Can you introduce yourself and describe your role on the project? How long have you been in the gaming industry and what drew you to your current position?
My name is Mario Kroll. I’m the Director of Marketing and PR for cdv Software Entertainment USA. I’ve been in the industry full time since 2004, and prior to that founded and operated Wargamer.com, the leading online magazine covering military and strategy games. I was attracted to cdv because I’ve been a passionate gamer for over 20 years and working with a company that, at that time, specialized in RTS games and was headquartered in my native Germany, was a great fit for my interests and background.
Can you give us some background on the game and explain a bit about what we'll be doing in Sacred 2? How much of a connection is there with the first game and will you be able to play Sacred 2 without having played the first game?
Sacred 2: Fallen Angel is a prequel to the original Sacred. Released in 2004, that game earned PC Gamer’s “RPG of the Year” award despite strong competition in the genre, and achieved a strong cult following, with almost 2 million units sold world-wide.
The game takes a step back in history and partially explains why some of the things in the original game occurred as they did, but by being set 2000 years earlier in the story, it also freed the developers to unleash their creativity. You don’t need to be familiar with the original Sacred, but having played through it, we think you’ll find it bigger, better and simply more enjoyable than that already very good game.
The only playable character that makes a return is the Serpahim, an angelic creature that is as lethal as she is beautiful. Entrusted with safeguarding the world of Ancaria and the T-Energy that is the ultimate source of power, many of her kind have entered a self-imposed exile on an inhospitable island in Ancaria. The playable Seraphim, however , still honors her original role and is trying to restore balance to a massive world rapidly spinning out of control, with devastation, strife and terribly mutated monsters everywhere.
Another significant change, aside from the dramatically improved graphics (to the point that we’ll showcase Sacred 2: Fallen Angel against any similar title out there) is the fact that this time around the game will ship not only for the PC, but also for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
What lessons did you learn from developing the first game that you applied to developing the second game? What did you learn developing this game that you'll apply to future projects?
The team really took to heart most of the criticisms and enhancement wishes received after the original and worked very hard not only to get rid of the things that kept the initial title from being even better, but also exploited the leaps and bounds in technological advances that make it possible for Sacred 2: Fallen Angel to look, sound and play even better than the original did.
The game was developed in a specialized way, with the core team working literally years on getting the technology right, then populating the world. This allowed for features such as seamless drop-in, drop-out multi-player, zero load times when exploring the massive world that is almost twice as big as the original and its first expansion, and a host of gameplay features that weren’t possible in the original.
Ascaron also established an dedicated QA team, nearly as big as the development team, taking every possible step to ensure that despite its hundreds of hours of content, the game runs as stable as possible, scales extremely well and provides a Triple A quality experience.
Those lessons will be applied and continually improved upon for future titles.
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