Arcane Legions: Rising Shadow Interview (PC)
Strategy Informer: Firstly, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Iain McNeil: My name is Iain McNeil and I'm the development director at Slitherine Software.
Strategy Informer: We've heard about some of the features of Arena : Warriors, could you give us more information on them?
Iain McNeil: Arena : Warriors is a blend of RPG and RTS. It takes some of the core elements of Legion Arena and builds on them but replaces the parts that did not work as well as intended or were less popular with players. For example unit customisation has become increasingly important. You can now change the equipment of your troops and see this feed in to the battle. Also, because we are not tied to a historical timeline we are able to really make the most of the RPG side of the game. The story is now non linear with characters to meet, quests to undertake and rewards to win. As always you learn as you go and Arena : Warriors will be a much more rounded experience.
Strategy Informer: What can you tell us about the graphical and physics features?
Iain McNeil: First impressions count for so much so we know Arena : Warriors has to be something that makes people go "Wow that looks cool" and this is what we're working towards. As we're a small team we're considering outsourcing some of the tasks to allow us to compete with the big guys. Right now we're working on the engine & effects such as lighting, specularity, glow, bump mapping etc. When we showed it at E3 some people were already saying it looks really cool and we've got a lot of improvements yet to make so are pretty confident.
Strategy Informer: What kind of support to you plan to give once the game is released?
Iain McNeil: As always we support our games post, but we are known for releasing games that are very solid and with few bugs so up to now have had very few support issues when you consider we've sold around 1/3 million games.
Strategy Informer: Can you tell us about the singleplayer aspect of the game?
Iain McNeil: The single player campaign is much like a standard RPG. There is an
overlying story that carries through the entire game and lots of self
contained smaller stories along the way that make up the smaller
missions. Players will travel around the world meeting characters,
making choices about missions, completing them and receiving rewards.
What sets Arena : Warriors apart from other RPG's is that instead of
managing a party of 1-6 characters you're in command of an army of
hundreds of men so when there is a fight, it's a real battle!
Strategy Informer: Will there be multiplayer support?
Arena : Warriors: We've not done any work on it yet but we're assuming so. It will be some form of head to head match with players designing their forces before the battle starts.
Strategy Informer: Can you give us an assessment of the health and long-term viability?
Iain McNeil: As the story is non linear and you can play as 2 different sides it will develop differently each time you play giving lots of replay value. On top of this we;re trying to support mods to a greater degree than in the past to let users create their own campaigns. If this works out it will be really cool and supply masses of replay value, but no promises yet!
Strategy Informer: Could you tell us about the 3D Quest Map and units that will be featured in Arena : Warriors?
Iain McNeil: As mentioned above the 3D quest map is where you travel around the world. You see the world from a birds eye view, as if looking down on a map, though one that is a prefect render of the 3D world. We're still designing some of the units but the basic two sides that are available are Humans and Orcs. Initially you'll be in charge of the humans, controlling a small band of troops that builds up in to an army over time. Villages have been raided and the immediate assumption is that your age old enemy, the Orc's, are to blame. Inevitably there is war but as things develop you find out there is more to the story than at first meets the eye.
Strategy Informer: As a gamer, what's your favourite part of Arena : Warriors, what makes you proud to have helped create it and why is it a game strategy fans will want?
Iain McNeil: There are a few things about Arena : Warriors that really get me excited. First is the quest map RPG mission system. You've never been able to play an RPG on this scale before so the game is unique. Second is the story which has some really intelligent and interesting twists. Thirdly is the unit customisation - you've never been able to equip and customize an army with this level of control before which again makes the game unique. This is all combined with the simple yet subtle battle mechanisms that made Legion Arena so appealing. I just can't wait to play it!
Strategy Informer: What is the current release date for Arena : Warriors?
Iain McNeil: It's too early to say, but probably 2007.
Strategy Informer: Is there anything you'd like to say to the the Arena : Warriors community before we wrap this up?
Iain McNeil: I'd just like to say that I know the fantasy setting of Arena : Warriors is a deviation from normally historically accurate games, but this does not mean we have given up on historical strategy games. We are just taking a break. After 6 years we needed the chance to let our creative juices flow with a fantasy setting for a while, but we'll be back! Fantasy is not for everyone, but we think that most of our fans would really enjoy Arena : Warriors if they gave it a try.