So basically if your goblins aren't getting their intake of violence, they're gonna get disgruntled with their leadership. So what would you say the most challenging race to implement in the game has been so far?
They're all challenging in their own different ways. Vampires are challenging because they don't have any missile units. That got us scratching our heads, and we were like "Should we do that? Shouldn't we do that?" and then we were like "Of course we should do that because that's how they've been written into the lore!"
So we said, "Well what can we do about that?" And it got us thinking "Well, they've got meat-shields in zombies, to soak up the better troops of the opposition and slow them down. Then we said. "Well, we need something to allow the better troops to get in, because they're not quick, right? That's what got us going on Fellbats.
The Fellbats are a great way of nullifying the opposition's ranged units because they don't have them. So you use them to swarm all over artillery pieces or hand-gunners or whatever they might be. They're not really going to kill them, but they are going to soak up that firepower. It allows you to get your Grave Guard, your more Elite Troops or maybe you've got
Black Knights to come and flank around the sides. So that really helped. They're also the only race that can get additional units on the battlefields which are not reinforcements. They can physically summon skeletons or zombies into the battle.
You've got a much broader palette to experiment and obviously you've got huge units like Giants and Ragnarok Spiders. How is that in terms of balancing the game?
Well, we had to change things a little bit, because we've never had single-entity characters before. So we had to look at how can we get hit-points into the game which mean that the relative scale of one thing can be that of a hundred and sixty-five or two-hundred other guys. That's one thing that we had to do with Lords or the Ragnarok Spider.
Then we had to look at what sort of upgrades we wanted as well. Because you can customise these characters through magical items or traits, and things of that nature. Then with each race in between, we wanted them to play differently. So we decided that "Ok, Dwarves are going to be very defensive minded. So they want to stay together, they wanna make use of their firepower. They're not going to be able to walk very quick, so if you're caught on the march, they're gonna be susceptible to taking a bit of punishment. Whereas the Orks and Goblins are much more about being freeform, fast, they're gonna break often, but then you're gonna have the ability to rally them back into the fight.
I mean, Goblins, are gonna run up there, start hacking and slashing and then go "Oh, no!" and leg it, and that's what we want. The Orks will follow up behind and go "You get back in there!" you know? So we looked at ways of playing with certain statistics to get that behaviour.
Another significant aspect of Warhammer is that is that it's got a very storied universe there's a lot of lore there, they've built it over many years. How has that affected your approach to the campaign side of the game? Is it going to be a story-focussed thing, or more emergent like previous Total Wars?
A little bit of both. You still get to have your sandbox game that people love from the previous titles. But we have deliberately incorporated a bit more story, through things like these quest battles. So if you wanna find out more about Karl Franz or Manfred von Carstein, you can opt to go on these quests, which will have significant rewards at the end of them.
But as you play them through, the story is developing. You're learning more about this guy and what he's looking to do, where he's come from, and ultimately end up at a quest battle, where you get to choose what you want to take into it from what you developed into the campaign. So you'll get to pick and choose, and then you get his rousing general speech, which is kind of the penultimate piece of that narrative strand.
We've also got an advisor in the early part of the game, who again will reinforce the idea of who you are, where you are in this world, who you kind of have quarrels with. The Book of Grudges is another great mechanics which brings out the narrative background of the Dwarves.