Lionheart Q&A with NeoCore Games

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Paradox Interactive published a Q & A with the Lionheart King’s Crusade developer, Neocore games. I’ve pulled in some of it and linked to the rest.

Lionheart: Kings’ Crusade is created by Neocore Games, the developers of King Arthur: The Role-PlayingWargame  and Crusaders: Thy Kingdom Come. The game invites players to rewrite history through controlling and upgrading leaders and their armies, guiding various historical factions through political events and unlocking new content in a feature-rich campaign set to take on the strategy genre by force.

Q1: What are the main differences between King Arthur and Lionheart?
A: King Arthur and Lionheart are totally different games, so it would be hard to explain all the distinctions. It’s easier to define what Lionheart: Kings’ Crusade is to differentiate the two.  Basically, Lionheart: Kings’ Crusade is a mission-to-mission RTS with RPG elements, like managing your heroes and units (for example, you can even give each unit different kinds of equipment).
Unlike the plot-driven, but mostly free saga of King Arthur, Lionheart features two playable campaigns, the Crusader or the Saracens. Players take the role of Richard Lionheart or Saladin, both present in the battles where they also gain experience and grow more powerful. Lionheart: Kings’ Crusade includes new features such as episodic missions, an individual battle morale system, Factions in the Crusader campaign with related political events, new resources and much more.
In this game players manage their army from the beginning until the end of the campaign, so there’s more stress on unit commanding, unit- and army-level tactics, strategic planning before the battles and military engineering. Unlike King Arthur, Lionheart: Kings’ Crusade is not a fantasy game. It was our aim to be a lot more realistic by creating an alternative reality and making the dreams of the past come true. There won’t be any magic or spells in this game; we put more stress on the pure tactical challenges this time.
 
Q2: There have been references made between your games and the Total War series, what do you think about that?
A: We are obviously very flattered by the comparison. The Total War games are innovative and true strategy games.  The series received well-earned critical and popular approval; to have some things in common with such games can’t be a disadvantage.
When we started to develop computer games we had an idea of an RPG-strategy mixture where battles are more similar to the ones already seen in the Total War series and differ from other traditional RTS games (e.g. StarCraft).  We wanted to create games where you controlled the soldiers individually – that and the 3D campaign map for the management part might be the reason for the comparisons with Total War. But those games wanted to retell history and our aim, quite on the contrary, was to build a memorable world of legends and mythology (as we did in King Arthur). And now, with Lionheart: Kings’ Crusade we wanted to give the players the opportunity to rewrite the past. In this game, you will get the chance to capture the Holy City and the Middle East and continue a new crusade that has never been thought possible.
But the setting is not the only difference, of course. There are lots of unique elements in this game that set it apart from the Total War series, like the detailed army management, the episodic missions, the military engineering or the strategic planning before the battles just to name a few – I’ll explain these later.
 
Q3: You have been developing games now for 5 years, what have you learned from previous game production that you have been able to apply in Lionheart?
A: Our aim is to create games that are appealing to our gamers, so we made some changes after receiving considerable feedback about the overpowered archers in King Arthur. To tell the truth, the core of the problem was rather a design choice than a balance issue: we intentionally planned the archers to be quite strong in the first part of the game where most armies usually have to rely on lightly armoured units. But as soon as we realized that the gamers had other thoughts on the matter, we implemented the changes in Lionheart.
We also changed our attitude regarding difficulty settings. When on the Easy difficulty level you’ll be able to win the battles even if you don’t spare too much time for tactical actions. But playing on the Very Hard difficulty level demands you to really take advantage of your tactical skills. We also learned to balance the management portion: preventing players from getting into dead-ends in the campaign and providing them goals in which to spend their money on.
 
Q4: What made you choose this particular topic and theme (Lionheart)?
A: We love to explore legendary times in history – the stories about knights and crusades.  We also love toying with the ideas of alternative realities where things could have happened quite differently – like Richard Lionheart taking the Holy City and the entire Middle East.  And of course fans of the Saracen side can also conquer those lands. We like changing history, performing heroic deeds in our games and this theme seemed to be a good choice with such great heroes of the era as Richard Lionheart or Saladin.
In addition, all our concept art, modelling, world building and gameplay ideas suit perfectly to the medieval setting.
 
To read the rest of the Q&A head to Lionheart’s site.
In : PC

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