Date of publish: 18/11/2020 15:20 CET
Recently developer GSC GameWorld and publisher Ubi Soft released Alexander, a historical real time strategy game about the rise and fall of the powerful leader of the Greek empire Alexander the Great. The game is also a tie-in to the recent Oliver Stone movie of the same name starring Colin Farrell. HomeLAN got a chance to chat with Ubi Soft producer Fabrice Cambounet to get some more info on the game.
HomeLAN – First, how did the idea come about to make an RTS title based on the Alexander movie?
Fabrice Cambounet – The project started mid-2003. Some time before this date, Ubisoft felt it was a good time to try the RTS market by developing a game based on ancient history. With the former success of Gladiator, this period seemed to be gaining interest, and was not developed much in previous games. The choice of a flag-bearer hero quickly became obvious, and Alexander was soon under development.
HomeLAN – How much input do the movie makers have in the making of the game?
Fabrice Cambounet – We consulted with Oliver Stone and his team at several stages. Of course their major impact was on which part of the movie they wanted to see highlighted in the game 🙂 This helped us create our sequences, that you will find while playing the campaigns : the key turning points will be featured with the movie.
On the game itself, Oliver Stone was very keen to see that we respect the historical accuracy. He did a lot of research and is very knowledgeable on every detail of the period: he pointed to us the way soldiers should look, move and react together. He also wanted to ensure the main events where presented realistically. We tried to emulate these elements into the game itself.
HomeLAN – Will members of the movie cast be voicing their roles in the game?
Fabrice Cambounet – You will find the major actors, and mostly Colin Farrell (as Alexander), of course, in the movie sequences that we built. The game is intertwined with the film, in a way most licensed games are not. We chose not to reflect the actions of the film only, but to give the player the ability to relive the complete conquest of Alexander. The film will highlight the major elements, and the biggest battles: you will find them in the game. In fact, you will be able to replace them in the progress of Alexander, and understand how they happened: thus the game will expand the experience of the movie, getting you in the historical context, just as well as the movie will expand the experience of the game, bringing visual flavour of the time. We created 10 movie sequences out of exclusive shots, to illustrate the key turning points of the game storyline.
HomeLAN – What can you tell us about the single player campaign in the game?
Fabrice Cambounet – Alexander will be the only RTS giving control over so many units to the player. He will be able to recreate history with the finest accuracy, with each army of the time being modelled with the same number of soldiers. You will also play with the major characters of the time, that will act as heroes, but will still be mortal men, that could die in battle. Alexander was wounded several times on the battlefield, like most of his men. The game is also more focused on accurate historical facts supported by gigantic but strategic combats whereas other titles chose to lean toward diplomacy or casual game.
The key gameplay factor of the game is around the use of formations and armies. You will almost never manage a soldier or a small group of soldiers. The real edge in battle will come when you arrange your troops in a logical way, and give them the correct orders. You will handle a few groups of units, or a large army. When arranged into formations, soldiers will be more effective, and will gain experience. It will make the difference between and organized army and barbarians.
HomeLAN – What units will be available in the Alexander game?
Fabrice Cambounet – You will play with all existing units of the time. The core units for most armies of this time were foot soldiers, of course, and the game reflects that. The great diversity in footmen allows for a lot of tactics already: you have light and heavy armored soldiers, shooters, axe-men, etc. But you also get to play with many cavalry types, and more specific units like elephants, war chariots, that depend on the nation you play. These will decide the tide of war!
HomeLAN – What types of missions and settings will the game have?
Fabrice Cambounet – The storyline is key in this game, as it runs through our veins: it is our common history. The game tells the story of Alexander the Great, who conquered most of the world before he turned 30. All of this happened 23 centuries ago, in a mere 10 years span. The missions you play during his campaign reflect closely the historical facts: you will use all possible strategies, as Alexander himself did. You will lead large battles, skirmishes, commando movements, sieges, build cities, pursue enemies, fight on land or on the sea, in the desert, in the jungle or in mountains.
You also get to play as his main enemies, in three other campaigns, that reflect possible events that would have happened, if Alexander lost a battle at some moment of his fight against each existing nation of the time.
HomeLAN – Will there be any multiplayer modes in the Alexander game?
Fabrice Cambounet – Of course the game will be playable multiplayer, with up to seven players. You will have the choice of any of the four nations included in the solo game. Multiplayer maps will be provided with the release, and also later distributed online. The game includes a random map generator, to tailor your precise needs. We will also release the map editor for free later on. You’ll be able to play through LAN or internet.
HomeLAN – What can you tell us about the game’s graphics engine?
Fabrice Cambounet – The game features a very specific engine that we hope will seduce players. This is basically a 3D engine, where you will be able to zoom in on the action, with large ships, walls or siege machines. But you will also get to see thousands of units (not tens or hundreds, but really thousands), with the finest details and animations, along with lots of special effects for dust, fire or smoke. The technical choice that was done brings to life finer visual for each soldier on the battlefield.
HomeLAN – Finally is there anything else you wish to say about the Alexander game?
Fabrice Cambounet – I think now the best is to play the game, and watch the movie ! You will fully experience one of the most fascinating part of history, with modern means 🙂
Written by John “JCal” Callaham
Original date of publish: 15.12.2004