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Interview with Perpetual

Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising Interviews - By Dana Massey on April 17, 2006

Interview with Perpetual

Design Director Stieg Hedlund and President Chris McKibbin answer questions on the game, SOE and more.

The Design Director of Gods & Heroes Stieg Hedlund, of Diablo II fame, and Perpetual Entertainment Co-Founder and President Chris McKibbin team up to answer our questions about this game. They talk about the core features, what - if anything - has changed during the blackout and their relationship with SOE and what it means.

MMORPG.com:With the announcement of your deal with Platform Publishing, many of our readers were instantly concerned. What role will Platform/SOE play in the development and maintenance (post-launch) of Gods & Heroes?
Chris McKibbin:

We are very excited about working with SOE Platform Publishing. As to how the relationship works, Perpetual is funding, producing, developing and operating G&H. This means that we handle everything internally, from running the live team, hosting the game servers, account services/billing, to technical support, and working with the community. SOE Platform Publishing handles retail marketing, PR, manufacturing, and our North American distribution. They bring an incredibly experienced marketing, PR, manufacturing, and distribution team to the table that helps to put more copies of the game on the shelves in more locations around North America.

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MMORPG.com:You tout unique combat that lets players chain moves together and have finishers. Can you explain this in a bit more detail? What exactly sets Gods & Heroes apart in this regard?
Stieg Hedlund:

Our combat system is very interactive compared to those in other MMOs: swords and fists actually contact the creatures they are damaging. And that's just the beginning; we have some very complex interactions between characters such as my favorite: "the ladder". In the ladder you jump on your opponent's back and apply a leg scissors and a sleeper hold until he loses consciousness. It’s a move from historical pankration, an ancient art combining boxing and wrestling, that we’ve brought back to life in our game, but more importantly some very intricate interaction for an MMO.

Chris McKibbin:

Additionally, all of the enemies and great Myth Creatures have special moves they can do on you. It is a good thing you are aligned with the gods… it is the only way to survive some of these!

MMORPG.com:Questing in Gods & Heroes will follow which style? Instancing, open quests, etc?
Stieg Hedlund:

We have a very robust quest system that allows for many styles. Quest goals can be in the public world or can send player and their groups to private instances. Quests in Gods & Heroes are very story-driven and there are distinct paths that differ for each class and deity alignment. I think people will be very pleased with the results.

MMORPG.com:In squad combat, it has been mentioned that you can hire or earn new members, some of whom are non-human. How do players go about finding new and interesting squad members?
Stieg Hedlund:

Early in the game minions-for-hire will be pretty easily found in the larger cities. Additionally, in exploring the gameworld there will be minions that you will meet and have the opportunity to recruit, and further there will be various rare minions that you can only get through performing quests.

MMORPG.com:The player’s personal camps interest me. Can you explain how the camp system works?
Stieg Hedlund:

The camp is an instance that each player gets. There are various places throughout the world where you can set up, and visit your camp, so it essentially goes with you. Inside the camp are all of your minions and going to camp is one of the ways to select the squad that you will bring with you to adventure in the world. Your camp will also include some NPCs that will help you do things like get new equipment for your minions.

MMORPG.com:Visually, combat looks quite interactive. Do you fear the sheer volume of required animations will limit the number of creatures players can face?
Stieg Hedlund:

We have a good balance of moves that are specific as to what kinds of creatures can be the target and ones that are more generic in terms of use, but still have a lot of visual impact. I think most people won’t be able to tell which are which.

That being the case, we’ve really packed in a lot of different types of human and beast enemies, but also plenty of creatures from myth. We certainly have all of the better known ones as well as some pretty obscure ones.

MMORPG.com:As a historical game, how are you balancing fun vs. realism?
Stieg Hedlund:

Fun pretty much always wins, although there’s plenty of fodder in both history and myth for things that are both “realistic” (hard to apply that term to myth) and quite fun and interesting. We tend to select and focus on those elements.

We know we’re making entertainment and not a History Channel special, but when we know we need to have food items, there’s no reason not to look at Apicius’ 4th century Roman cookbook and have delicacies like glires (stuffed dormice) for people to eat. HBO’s Rome series was very inspiring for us because they had historical advisors help them incorporate authentic details in a way that was extremely entertaining.

MMORPG.com:Obviously, since things went quiet last year, you guys have had a lot of development time. What were your major goals and challenges you faced during the media blackout? Were there any major direction changes to the game?
Stieg Hedlund:

I don’t think there were any major changes in direction. We really were just working hard to get to the level of quality that really paid off on the vision of the game. We might have shifted focus on a couple of minor things, but it’s all really in service of making the best game we can.

MMORPG.com:Your press release mentions PvP. What forms will it take in the game?
Stieg Hedlund:

We plan on having a wide variety of PVP experiences available from dueling to PVP shards. Certainly in the future the plan is to have Realm vs. Realm (RvR) with Rome fighting against Carthage, etc.

MMORPG.com:Finally, can you give us a rough timeline of the remaining targets in Gods & Heroes development, up until launch?
Chris McKibbin:

We will be finishing primary development over the next few months and moving into ever larger beta testing leading to a launch in the fall.

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