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Hunted: The Demon’s Forge. Interview with Brian Fargo

01 Апреля 2011

Hello again, Brian. Recently we had been talking about your career, our readers have found out a lot about such a great person as Brian Fargo. Now it’s the very time to talk about your new game – Hunted: The Demon’s Forge.

In the 1990s on the consoles (NES and others) the cooperative mode was an integral part of the most number of games, but unfortunately in the 2000s we see this mode less and less in various games. Then came the era of multiplayer: Quake, Half-Life, Counter-Strike changed the idea of the games. Nevertheless, the last years we can notice a comparatively new trend, the cooperative mode is again growing in its popularity.  Many actions are created with a focus exactly on this mode, Hunted: The Demon’s Forge is not an exception. Why did you decide to focus on the co-op mode in your game? And of course it would be great to hear your own opinion – why has the popularity of this mode grown recently? Why do you personally like it?

One reason why there are so few co-op games is because they are difficult to make. In order for a co-op game to feature two characters that each have different abilities you end up balancing for 3 different scenarios. The game has to be fun if you play the melee guy with the AI controlling the ranged, you have to balance for playing the ranged while the AI plays melee and you have to balance the experience of two real humans playing together. It also gets further complicated in terms of trying to tell a narrative and determining when cut scenes can happen. I personally like it because nothing is more fun than sitting down and playing a game together as you march towards a common goal. All of my Dungeons and Dragons experiences always focused on that.

Hunted: The Demon’s Forge. Interview with Brian Fargo

Thus, there will be two main characters in the Hunted: The Demon’s Forge: E’Lara and Caddoc. Tell us about them please, describe their story, characters and please tell some interesting facts about them.

Caddoc, as you can see, is an enormously strong warrior who has yet to meet his match in melee combat. His ego caused him to make a mistake in his youth that resulted in someone very close to him dying and his banishment from his people. His early experiences have made Caddoc more cautious and unwilling to make friends or stay in one place too long. 

Caddoc’s found a perfect companion in E’lara. She is bloodthirsty and somewhat alien, so there concerns that Caddoc has around other humans are don’t apply to her. In combat, E’lara is also a great battle partner for Caddoc, as her ranged skills and recklessness complement his strength and caution. An expert marksman and one of the few elves left in the world, E’lara lives to fight.  Her people were slaughtered by the Minotaur when she was young and E’lara is one of the only ones who survived the massacre. 

Caddoc and E’lara are not interested in saving the world. They just want to make some money, have some fun, and stay in just enough trouble to keep life interesting.

Hunted: The Demon’s Forge. Interview with Brian Fargo

How will the cooperative work of both characters be realized, how will one player be able to help another one?

Hunted was designed from the ground up to be a deep cooperative experience. Everything from solving puzzles, magic, skills, combat, traps and exploration has been crafted with that in mind. Our magic abilities have been really well received each time we show the game. It’s something players get right away. It’s great watching people figure out new ways to combine abilities that we didn’t think of.

Moreover, your game was previewed as an RPG. What features of this genre will it have?

The debate of whether it is a shooter or RPG has been an interesting one to watch. I was very clear in the beginning that this is an action game and never to call it an RPG. Despite that we have previewers calling it an RPG no matter how we position it. It really is a very deep game that has looting, skills, exploration, item upgrading etc. so I can understand why people insist that it is an RPG. The thing is that most people who play RPG's really don't like any kind of reflex oriented action so I have tried to make it clear that if you don't like that kind of game then you might not enjoy it and certainly don't review it and compare it to an RPG. Action lovers will love the depth and I might even get some of them to consider playing RPG's but I think it is important for me to manage peoples' expectations.

Hunted: The Demon’s Forge. Interview with Brian Fargo

And how the cooperative system will work with an RPG-component? Generally, does the RPG genre need cooperative mode, where there is MMORPG with its online co-flow? How far can the cooperative mode extend the mechanics of a single role-playing game?

One of our main goals with Hunted was to craft a modern take on the old school dungeon crawl. The original dungeon crawlers and RPG’s all had their roots in table top gaming. You can’t get any more RPG or cooperative then sitting around the table with group of friends playing Dungeons and Dragons. Although Hunted isn’t an RPG the experience of those early games is something we put a lot of time into capturing. 

