The Lead Designers and Producers of the strategy entitled King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame at the NeocoreGames studio in this exclusive Interview share their creative vision regarding the development process of the game and its remarkable features.
A few years ago we greeted a wonderful strategy title - King Arthur: The Role-playing Wargame (2009). With a story based on the Arthurian legends and some Celtic mythology thrown into this mix, its developers were able to successfully intergrate three different genres in one game combining a big Campaign Map with large-scale tactical battles resolving in real time.
The development of its sequel named King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame began shortly after the release of the original game. The authors have embarked on an even more ambitious adventure willing to retain all the original charm, while introducing even more innovative features. Some major changes have already been covered in our detailed Preview, where you can learn more about one of the in-game campaigns.
While waiting for the international release scheduled for the 27th of January, 2012, we are presenting you with the following Feature article, where five leading team members of NeocoreCames answer all our questions about the upcoming title. Read on to uncover even more information about the game as well as some behind the scenes secrets of the creative process.
- Greetings! Please, introduce yourself.
Zoltán Pozsonyi: I’m Zoltán Pozsonyi, Production Manager at NeocoreGames.
Orsolya Tóth: I’m Orsolya Tóth, PR and Community Manager at NeocoreGames.
Vilmos Szebeni: I’m Vilmos Szebeni, Game Designer at NeocoreGames.
Péter Szabó: I’m Péter Szabó, but everyone calls me XP. I’m a Game Designer at NeocoreGames.
Viktor Juhász: I’m Viktor Juhász, Lead Writer and Content Designer at NeocoreGames.
- Your Role-playing Wargame concept mixes elements of different genres in a very intriguing manner. How do you define the proper balance of all the ingredients for this mix?
Zoltán Pozsonyi: As you might know, in our games we mix the elements of real-time strategy, turn-based strategy and role-playing games. It’s not easy to find the proper balance between these three different components, but I think we did quite a good job with King Arthur: The Role-playing Wargame (2009). And we refined this mix even further with King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame (2012). A balanced mix should make you forget that these are three different genres put together, you’d rather feel the cohesion and think of the game as one and indivisible.
- The first King Arthur game has got some exciting DLC packs. How do they enhance the experience of the original game?
Orsolya Tóth: For the first King Arthur: The Role-playing Wargame game we made two small DLCs – King Arthur: Knights and Vassals (2010) and King Arthur: Legendary Artifacts (2010), which gave you brand new artifacts and heroes, new units and many other extras that made the gameplay even more varied. We also released two big DLCs – King Arthur: The Saxons (2010) and King Arthur: The Druids (2010) – that both added a whole new campaign to the game, where you played with a different faction. And eventually we created King Arthur: Fallen Champions (2011), which is a standalone expansion for the original title and grants you a totally different gameplay experience with the story elements and the tactical battles in the main focus.
- Has the content of these DLC contributed anything to your ideas for King Arthur II?
Vilmos Szebeni: One of the most obvious features that made it from the DLCs of the first game to King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame is diplomacy and the diplomacy quests that were first introduced in King Arthur: The Saxons. Of course, we made plenty of changes to the diplomacy system in the sequel, now your diplomatic relations and former decisions also affect your possible options in later adventure quests during the campaign.
- Have you analyzed the feedback coming for King Arthur – The Role-playing Wargame? What were the most requested features by the community for the sequel?
Orsolya Tóth: We always analyze the feedback of the community. For the sequel most players the wanted to see an improved combat system, the opportunity to defend themselves against powerful magic, more men per detachment of troops, balanced difficulty levels, balanced archers, more RPG elements and quests, more locations that they can upgrade on the Campaign map and an improved battle camera.
These are all done in King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame now. Many players also told us they would love to see some old-save bonus for the players of the first game. We’re still figuring this one out, but if we have the time we’d definitely like to reward our fans with something like this.
- How long has King Arthur II been in the development?
Zoltán Pozsonyi: We started working on this title shortly after the release of the first game, so it is almost 2 years now.
- What were your sources of inspiration for the sequel?
Viktor Juhász: We still drew a lot from the Arthurian legends and Celtic mythology, but now for the sequel, King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame, we had much more freedom to add our own taste and imagination. [Smiles].
