Besieger Interview (PC)
Si: Hi, please tell us little about yourself and the team behind Besieger.
Petr Petukhov: My name is Petr Petukhov, Managing Director, Primal Software. Our team was founded in Moscow in 1996. Originally named SBG Co. Ltd., we created multimedia encyclopedias and other multimedia titles for the Russian computer entertainment market. In 1999, we completed our first full scale computer game: an award winning, best selling comedy-adventure title called "Petka". It came out on three CDs (due to high resolution graphics and over 8 hours of speech), was published by Buka Entertainment and became an instant hit and a national bestseller. Ten months later, in 2000, we completed the sequel, "Petka 2 - Judgment Day," which also became a national bestseller. In 2001, we formed a new company, Primal Software. Our first game, an Action-RPG called The I of the Dragon, has been already released in Russia and sells in fantastic numbers. Gamers here have a lot of fun playing it.
Si: What is the goal of Primal? Which game genres are you most exited about working on?
Petr Petukhov: We work to satisfy each player’s primal desire: to have lots of fun, enjoy cool visuals and innovative technology (hence the company name). Our team is big enough so there are a lot of people who enjoy playing and creating games of every known genre. Our first engine, which we use in two games (The I of the Dragon and Besieger), is very versatile so it doesn’t limit our options. So basically, our choices are made for us by you, the players - we are creating games that will be popular.
Si: Who will be the Besiegers audience?
Petr Petukhov: The Strategy genre is well defined and well developed, so our audience is made up of people who play Warcraft or any other famous Strategy game. Our goal is not to redefine the genre but to have all the proven things done just right - plus add a few cool innovations of our own.
Si: Will A.I. have enough power to put the veteran players into a decent challenge? How strong will it be?
Petr Petukhov: This question is one of those that cannot be answered by developers. Have you ever seen a game in this genre that didn’t boast about its incredible AI before its release? And yet, how many games have delivered what they promised? Only players can judge AI fairly when the game is released. We believe that our AI will be one of the best, of course. Besides smart and interesting opponents (not just tough but inventive, just like a human player) we have something special that only a few games use effectively: Besieger will have “real-life” pathfinding. No cheating is allowed (such as units walking through each other or through walls) and units waiting to enter a house will form a queue, just like they should.
Si: Will there be any multiplayer? Please tell us little about it.
Petr Petukhov: Sure, even though AI can be good, it will never replace the fun of playing with real, live friends, who know your tactics and your weaknesses. We’ll have four network modes: 1. All against all. In this mode, players select a map, a race and a main character. The mission is to eliminate the enemy completely. 2. Capture the artifact. Each race has a special place (an "altar") to which the enemy artifact should be brought; you should also protect your artifact at your own altar from being captured. Workers capture artifacts. 3. Siege. In this mode, a player is put into the previously prepared fortress. The second player is placed beyond the fortress with a ready army. Both sides are unable to produce additional units. The mission is to capture the fortress (or hold out) within a specified time. The attacking party periodically receives reinforcement and the defenders have a fixed number of units. 4. Tactical combat. In this mode, both sides have a fixed number of units. They may not construct buildings or produce units. Equidistant from the starting point is a fortress that can be captured by either party.
Si: What is the game story?
Petr Petukhov: The story is based on two races (Vikings and Cimmerians) that lived in reasonably peaceful coexistence until Karon, a jealous brother of the Cimmerian leader used his brother’s absence to start an all-encompassing war to become a tyrant over both races. Two protagonists: Barmalay, second-in-command under the Viking leader (who was killed by evil magic unleashed by Karon) and the lawful Cimmerian ruler Konin start in different places and know nothing about each other. They try to find the source of recent events and restore order. A player first leads Barmalay on his quest and then, when he gathers power and knowledge and meets Konin for the first time, returns a few months later to discover what led Konin to this point. The second campaign, played as Konin, is more difficult from the very beginning - it’s enabled only after Barmalay’s part is finished. A few last missions see Barmalay and Konin fight together and finally defeat evil Karon.
Si: Tell us little about the game itself. A short description.
Petr Petukhov: As the name suggests, Besieger has an important feature: towns that are fun to besiege. Besides taking on standard strategic tasks, you’ll get to besiege and be besieged. Our towns are not just a few buildings standing close to each other. Just like in real towns, buildings form something bigger; there are walls with archers atop of them, towers, siege machines and a lot of other cool things.
Si: How many units/races will there be?
Petr Petukhov: There are two major races (Vikings and Cimmerians) and a few minor ones (Ogres, Werebears, Centaurs). We have about 50 units total.
Si: How strong system will the game require?
Petr Petukhov: The recommended specs to enjoy the game to its full potential would be somewhere around the following: 1000 MHz processor, GeForce3-level card from any manufacturer, 256 MB RAM. The minimum requirements would be lower, of course.
Si: Would you like to add anything?
Petr Petukhov: Another important thing that should be mentioned is our system of resource management. People are not units! They arise from houses (each house can support a few men), and each man can use any weapon and operate any machine. Just build a house that produces such a weapon or machine and order someone to enter it and equip himself! Even better, it’s possible to change anyone’s profession at any time.