INTRODUCTION: I am Nick Nieuwoudt, CEO and founder of Taitale Studios, which is currently building a seamless persistent AAA MMORTS called Novus AEterno. We are on Kickstarter for the final funding [which we achieved in 100 hours] and we are now heading towards our stretch goals. We plan to be on Steam in 4 months from completion of Kickstarter.
The following quotes have been used to describe Novus AEterno: “brings new meaning to the word massive”; ”so big, in fact, that it almost defies description” and simply “largest strategy game ever built.”
MMORPG.com: Novus AEterno has been described as an “EVE Online / StarCraft love child”. Do you think this is accurate? How so?
Nick Nieuwoudt: Eve Online captured the essence of the true ‘vastness’ of space. StarCraft as an multiplayer RTS game, achieved an intellectually challenging strategy game which endured for years.
Novus expands the RTS genre to achieve both the vastness of space, as in Eve Online, with the strategy and competitive gameplay of StarCraft.
Novus AEterno has built a HUGE space go-anywhere-do-anything ‘sandbox’ on what is likely the largest strategy scale to date; and at the same time, offers the micro-management elements you have come to expect in an intellectually challenging RTS game such as StarCraft, Sins of a Solar Empire, Dawn of War, Homeworld, etc.
MMORPG.com: Give us the thumbnail sketch of what Novus AEterno is and how it fits into the MMO landscape.
Nick Nieuwoudt: RTS games have never truly made it into the AAA MMO scale -- not like we have seen other genres accomplish. As RTS gamers ourselves, we want to create the largest, persistent RTS game ever imagined and share it with as many other RTS fans as possible. We want to pay homage to some of the first groundbreakers like Mankind and DarkSpace, as they were the first to evolve the genre to the MMO. After this group, however, the genre did not progress.
The AAA MMORTS is truly a new genre of game. RPGs and FPSs have both progressed from single player to multiplayer to MMOs. To make the MMO leap, we had to re-think the RTS genre from the ground up to be a true MMO.
The challenge is that MMO and RTS, in their natural forms, do not match up nicely in contrast to the way the MMO and RPG genres work together. Therefore, a developer has two approaches in his development philosophy to create an MMORTS. With the first approach, you can shave off elements to make the two genres work together and in the end sacrifice parts of MMO or parts of RTS or both which brought about the MOBA revolution. Or in the second approach, you can expand both the MMO and RTS genres so that they join nicely which brings to gamers a true MMORTS.
Novus AEterno is the first AAA game to use the second approach, which is why we are so unique. Novus AEterno is a ‘persistent sandbox’, which is how Taitale expanded the MMO and RTS genre to join nicely.
MMORPG.com: The game is being described as giving players an option to play completely the way they wish by utilizing Diplomatic, Economic, Military or Intelligence channels. Please explain how players can function in the world without using all channels.
Nick Nieuwoudt: The simple answer is Alliances.
To more fully explain it, the four elements of Novus AEterno work best when used together. Players who wish to play the game solely focusing on one element of the D.I.M.E philosophy will have to find way to make up for the lack of effectiveness within the other three elements.
For example, a player who solely expands economically will be an easy target for players who have an effective and powerful military. This player could always offer to supply another player with components and resources in exchange for protection.
This promotes alliances in which roles are delegated to each member. An alliance which has specific roles assigned to each player will be extremely efficient compared to an alliance in which all players do their own thing.
MMORPG.com: NA is described as not having any pre-set quests or linear plot lines for players to work through and that future lore will occur galaxy wide. Please explain progression and how lore functions as a galaxy-wide feature.
Nick Nieuwoudt: The lore for Novus AEterno, which we have already written, will only act as a backstory for the release of the game. Any and all lore after release will revolve around the interactions between players and NPC factions. These NPC factions are remnants and splinter factions of the five once great empires that ruled the universe.
These NPC factions are just like player-controlled empires. They have their own economic, diplomatic and military infrastructures. The interactions players have with these factions will be the driving element of the lore within Novus AEterno.
Players will be able to befriend NPC factions, which then will ask you for favors or “quests”. These favors will change the relationships many players have with not just other players, but also other NPC factions. Players can even band together and completely destroy a NPC faction.
These interactions between players and NPCs will be what drives the lore into different directions. Should a faction be completely destroyed, then their story will come to an end. Should a faction’s influence grow within the universe, it will be portrayed within the lore and future content.