- What is the starting point of the new plot for King Arthur II?
Viktor Juhász: There were actually two starting ideas. One of them was to tell some other Arthurian tales that we couldn’t fit into the first game, like the story of The Wasteland (1922), the wounded king who guards the Grail, and we also wanted to include the epic battles that Arthur wages at the end of his reign. The other starting point was to begin where most stories end – Arthur has defeated all the kings and united the war-torn land of Britannia, he gathered the Knights of the Round Table and faced the faerie lords who had returned from the lands of twilight.
Then something ancient and powerful has been awakened beyond Britannia, and strange magic in King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame destroyed the Holy Grail. Queen Morgawse, the mysterious Witch Queen from the Orkney Islands, decided to conquer Britannia and let loose the Fomorian tribes from the void. When Arthur tries to protect his kingdom, he suffers a wound that never heals.
According to legends if the high king of the land is in pain, the land suffers with him. Britannia is now called the Waste Land; forests have turned into barren fields, Camelot is in ruins and the Knights of the Round Table have disappeared or turned against each other, while monsters roam the land and kings battle again for the chunks of the former realm. This is where you begin the campaign.
- Is there a time limit to finish the campaign, and what are its main goals? Can we play user-generated custom battles outside of it?
Péter Szabó: There is no time limit to finish your campaign in King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame. Your main goal is to restore peace to the empire and expand its borders to the north. Fight against the demon-like Fomorians and the powerful dragons of Wales, gain control over the newly emerging empire in the former Roman provinces, battle the most powerful shamans of the northern Pict tribes and overcome all the challenges that may cross your path to the glorious victory. And there will be scenario battles outside the campaign, yes.
- What changes have been made to the Campaign Map in King Arthur II?
Orsolya Tóth: The Campaign Map of the sequel looks much more spectacular and lively, it is two times bigger than it was in the first game, now including everything from Cornwall to the northernmost corner of the land. The new map stretches even beyond Hadrian’s Wall. A new improvement is that you can upgrade all locations on the Campaign Map, not just the strongholds and many other changes have been made, like you can forge new artifacts from collected items, hire monsters from beast lairs, establish diplomatic relations with other rulers or significant powers such as The Guild of the Outlaws and many more.
- The original game provided great non-linear political choices. What factions populate the new game world, and how can players interact with them?
Vilmos Szebeni: In the new game world of King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame you will meet many factions, like Romans, Picts, Vikings, Saxons, Britons, Welsh, the Sidhe and various monsters such as Fomorians who will be your main enemies, dragons, Giants or Colossuses. You can establish diplomatic relations with some of them – mainly the humans, of course. [Smiles]. Though not with the Fomorians, since they are not here to talk.
- Have you revised anything for the economy model and its base resources in King Arthur II?
Zoltán Pozsonyi: In the sequel now we have one resource – Gold. We focused a lot more on the RPG-management on the Campaign Map – managing your growing armies and your advancing heroes, managing your artifacts and making the right political decisions. So it will be different, but even more exciting.
- What events could affect the citizens of the kingdom?
Viktor Juhász: Well, most of all the destruction of the Fomorian hordes in King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame. They’re killing people.
- We would enjoy seeing expanded stronghold’s construction options in the sequel. What buildings and defensive fortifications will be available this time in King Arthur II?
Péter Szabó: This time we chose to expand the upgrade option to every single location that you can find on the Campaign Map. They will boost your different unit types, your entire army or your heroes, or just the liege lord of the province, grant you upgrade points, open teleport gates, unlock new diplomatic actions, grant new artifacts and many more.
- Will new choices become available in terms of the Morality Chart, and when managing the pool of loyal knights?
Péter Szabó: The Morality Chart in King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame is filled with new content: new units and new skills that you unlock as you make various decisions during your adventures. You still have four different options: you can be a Righteous Christian, a Righteous Old Faith, a Tyrant Christian or a Tyrant Old Faith follower as the Once and Future King of Britannia. However, the Quests have changed a bit, because your decisions have a huge impact on your diplomatic relations as well, not only on your Faith and on your Morality.
