FE: Promises, promises

Published on Saturday, November 5, 2011 By Brad Wardell In FE Sneak Peeks

For those of you new to Stardock’s games, let me say, welcome! We’re glad you’re here!

For those of you who are veterans, thanks for hanging out with us.

I want to make sure users are fully aware, because it comes up sometimes, that we have intentions/plans for many things and on the other hand we have promises/requirements/obligations.

The former means, we intend to do something but it is not a guarantee. The latter means, yes, it’ll be in there.

Let’s start for the promises for FE:

  1. It won’t be released until we are happy with it.  Now, truth be told, I was pretty happy with WOM.  I was, as many may recall, working 100+ hours per week for the entire Summer before it was released.  With Derek in charge, I can go back to my traditional Executive producer role (ala GalCiv and Sins of a Solar Empire and to a lesser extent Demigod) which usually involves me pooping on the game for months prior to release and telling everyone internally how terrible the game is. I much prefer to distribute the insults rather than aborb them.
  2. The campaign will be good and engaging.
  3. The randomly generated maps will include randomly generated continents. WOM had randomly generated maps on pre-built continents.
  4. There will be a lot of spells. I don’t know what the final count will be. But they will be interesting, important, and exciting.
  5. There will be a lot of soul to the game. The players will talk to you in interesting ways. There is a lot of backstory for pretty much everything.
  6. There will be a lot more quests. There’s a ton of quests in FE. And unlike in WOM, where the quests were virtually all written by me in the middle of the night in the final several weeks (don’t ask me why I had to write these…) these quests are a collaboration between fantasy author David Stern and Toby (associate producer).
  7. Tactical Battles are totally different than WOM. It’s all initiative based now. No more “rounds”. Eliminates a ton of potential cheese and makes magic and tactics matter more.
  8. EVERYONE who bought Elemental: War of Magic in 2010 will get FE for free. Automatically.

Now, let’s talk about intentions for FE:

  1. We intend for there to be spells with a casting time that can then be countered.  This is almost certain to make it in but we have not made it a “Requirement”.  It’ll be based on how “fun” they play out.
  2. We intend there to be multiplayer of up to 16 people. However, it is not a requirement. If it would result in a lot of resources being siphoned off from the single player experience or would, on its own, result in delaying the release, it’ll get cut.
  3. We intend to have vastly more modding abilities in than any game we’ve ever made.  Actually, this is more close to a promise because the game is almost exclusively XML driven because of the project management system (coders don’t implement game design, the producers do and it’s XML driven via spread sheets and such). The AI makes heavy use of this. 
  4. We intend to have a almost completely new sound track. This isn’t a promise. We’ve gotten a lot of new music and effects in and have put them in but we wouldn’t delay the game over making sure all the music and sound is new.
  5. We intend to have Fallen Enchantress at retail. But because we won’t commit to a release date, we can’t promise this.
  6. We intend to have significant faction differentiation. In War of Magic, the Empires all shared the same tech tree and the Kingdoms had their own. Other than that, each faction only had minor differences.  Now, all of the factions are humanoids (we don’t have a spider race, for instance) but we intend for each faction to look and play very differently. How successful we are on this will be in the eye of the beholder.  But we will be making a best effort here to make them as different as we can as budget allows (i.e. we’re not willing to push the date back so that we can have an insectoid race.