The Disciples franchise has been around for a while but hasn't had the mainstream success here in the US that it has in Europe. Here's our chat with the producer of the upcoming Disciples III who talks about why people should be interested in their game and how they are trying to break into the market.
Can you introduce yourself and talk about your role on the project?
My name is Alexey Ilyin, and I am the producer of Disciples III: Renaissance.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Disciples franchise can you give us an overview of the series and what the key components of the franchise are?
Disciples’ series is turn-based strategy with a strong RPG element.
The main feature of the series is managing small squads rather than big armies. Every unit gains the experience and raises its level.
The style of the game is one more important feature. The atmosphere is dark and gothic. Unlike the other turn-based strategies, Disciples series contains a strong RPG element which allows players to develop their storyline leaders and units of the squads.
All previous products from Disciples series have always had a strong storyline that found a great continuation in Disciples 3: Renaissance which is a great leap forward in evolution of Disciples series.
Will those who haven't been played the previous ones be able to jump right in or is there a learning curve? How do you balance the need to bring new people in to the game while keeping the existing fans happy?
The game will definitely be interesting for both hardcore fans of the series and new comers. On one hand, the plot of Disciples 3 doesn’t relate directly to the previous product, and that’s why the players won’t need to delve into the storyline of Disciples 2. But still, we’ve preserved the original gameworld, and it has the references to the previous games from Disciples series in terms of important locations, characters & the gameworld in general.
The game has been in development for quite a while, can you shed some light as to what's been the hardest part of developing the game?
It was an interesting challenge to transfer the atmosphere of gothic and beautiful art from 2D to 3D perspective. It’s quite a difficult task in general, and I don’t know many developers who managed this well enough.
Hope, people who will play Disciples 3 will like what we’ve done.
The 2nd challenge was to preserve this intriguing and unique style of the game. We understand that fans of the series have quite high expectations. So, we’re doing our best to match them.Can you provide the synopsis of the plot of the game? The game features three races, can you give us an overview of the three races and how they differ?
Nevendaar suffers from the struggle between gods that results into permanent wars which brings lots of disasters to its inhabitants.
One night the inhabitants of Neverdaar witnessed an outstanding phenomenon: a star falling from the sky, which has been considered as Sign mentioned in the legends of all the races living in Nevendaar. But nobody knew what it could mean.
Human Empire hope that the Star will bring the good news to the world which would finally gain a releaf from the devastating war.
Legions of Damned are fallen angels cruel and savage creations. And Berthrezen, a leader of Demons is always playing his own game. He wants to find the star whatever it means, and use its power for his own terrible plans. He is going to capture this world and immerse it into the darkness.
Elvian lands are ruled by a wise Queen. Elves, live a long life and thus they learned well that they should not rely on friendly help. The Queen doesn't want any changes in the world to happen. That’s why she and her people are inclined to consider the Star as a sign on upcoming changes which can turn out to be hard to manage and keep existing order of things.
Star was a herald. It marked the arrival of the Angel sent by the Highfather with a certain mission. The Highfather is the main and oldest God, who created this world. The Angel was a young and beautiful lady named Inoel. It was a name of a hope in the very ancient Legend. She has a clear soul, but nobody knows her real mission.
There are two more races which will be added as stand-alone addons: Undead Hordes and Dwarves.
Turn based strategy games seem to be a bit of a rare breed these days, why do you think the genre is so under represented?
Turn based strategy genre is very interesting, but quite difficult to realize. Turn-based game has strong tactical component in general it is close to playing chess. To add some innovations here was one of the most interesting tasks for us. We’ve concentrated on keeping the main features of the genre as we didn’t want to break the idea, but we’ve added some nice unique features related to battle system and RPG system, so, we hope the players will enjoy playing the Disciples 3.
What kind of RPG elements can folks expect to see in the game?
The development system of heroes changed totally. Each character has a list of parameters and skills. The parameters of each hero include stamina, strength, intellect, dexterity and initiative. The skills tree looks like a field paved with the square counters. You can only open counter neighboring the opened one. If you open the counter you get the skill written on it. Standard list of skills includes increases for leader parameters. And there are also a number of unique skills for the leaders of each game race.
Wearing, equipment and weapon by the hero always changes his visual representation both on the global map and in the battle.
Can you talk about the main new features in the game? What kinds of changes are you making to the core mechanics of the game?
The combat system of Disciples 3 has been changed significantly. We’ve refused the static battles by giving units the possibility to move through the battlefield freely. This solution has allowed us to add more spectacular fighting scenes . The arenas got some additions such us obstacles and force nodes, which affect the tactical development of the battle.
There is also the new ability to cover the unit: for example, if the knight with covering skill stands next to the archer, then if the enemy attacks the archer in the close combat, he will be attacked by the knight instead of it.
We also have some innovations in the magic system. For instance, in the Magic Tower you can learn the spell like it was before, but you are also able to create the rune, which can help you to win battle.
From the trailers we've seen it's hard to tell the game is turn based, how much of a focus was making the game look good?
Actually, Disciples series always had the feature of developers’ high attention to visual representation. Disciples 3 just follows this rule and lead the series to the next evolutionary level.
The development team working on Disciples 3 includes a large group of very talented artists and high experienced modelers. High detailed textures will allow to see even the smallest pattern on the clothes of the characters. One of the main artists of this project is a famous fantasy artist in Russia - Anry. He worked as an illustrator for many movies, collector’s books editions and so on.
Thanks to the great job done by these people a dark world of Disciples looks especially “alive” in 3 dimension.
Tastes vary across cultures, as a Russian developer do you try to create something that suits your tastes or do you try and make sure the game is appealing to everyone?
We’ve put a lot of efforts to keep the game atmosphere and make it next leap in evolution of the series.. We hope that our tastes are rather progressive in this relation. We try to make the game which will be interesting for the players all over the world regardless if they live in Russia or in other country. We are sure that Disciples 3: Renaissance will be a nice present for all the fans of the series and the genre will attract great number of new fans thanks to the quality and thrilling storyline of the game that we’re making.
One of the features listed is day and night cycles, does this impact how the game is played or is it just a graphical item?
It is graphical item to make the game looking more juicy.
Any plans on releasing a demo before the game is released or not?
We will definitely do it in Russia. We hope that international publisher will release demo for international game community.
Anything we missed that you think people should know about the game?
I don't think I should say anything else. I just wanted to make an accent on the moment, that all of us, the Disciples 3: Renaissance’s team seems to become real fans of project. And we really hope to bring the great time to the future players.
We'd like to thank Alexey for taking the time to answer our questions