- How does the updated heroes and units’ skills development system work in King Arthur II? Will we see any new special abilities?
Péter Szabó: There are plenty of brand new special unit and hero skills in the game, both among the active and passive skills. One of the most important improvements is that every hero has two separate skill trees: the hero’s class, which can be Champion, Sage or Warlord, defines the first skill tree and the second skill tree is unique for each hero.
- Your text-driven quests really charmed us in the first game. Will we notice any changes here for the sequel?
Vilmos Szebeni: There are only smaller changes regarding the Quest mechanics in King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame. Of course, your decisions still affect your Morality and Faith but now they can also change your diplomatic relations. Each quest is supported now with voice-over, meaning you don’t have to read every word. Still, bear in mind that everything you say has its consequences, and not necessarily in the ongoing Quest but during your later adventures.
- Who is composing the music for your new game, and what will it be like in King Arthur II?
Orsolya Tóth: The composer is the same – Gergely Buttinger. And I can assure you that the soundtracks in King Arthur II are even better than in the first game.
- How have you updated the artifacts’ roster for the game? Will we see any familiar items from the first game?
Vilmos Szebeni: Some of the items might be familiar to you but there are tons of new artifacts that you can collect in King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame. And if that wasn’t enough, you can even forge new items in the game and build artifact sets. It is usually a challenge, because every single item requires 3 specific artifacts as components during the crafting process. And to make this task more challenging, you can forge very rare and powerful sets, like the legendary war gear of the Old Faith god, Nuada Silverhand. You will have to find all the necessary items during your adventures, or – what makes it even more challenging – sometimes even the components are only available through forging.
- Tell us more about the variety of units a player can hire in King Arthur II.
Zoltán Pozsonyi: There are more than 500 different unit models altogether in the game, many of them belong to the human race, like the Romans, Picts, Vikings, Saxons, Britons or the Welsh. But you will see plenty of fantasy monsters in the sequel: Gargoyles, Colossuses, Giants, Wargs, Ghosts, Dragons, Werewolves, Talonfolk, many Fomorian units such as Possessed Warriors, Possessed Skirmishers, Possessed Archers, Whipfiend, Whip Horror, Netherhounds and many more.
- How powerful will the archers be during the initial stages of the game?
Péter Szabó: They will be less powerful than they were in the first game, but, of course, it will be still very much worth it to recruit them in King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame as they are really effective against the flying monsters during the initial stages of the game where you don’t have your advanced spells to take those down.
- You are introducing new huge bosses in King Arthur II. What is special to know about them, and how fighting them differs from battling usual foes?
Péter Szabó: Bosses are huge, special enemies and defeating them requires brand new and smart tactics every time. Let’s see an example: it’s not an existing boss fight, but they will be very much like this. A huge dragon was trapped in the mountains of Wales a long time ago. However, this evil creature has awakened and now threatens Britannia.
Its followers (other dragons, soldiers, heroes) gather around the dragon, defending the mystical crystals (locations) that keep the creature alive. You will have to fight with the followers all along as you try to capture the crystals from them, while the dragon blows fire, and drops the chunks of a ruined castle on your units. You will need smart tactics to avoid these powerful attacks and minimize your losses in King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame. Once you captured all crystals, the dragon turns into a monumental stone statue. The bosses and the trick to defeat them will be different every time.
- Will Victory Locations on the battlefield be of the same or more importance than earlier granting unique bonuses?
Péter Szabó: The Victory Location system has changed a lot. If you captured a Victory Location in the first game it gave you Victory Points and it was possible to win a battle only by capturing and keeping these locations. And they granted you bonuses only in a certain area around the location, so you were tied to the spot if you wanted to use the bonus it provided. In the sequel these locations don’t give Victory Points anymore, but they provide a bonus that you can use anywhere on the entire battlefield after capturing the location. This way you can concentrate more on choosing the right tactics and the perfect place to clash with the enemy, because the terrain also has a huge tactical role in the game.
- Casting of certain spells in the original title could often turn the tide towards powerful mages. How will the use of magic work for King Arthur II?
