BT: So, how long has the game been in development then?
One and a half years now.
BT: Bloody hell – kept that quiet then didn’t you?
Yeah, and the official announcement isn’t until next Tuesday (at the time the interview was recorded – Ed
), but that quiet period was intended. What we’re doing is going in completely new ways and directions, so it’s a new IP, a new business model and a whole new approach for RTS games.
That naturally meant we needed to work in a quiet area for some time until we were ready to show the game. I mean, when you’re creating something completely new then you always have to correct things as you go along and announcing anything too early would make that hard.
BT: A lot of games at the moment, especially within EA, are targeted at getting the maximum accessibility and opening to the largest possible audience, like Battlefield: Heroes for example. If I say card-based online co-op RTS to somebody though then they immediately think of a hardcore game, but from what I’ve seen the game actually goes against that to be very casual. Are you worried players might be put-off or confused?
I would put it in a different way actually. I’d say accessibility is one of our key points and we’ve put a lot of work into developing an intuitive interface that is easy to use. Also, compared to normal RTS games we have no tech tree to learn. We’ve also shortened production times so we have instant use units, so the game becomes more action-packed.
This means the game is more about immediate tactics – you don’t have to research a factory to place a barracks to create a unit who can research a tank for you. The whole game starts to feel so much more fluid and less complex.
On the other hand, the card system is something which we’ve never seen before in an RTS game in this way. Hardcore players will love, especially since they can develop their decks and spend months creating new decks and combinations, though we also make new players at home with some default decks. New players will maybe want to switch just a few cards around in a deck.
BT: It’s interesting because it seems like a hard sell and it might be a push to get a casual player interested in a card-based RTS, but from what we’ve seen it’s nowhere near as complex as it sounds.
Yes, I mean, in your first matches you don’t have to do anything with your decks. You just play with a standard deck, like a normal RTS game, and the whole thing is very easy and accessible. Slowly though, you get into it and can start changing the foundations of your army.
BT: Does co-op make things more complex though?
Well, yeah, actually I forgot all about that one! In most RTS games you only have PvP mode and new players easily get beaten by better players, so many of them just quit. What we have though is a co-op mode which lets players team up, learn together and teach each other things. The whole game is much more fun because of it.
Winning and losing together is always more fun than just losing against other people.