Interviews

Warhammer: Mark of Chaos, part two

Multiplayer, strategy and tactics, development hurdles and more discussed as our interview concludes

Yesterday we brought you part one of our Warhammer: Mark of Chaos interview, which found us speaking to the game's lead producer Chris Wren about the forthcoming PC real-time strategy game. Today we're hitting you with the second and concluding part of our interview with Chris. If you missed part one, you can catch up here. Otherwise, read on...

It's mentioned that you've 'de-emphasised' the tedious aspects of base and resource management. Why? Plus, do bases and resources still exist in the game and, if so, how have you handled them?

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Chris Wren: The decision wasn't made because we didn't enjoy these aspect of previous RTS games, but rather because we needed to make room for all of the additional things we wanted to do on the battlefield. The player only has so much attention span, no matter how much coffee you drink, so to accommodate all of the new things we wanted to do in-battle we had to make some of the resource and base management a bit less time consuming.

We have several types of buildings in the game which can be captured or destroyed depending on your tactics. Captured buildings will sometimes hold a garrison of troops giving them a defensive and range bonus, captured buildings can offer a one-time resource gain, like finding a treasure chest, and some buildings will generate resources over time, like farms and mills. In multiplayer capturing and holding buildings can be very important to afford new reinforcements or open up the possibility for new types of reinforcements. In this sense it has some traditional mechanics, but your role is never to construct a building, but it might be to capture one.

How, precisely, does environment impact battles and strategy?

Chris Wren: The environment effects are subtle in the game, but very 'impactful' to gameplay. For example, a snowy environment might give Chaos an advantage because they are from the cold north and they might kill a little more effectively than their opponents there.

Different types of terrain will affect movement speed in many ways. Roads, for example, are great for moving artillery, whereas hills and fields are not. Units will move slower uphill versus downhill, and they will have range bonuses and melee advantages for being on higher ground. We have weather effects in the game, and some of these will have a material impact - rain for example, will inhibit some of the range effectiveness of the Empire units, cannons may take longer to fire etc., but mostly this is to make the levels look cool.

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You're incorporating some of the hobby side of Warhammer table-top by allowing players to customise armies. Can you tell us more about this feature, and are there any other parts of the game that similarly incorporate the hobby side?

Chris Wren: The customisation features are really important to the multiplayer side of the game. We want players making all sorts of banners and armies and maps for the game and we've given them the tools to do just that. Our unit customisation tool allows them to choose every aspect of each unit
in their army, from the hairstyle to the colour of their armour, to the insignia on their shields.

These customisations are saveable every which way and can be traded amongst players as well as applied to any other army you might have. We are releasing a very powerful tool at launch which will let players create their own maps and scenarios for multiplayer and single-player fun. We feel this is very much in keeping with the hobby whereby players craft and customize their own units as well as their own battlefields.

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