Date of publish: 20/11/2020 18:31 CET
Overview: We have sat down and chatted with GSC Game World’s Aleksey Savchenko about their upcoming mix of RTS and RPG, Heroes of Annihilated Empires.
Q: Bonjure. Could you tell us a bit about yourself for the readers? Well, at least your name and what you do for GSC Game World?
A: Guten tag! My name is Aleksey Savchenko, I am a PR Manager working on the project, you know, that guy that usually says things like “We have the best game ever” and “You never saw such a thing before”. The difference between all these people and me that I do not lie, due to the brain trauma in early childhood that made me choose my job in this crazy industry =)
Q: How did the idea of making a real time strategy game come about? Was it originally slated to be an RTS or was the role playing game element more prevalent?
A: In fact, we thought of making a racer and mane it “Need for Burnout”. Yeah. But then suddenly, when we were nearly driving to the game’s completion, it struck us that a mix of strategy and role-playing experience would be actually be killer. And that’s the point “Heroes of Annihilated Empire” originated from! Moreover, when we realized we have a profoundly experienced team of Cossacks creators on hands, the decision was corner-stoned. The team was full of bright innovative ideas, so this all sped up the process a lot. The game message is to depict the world of fantasy as if for real, as well as clash two genres head to head: strategy vs rpg.
Q: What did you do to incorporate the two genres?
A: We decided to start with basic elements: heroes (a key element in the game) who can traverse the world of the game to reveal its hidden treasures, gain experience, acquire new skills and lead thousands of loyal warriors to victory. On top of that we will come up with classic strategy elements such as base construction and resource micromanagement. Coupled with intriguing story, communication with NPCs and an extensive system of magic that should be an interesting mix indeed.
Q: Do you remember Ariel from the Little Mermaid? Did you think she was hot?
A: Man, that is a serious question – my heart and memories from childhood are telling me that, she was really hot, yeah! But. Then my mind tells me that in fact she is a fish, so she has to be cold… and good to chase beer with.
Q: Was there anything strange or out of the ordinary that the office did to push development, perhaps get the developers in a common mindset?
A: Do you mean like boosting development with crates of beer, nurse-and-maid style striptease in the office and evil, drunk metal hardcore karaoke to follow suit? No, nothing like that..:( On a more serious note, after many years of working together the guys are always like a team, as in working, so as in booze parties. Corporate parties or those initiated spontaneously by someone have proven quite a good motivating factor to keep the great team spirit up.
Q: What kinds of cliché pitfalls did the development team try to avoid in trying to make an RTS game?
A: I think that we should distinguish between clichés and traditions of the genre, right? What we try to do is improve the classic well-known experiences of RTS and RPG and tie them into something original and memorable. No hidden dangers faced yet.
Q: Was there anything that you did to really try and make the game stand out from either of the genres you were working with?
A: A lot of things, really. It is about the approach to cosmology of the world, abilities of heroes, as well as other features like traveling in underground areas (you can do it only with your hero, not with the entire army), dramatic story, and importantly, the quality of what you actually SEE on the screen.
Q: What about other Disney characters? Tell me you didn’t have a celebrity crush on at least one of the animated characters.
A: Jasmine from Aladdin. She was a girl of my dream for quite a long time – beautiful, witty, with a strong character and big eyes. Great babe.
Q: How did you come up with some of the characters for the game? Was there a certain source that was used for inspiration?
A: There were a lot of sources connected with fantasy books, movies, cartoons, music and games. Characters in the game can be divided into three categories – mages, warriors and specific characters for each race. All of them influence the story, so they are charismatic, strong personalities with specific features. You will be impressed.
Q: Was there any sort of interesting research that went into developing the weapons and armor, or anything else in the content of the game?
A: Definitely there were loads of them: fighting on swords, reading tons of literature about magic, cold weaponry and mythology were most unpretentious of them. We also tried hiring a guy who claimed that he could easily open portals to other worlds where we could gather material but he turned out a mere swindler…
Q: What did you do individually to help contribute to the uniqueness of the game?
A: Oh come on, I’m a modest person and don’t want to tell about my vast endowment into project =))). Seriously, I think that you were waiting for this answer, and I cannot reproach you here – all the things achieved now and just to be achieved is the success of the teamwork, not of one particular person.
Interview by Andrew Serros
Original date of publish: 29.12.2004