Multiplayer is similar to Battlecry I. However, we will be providing an in-game matchmaking service so it should be much easier to play.
[Yurg] It is interesting - what about AI? Will there be any qualitative changes?
[Steve] The AI has been rewritten, and has become much more cunning. Enemies will now look for weak points in your defenses and attack them! We will also be making available for download on our website, new AI scripts for sides & units.
[Yurg] Will that be possible in the game to save a favorite hero from mission to mission?
[Steve] Yes, absolutely, heroes can freely move between Campaigns, Skirmish & Multiplayer. For those who want perfect balance in multiplayer, we have implemented "Temporary Heroes". These heroes allow you to create a hero for one game only, and makes sure that everybody is exactly the same level.
[Yurg] In each Warlord game the diplomacy was quite an important element. What about it in Battlecry II?
[Steve] Diplomacy is a little difficult in an RTS. The games are so intense, that I don't feel diplomatic decisions add terribly much to the gameplay. We will limit alliances (much like in Battlecry I) to something that you set up before a game.
[Yurg] Steve, while working at levels' design, what do you depend on? How do you succeed to build different, not recurring scenarios?
[Steve] The first thing is to think of one unique "what if" for the map, such as:
"What if we have archers hidden in the trees?",
"What if we had a Shrine that started a thunderstorm when you visited it?",
"What if a group of mages summon an Undead Dragon at the 15 minute mark?",
"What if a side started on an island surrounded by enemies?"
As you can, it's easy to keep coming up with ideas!
[Yurg] What is the core of Battlecry II that makes it attractive and interesting? How do you think?
[Steve] I believe the persistent heroes are what set us apart. I feel that a link between battles is important. Most strategy games do this by providing you with a story. But I still get a feeling that I'm starting everything all over when I play a new battle.
[Yurg] And last question. Do you plan to release demo-version, if yes, then when?
[Steve] Absolutely! We will have a demo ready by Christmas.
[Yurg] Thank you, Steve!
P.S. And additional thanks to Mark Asher for help!