Nonlinearity in The Demon’s Forge as in any other role-playing games? Describe it please. Will there be different endings?

My thoughts were to put elements into this game that I myself enjoyed playing no matter what the genre so yes we have different endings and the exploration elements provide a certain non-linearity. Think of it like an hourglass in which the fatter parts are the ability to explore the tight part of the neck being the linear parts. However I am quite aware that action gamers often want to push ahead as fast as possible and exploration is not something they want to do. So for those people we have made exploration totally optional.

Hunted: The Demon’s Forge. Interview with Brian Fargo

 I remember, the Mafia 2 developers decided to remove secondary endings, finding them to be less good than the main one. Do you value a good story in games or the entertainment with a plot that isn’t worth attention? Let’s imagine what if films had several different endings? And another question – why the plots of modern games are not so interesting and deep, what is it connected with? Is it the lack of fantasy or unwillingness of publishers to risk?

I think my philosophy is one in which the journey is the reward. It is the moments along the way that define the experience and give the best memories. The ending is just another of those moments and I think if the game world offers enough choices on how a player acts morally then there should be consequences at the end. A film or book is just one linear narrative so it demands a single ending.

By the way, as far as we know Caddoc will have a shield. Will it be possible to break it during the battle? What will happen then?

Absolutely. This was something we really wanted to do early on. There is this immensely satisfying  moment when you see an opponents shield splinter into pieces. On the other hand the enemies can do the same thing to you if you aren’t careful.  It becomes this interesting dance between offence and defense. You can’t block forever and you can’t just button mash either. Finding that rhythm is a big part of our melee combat experience for both Caddoc and E’lara.

Hunted: The Demon’s Forge. Interview with Brian Fargo

What will be the E’Lara’s source of arrows? Aren’t they endless? Can we expect for various kinds of arrows?

E’lara’s arrows are not endless and she’ll have to scavenge fallen enemies and weapon caches for more. While there is only one type of arrow to find E’lara does have Weapon Magic. These magic like attacks can deliver some pretty nasty effects to enemies such as shattering shields or exploding.

Both characters are going to have magic skills, what exactly? Are there any your own beloved magic tricks?

Caddoc and E’lara have magic Spells and Weapon Magic. Both characters have access to the same Spells. Weapon Magic is specific to each hero. All of these can be upgraded in different ways with crystals you piece together in game. All of these abilities are designed to mesh well with other abilities and the characters different fighting stytles. We are still surprised at how people come up with unique uses and combinations with them. One of my personal favorites involves E’lara’s Ice Arrow and Caddoc’s Dash attack. I’ll let your readers try it out for themselves.

Hunted: The Demon’s Forge. Interview with Brian Fargo

And how will enemies be able to surprise us? Will they attack in droves or will use the shelter, etc.?

We envisioned the world of Hunted as a very dark and dangerous place. People and creatures have to be resourceful survive. We built our enemies with that in mind. The tribes of Wargar are fully capable of setting traps and ambushing our heroes. They aren’t going to stand there and accept death either. Enemies will use cover to get a better position on the player. Melee enemies not only use shields but will move them around to protect vulnerable spots if the hero finds them.

Why were the dungeons chosen as the entourage and why the setting is in the style of might and magic? What do you want to tell players that are going to play Hunted: The Demon’s Forge?

Fantasy is a favorite genre, and coop action is a dynamic that we felt had not really been developed and explored in a Dark Fantasy world. We certainly have the dark, creepy, monsters-jumping-out-of-the- corners dungeons, but we also have towns, cities, fortresses, and wilderness. We want the world of Hunted to be a place filled with a variety of experiences.  When players enter Hunted, they will experience brutal combat, and fantastic weapons and spells, but also mystery, exploration, and the chance to use brains as well as brawn; all in the framework of characters that are much stronger if they work together.

And the last question – when will the Hunted: The Demon’s Forge come out?

I believe Bethesda has chosen the first week of June this year for the game to ship in Europe.

talking Ivan Vasilenko

translate by Alexander Korshun

Русская версия (Russian version)

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