How have you changed the magic system of the game? What kind of new spells can we expect to see?
Magic was one of our 3 focus's for Fallen Enchantress. I gave some examples of spells in the above. We have spells that allow your sovereign to sacrifice his essence to power his champions, and spells which allow your sovereign to sacrifice his champions to make himself more powerful. Spells that change the world, and spells that allow players that store up enough mana to destroy the world in all sorts of interesting ways.
Seeing a player with a huge amount of mana stored should be like seeing an opponent with a stockpile of nuclear weapons. It's not good.
The dev team seems to be bringing in the “big guns” here in the late stages, such as Jon Shafer and David Stern... what benefit(s) do you feel their experience is bringing to the project?
I wouldn't call it the late stages. Both Jon and Dave have had a huge influence on the design of Fallen Enchantress. Dave Stern is a professional fantasy author and has worked in the world of Elemental before (he wrote the Hiergamenon, the lorebook that came with the collector's edition of the game). So he was very familiar with the history. In Fallen Enchantress we wanted to delve into some new territory, really looking into the world itself, and some massive unique creatures that are within it. He helped merge the game ideas with the lore, and filled out creative details from the diplomacy conversations, to monster history, to faction and leader descriptions.
Jon Shafer is a world class game designer and we are very lucky to have him on the project. He reads and offers feedback on all the design aspects of the game and has been instrumental at finding elegant ways to break complex systems down into simple mechanics. When you are deep into design it's hard to see the forest for the trees. Jon's the guy that suggests a change that is so fundamental that it makes you want to kick yourself for not seeing it before.
Social gaming has become big over the last year, any chance we’ll see an Elemental Facebook or web based game?
Platform isn't as important as the type of games we want to make. I suppose anything is possible if it is a good medium for the game we want to make or the story we want to tell.
There are a lot of strategy games coming out in the next year, how do you think Fallen Enchantress competes with them? Are you at all worried about facing that much competition?
We appeal to hardcore gamers. These aren't the type of players that will buy one game a year. We want more great strategy games, especially on the PC. We want more people playing and thinking about strategy games, even if they aren't ours. It isn't about how many strategy gamers are playing our games, it's about how many gamers are playing strategy games.
Plus we really like playing strategy games, no matter who makes them.
Is there anything we missed that you think is important?
It's fun to talk about game mechanics. But I have been really impressed with the work the art team has done to make the game look great. The UI has been rebuilt from scratch, the monsters look amazing (including some of the old monsters that are getting facelifts), and paintings are beautiful. One of the best parts of my job is that I get to imagine a fantasy world and amazing artists like those at Stardock bring it to life.
I can’t wrap this interview with asking about when and if we’ll see Galactic Civilization III? Can you at least confirm that it’s on the development radar at Stardock?
Right now we are just concentrating on making Fallen Enchantress as good as possible.
We'd like to thank Derek for answering our questions as well as Stephanie for helping to coordinate the interview.
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