Developer GSC GameWorld is keeping very busy. In addition to their upcoming first person shooter S.T.A.L.K.E.R and their upcoming historical RTS title Cossacks 2, the developer recently announced yet another game in development, a fantasy themed RTS game titled Heroes Of Annihilated Empires. HomeLAN got a chance to chat with GSC GameWorld’s PR manager Oleg Yavorsky to find out more about Heroes of Annihilated Empires.
HomeLAN – First how did the idea for Heroes of Annihilated Empires come about?
Oleg Yavorsky – The idea behind Heroes of Annihilated Empires was to create a game that would contain not only great possibilities of strategy and tactics, but also provide a bright and diverse universe to play in, while at the same time incorporating the best-loved ideas of modern RTS and RPG. We thought the idea of a fairy tale world with its own history, legends and past, bearing mysteries and dramatic story would be a great point to start at. Then we would add magic, mighty heroes and thousands of warriors to loyally serve their commanders seeking glory in conquests. We decided to recreate a fantasy world from the very roots, as if it were existing in reality and, thus, here comes the world of En’liad. It will serve home for six nations, each with a story to tell, each being a thread of destiny that will come together in a conflict described in this game trilogy.
HomeLAN – What can you tell us about the storyline to the game?
Oleg Yavorsky – In the first part of the game you will lead your hero to explore the surrounding world and unreel the story through missions and escapades. The player will get immersed into the tale of the glorious past of En’liad translated into songs of bards, and will get a taste of the future, predicted by prophets. The main conflict of the first game part lies in the opposition of druids and undeads. That will surely come not without complications and hidden story twists :). I guess that’ll do about the story for the moment.
HomeLAN – What playable sides will be available in Heroes?
Oleg Yavorsky – There will be Druids, Undead, Ice Folk, Humans, Dwarfs and Demons and maybe another one yet to be announced. The factions are completely unique and changing one you actually choose a particular gameplay strategy different from the rest. All of the nations have their advantages and disadvantages, weak and strong points, variations of functionality in technology, units and spells. For each race you can expect from 13 to 17 units, unique tech-trees and, of course, magic which is one of the key gameplay elements here.
HomeLAN – What are some of the more unique units in the game?
Oleg Yavorsky – As for the enemies, there will be a total of 13 to17 different units per nation. On top of that the game world will host 12 nations of neutrals with about 5-8 unit types each. Some of the units have an ability of transformation to different enemies, like vampires that transform from a woman to bat, or werewolves that have ability to transform in a couple of different creatures. Also, it’s worthwhile mentioning about unique huge units like walking trees, dragons etc that will have certain magic abilities along with their robust strength. Some of the units have basic magic spells like charm, healing and more. In fact, almost every unit in the game represents a kind of separate tribe that has their unique features and abilities.
HomeLAN – How will the single player campaign be handled?
Oleg Yavorsky – Playing for each race you will play through approximately 15 missions. All of them will have primary goal and a number of objectives and quests, some of which are optional and some should be completed to progress in the story. The player will destroy enemy fortifications, explore the lands, look for specific items and artefacts in dungeons to bring them back or who knows, maybe keep them for himself. Also we will provide for populated areas like cities where you will pick up quests and try completing them wandering on surrounding areas. In HoAE there is a wide choice of options that will help you building up your unique style of play using elements like specific skills of your hero or units, rush, stealth, magic, swords, diplomacy (that may help you to find allies or provoke conflicts between enemies) and exploration.
HomeLAN – What kinds of magic spells will be put into Heroes?
Oleg Yavorsky – Magic in HoAE is an important gameplay element. For all the races we shall have more than one hundred twenty spells. What makes our magic different is its global range of impact. In most games one spell usually affects either single or no more than 10 – 15 units, but in Heroes of Annihilated Empires you could see a powerful Whirlwind of Death or fireball that crushes rows of units, killing hundreds of them or, for instance, Bless that inspires your entire army, i.e. thousands of units. Also, some of the spells will be multifunctional and that means with one you can damage your enemies and heal your troops at the same time. We will provide for diversity of magic in the game therefore.
HomeLAN – What multiplayer features will the game have?
Oleg Yavorsky – First off, we will provide for a multiplayer system, similar to the one players could see in Cossacks, American Conquest and will see in the upcoming Cossacks 2, which includes up to seven players on the map (including a possibility to play cooperatively for one nation), variety of maps and options, play over LAN and the Internet. It’s a possibility we’ll implement another, yet to be disclosed mode.
HomeLAN – What other unique gameplay elements will Heroes have?
Oleg Yavorsky – The essence of the game is virtually pitting two genres – RTS and RPG – against each other. The game is about global battles with up to 64.000 units on the map, unique magic system including over 100 spells, very detailed environments and advanced graphics features, smooth combination of 3D and 2D, loads of animations for each race, great soundtracks and so on. The game is friendly with casual gamers, but at the same time gives an opportunity for hardcore players to dig deeper and prove their skills by choosing an original mix of tactics and strategy. It should take approximately 30 hours to complete one campaign. The multitude of side quests and variety of ways to develop your hero also looks like a good basis for replay-ability.
HomeLAN – What can you tell us about the graphics engine that is being used in the game?
Oleg Yavorsky – The engine we use is a highly upgraded one of Cossacks 2. The engine integrates 3D possibilities, vertex and pixel shaders, provides for smooth zoom-in, map rotation and other new eye-candy, while at the same time to our commonly high unit limit. By mixing big numbers of detailed sprite units with big 3D landscape, units and buildings, we will show the real scale of epic battles in the best traditions of classic fantasy. The right combination of 2D and 3D is the key technical achievement with the game and helps to ensure the proper visual and aesthetic feeling of the player.
HomeLAN – Will Heroes be mod friendly in any way?
Oleg Yavorsky – It’s rather possible. We may include map editor in the third part of the trilogy and later, perhaps a complete editor that will help players to create missions and campaigns.
HomeLAN – The game will be the first title under GSC’s new publishing company. Why start your own publishing company at this stage?
Oleg Yavorsky – For every company, when it reaches a certain development stage, there is a moment to decide which strategic direction to move further in, as our CEO Sergey Grygorovych put it. I think it’s a good time for us to try out this new business model. After almost 10 years of presence on the development market and with over 10 projects (including add-ons) in the pipeline, the belief is we have enough of resources and experience to set ambitious challenges for the future. Heroes of Annihilated Empires is going to be our pilot self-published project.
HomeLAN – What is the current status of the game and when will it be released?
Oleg Yavorsky – About 30 percent of the game is already done, release is planned for Q4 2005 and we will bring it out in CIS and major European territories ourselves. For the rest of the territories, including the USA, Asia etc, we’ll be looking to sign standard publishing deals.
HomeLAN – Finally is there anything else you wish to say about Heroes of Annihilated Empires?
Oleg Yavorsky – As we have started receiving feedback on the game and ideas behind it, we are happy to see the general appreciation of those. We pretty much count on closely working with the community to build up an interesting and topical title which would include the best of our creative potential along with broad impact from the players. Thanks HomeLAN for supporting the game and the community for your interest and feedback!
INFORMATION ABOUT THIS CONTENT:
Date of publish: 20.10.2004
Author: John “JCal” Callaham
Language of publish: english