Thanks to an over-crowded E3 schedule, The Last Templar was a game that I only got to spend about 10 minutes with this year. Those were 10 pretty good minutes as I got a small taste of what the game was going to offer. Here's the interview I was able to secure to get more info on the game.
Could you please introduce yourself and talk about your role on the project?
Hi, my name is Nikola Ikonomov and I'm working as a game designer on The First Templar. I previously took part in the development of Tropico 3 and its expansion pack Absolute Power.
How did you go from working on Tropico 3 to The First Templar? That sounds like a pretty big shift in gameplay, content and tone.
You're absolutely right, that's a big step for us. Haemimont Games is primarily known for its strategy titles. Now we're venturing into whole new territory, a terra incognita with The First Templar. It's a dark and gritty world we aimed to create, in stark contrast to the lighthearted care-free tone of Tropico. Of course, we're not abandoning our landmark strategy titles, but with this game we hope to expand our repertoire and prove ourselves in a completely different genre.
What is the “elevator pitch” for the First Templar? Can you talk about the inspirations behind the game and what you think is unique about the game?
In the final days of a once glorious Order, a last clash between two civilizations will determine the faith of Europe and the East for centuries to come. Amidst destruction, suffering, superstitions and intolerance, a knight and a rogue lady will try to find the Holy Grail to restore order out of chaos.
Talking about inspiration, we considered everything that is cool in pop culture. We drew ideas from widely different sources and mediums to create something unique: comic books, art, historical fiction novels, and cult movies. Because I'm a movie freak, I'll tell you some of the flicks that inspired our team. First on the list is, not surprisingly, Indiana Jones, because it defines adventure like no other; we are huge fans of the franchise and even found the strength to forgive the shortcomings of the fourth part. Ridley Scott, a visual genius, gave us ideas for the representation of the times of the Crusades with his Kingdom of Heaven and the more recent Robin Hood.
The game features two main characters, could you give us some detail on the two characters and their motivations? Are these characters based on any particular person (either fictional or real)?
We have two main characters, although a third will be playable in some levels. The first character is a Knight Templar whose mission is to find the Holy Grail. On his quest he rescues a noble lady, who is accused of heresy. She's not a damsel in distress and can hold her own in a cruel man's world. Both of them are as different as night and day. It's not just their fighting style and choice of weapons, but also their characters. The lady is very witty; her "big mouth" and her knack for sarcasm often infuriate the more straightforward and serious Templar. This unlikely couple will collide with some powerful enemies in the face of the emerging Dominican Inquisition and the avaricious French king. The end of the 13th century is a very exciting time period, rich on drama and world defining events. For example we recreated the epic battle for the city of Acre, which marks the final struggle between Muslims and Christians for control over the Holy Land.
Co-op seems like a large portion of the game, how is it woven into the game play? Will players be able to drop-in and drop out of the game? Is split-screen co-op going to be supported? Is the co-op only for combat or will we need to work with a partner to solve puzzles?
The First Templar is a true co-op game, where the second character is not just a fighting companion, but essential for solving the puzzles and progressing further into the game. When you play solo, you can control either of the characters and freely switch between them at any given time. When you switch, the other hero will be controlled by the AI. A second player can always join the action and take the place of the AI controlled hero. Split screen mode will be available only for the Xbox 360 version. We also included Xbox Live and Internet support.
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