Orsolya Tóth: Magic still plays an important part in this fantasy game. We have improved the magic resistance and spell-casting system, so players will be able to defend themselves against powerful magical attacks. Every army starts the battle with a global magic resistance, depending on the magic resistance skills of your leading heroes. Special artifacts or unique unit skills can also boost your global resistance. The most powerful spells in King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame will require some time to execute – that’s the casting time. You always get proper notification when enemy heroes begin to cast a powerful spell and it’s highly advised to do something against it to avoid harsh damages. Gather your army or your fastest units and kill the hero before he finishes the spell, attack him with some spells or increase your magical defenses. It’s up to you.
- How will the sieges be played out in the sequel? Will we get any siege equipment to use?
Péter Szabó: Sieges will present strongholds with multi-level high walls and gates you can break through. Another specialty about the sieges is that there are much more locations to capture inside the fortification than on an average battlefield. And as the defender can split their army among these locations in the deployment phase and start to capture these extremely important strategic points right when the battle starts, it grants a huge advantage for the defending army during the sieges.
- In what have you enhanced the enemy AI behavior for the global map and for battle encounters in King Arthur II?
Zoltán Pozsonyi: We have improved the AI even further in every aspect. For example the different kings in Britannia that are controlled by the AI have very different behavior in King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame, when it comes to fighting battles, so these assaults will remain fresh and challenging as you venture deeper into the campaign.
- What improvements have you introduced to the Coretech 3D graphics engine both for the campaign map and for the in-game battles?
Zoltán Pozsonyi: First of all, the sequel was built on a brand new engine called Coretech 2. You can expect everything to be more detailed, both on the Campaign Map and in the Battles, such as the scenery, the units, the heroes or the effects. The new engine utilizes the advantages of the latest technology, and it will result in much bigger battles with up to 3000-4000 soldiers – be it human or monster – at the same time on the battlefield, a hugely improved animation system, a much smoother army movement and many others. The weather conditions also reflect the strength of the new engine, they look now really amazing.
- What new options will we get for managing camera on the battlefields of King Arthur II?
Orsolya Tóth: We spent a lot of time improving our camera options. There’s a new rotate and strafe camera slider that allows you to determine how high you have to move the mouse to rotate the camera instead of strafing it in King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame. We added the intelligent zoom, a new camera lock, invertible Y-axis, adjustable camera movement and rotation speed, and a lot more hotkeys – all are changeable.
- How do you work on the audio effects for battles in the sequel?
Zoltán Pozsonyi: We had it recorded by a sound and effect designer.
- When will King Arthur II be released?
Orsolya Tóth: The sequel King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame will come out in January 2012.
- What are your favorite video games?
NeocoreGames: Altogether we could name Limbo (2010), Might & Magic Heroes VI (2011), The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011), The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (2011), and in the office we still play Left 4 Dead 2 (2009) quite a lot - killing zombies is always a perfect free-time activity. [Smile].
- Name a few things you associate with Russia.
NeocoreGames: Vodka, cold, vodka. [Laugh].
- Thank you very much for the answers!
NeocoreGames: Many thanks for the questions!
King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame
King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame:
A direct sequel to the King Arthur: The Role-playing Wargame (2009), which combined kingdom management on the global map and tactical real-time battles. In this age of chivalry magic and myth come alive, while you are destined to help one of the living legends: Arthur, the son of Uther Pendragon, the Once and Future King of the prophecies.
The story begins long after young Arthur pulled the enchanted sword out of the stone, united the war-torn land of Britannia, gathered the Knights of the Round Table and secured peace in Camelot aided by the might of the Holy Grail. Where legends normally end, King Arthur II begins on its own gruesome tale.
Key Game Features:
- Large scale battles,with bigger armies to defeat more powerful foes;
- Stunning plotline, heroic battles and expanded moralitychart that unlocks new features;
- Intense bossfights,where the hero’s forces are pitted against unique and terrifying foes;
- Dark fantasy setting, where King Arthur is now the Maimed King, trying to mend a land torn asunder as he strives to heal himself;
- Wide range of camera control options, a revised animations of the Coretech 3D engine and an extensive tutorial creating a more accessible and visually stunning experience.