What kind of challenges does creating a co-op game create? Could you talk about how you designed the game to include support for two players?
From the very beginning of the project The First Templar was designed as a cooperative action adventure. It was our whole starting concept - the co-op gameplay as well as the Templar/Grail theme. We've built everything around that core.
I think the biggest challenge was to work on an adequate AI for the second character in single player mode and adding meaningful challenges and puzzles that require team work.
Can you talk about how combat is handled in the game? Is this a strictly swords and fists thing or will there bit ranged weapons as well?
Our heroes will be primarily engaged in melee combat, although one of them has a ranged attack. The enemies on the other hand will use all kinds of weapons. We have scimitar wielding Saracens, heavy armored knights, cunning spearmen, nimble archers and crossbowmen, strong halberdiers and enemies armed with the exotic katar knives. If you watch the trailer there is even one very big monstrous baddie, which will give you lots of headaches.
Are there different weapons that you’ll accumulate during the game or do you just get better at using the weapons (or both)? Could you talk about the RPG elements of the game and how they impact your game?
We experimented with the idea of different weapons which you can collect from fallen enemies and could be used temporarily, but it didn't work out for us. The main characters will use their own killing tools and can get better at using them. We created an RPG inspired character development that is unique for both characters. There are around 60 skills for each hero that you can develop by defeating enemies, completing bonus objectives and exploring the game world. Some of these skills give you passive buffs like faster regeneration, more health and "zeal", while other will unlock powerful special moves and combos, which are actually pretty easy to memorize and perform. We also included different sets of costumes and weapons for the main characters, which are pretty cool. These sets will be assembled from different pieces found in the levels.
Can you talk about the “Zeal” system that’s in the game? How do you accumulate it and how is it used?
You mainly accumulate zeal by hacking and slashing enemies - the more you fight, the faster you'll replenish it. When a zeal orb is full you can perform powerful special attacks and moves. In the later levels, your hero will have many skills that will help him regain "zeal" much faster, even when not fighting.
A lot of game critics and gamers talk about the length of a game. Is that something you keep in mind when you design a game (my game must take at least 10 hrs to complete) or do you tell your story and it is what it is (or something in between)?
When we start to create a game, we rarely think in those terms. Our goal is primarily to deliver good solid fun to the players and when we achieve that the length becomes secondary. Still, there are some unwritten standards for the different genres and I think our game will fit in quite nicely in those for action-adventures.
What environments will be exploring in The First Templar? Is this strictly medieval forests and countryside or will there be more to it? Is there one environment that you’re most proud of?
I'm particularly proud that we'd managed to create a great diversity with our environments. The First Templar is an adventure that, like Indiana Jones, will take you on an epic journey through Europe and the East (the Holy Land). Most of the locations are connected with the history and the mythos of the Knights Templar. The feeling and the atmosphere is different when you venture through dark forests, cold medieval castles, towns and ports and then find yourself in the midst of lavish oriental cities, the eerie beauty of burning desert sands, forgotten temples and the horrors of war torn battlefields.
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