I’d not really heard about Drakensang before I went along to the Eidos press event where the European release of the game was being showcased. An epic 3D RPG with deep combat and multiple gameplay paths, it’s fair to say that though I didn’t know the game going in, I left very impressed.
So impressed in fact that, while the mini-doughnuts and spring rolls were being handed out as finger food to a crowd of journalists who were clearly baffled by the strange blend of cultural culinaries, I sat down with two of the men behind the game – Boris Arendt from developer Radon Labs and Class Wolter from German publisher DTP.
Our rambling conversation had no real structure and rolled over all manner of topics, from Fallout 3 and the future of fantasy RPGs to interview etiquette and how tasty the doughnuts were. Check it all out below.
Class Wolter: Mmm. I hope you don’t mind us eating while we do this. These doughnuts are good. Still warm.
bit-tech: That’s fine, I ate all the way through your presentation after all.
CW: Pfft, that’s fine. Did you like the look of the game?
bt:Yeah, I did actually. What engine is it running on?
Boris Arendt: It’s called Nebula3. We were really lucky and able to get the team who made the original engine to come work with us so that we could expand and build on it and add the features we needed into it the game. It’s really custom-made for this game and evolved with it.
bt:In the presentation we just saw you said that, even before you could release the game in Europe the fans were working on their own translations. Have you made modding tools available for it then?
BA: Modding tools aren’t really part of our policy, but still...people must have been able to mod it somehow. I don’t know these real technical things very well, but we see in the forums that there’s a modding community there already.
CW: Yeah, we didn’t plan to make the game modifiable but the fans have found stuff out themselves and made some really great things.
bt:It must have been really well received in Germany then?
CW: Oh, yes. Yeah.
bt:So, what are your expectations in Britain where The Dark Eye brand isn’t as well known?
CW: Well, when we started making the game we wanted it to be able to stand on its own because we know that The Dark Eye RPG system the game is based on is only really well known in Germany. On the other hand, there have been other games based on it like The Realms of Arkania series which were published in nineties and were very successful internationally. They won all sorts of ‘Best RPG’ awards.
So, Drakensang is made to stand on its own and you don’t really need to know anything about the background or RPG or lore. All that you need to know is already in the game – if you like fantasy RPGs then you’ll enjoy it.
BA: Yeah. The thing was, we wanted to stay true to the license on one hand but we didn’t want to alienate those who were fans of the license the game is based on. It’s big, you know? The Dark Eye system is in Germany like Dungeons and Dragons is here. While it’s cool to give a nod to fans of it though, we don’t want to cater only to them.