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Skip Navigation LinksPlayHard > In English > Lionheart: Kings' Crusade. Interview with Orsolya Tóth, NeocoreGames

Название: Kings' Crusade. Львиное Сердце
Зарубежное название: Lionheart: Kings' Crusade
Разработчик: Neocore Games
Зарубежный издатель: Paradox Interactive
Издатель в России:
Официальный сайт игры: перейти
Официальный русский сайт игры: перейти
Системные требования:
P4-3.2, 1 GB RAM, 256 MB 3D Card
Жанр: Strategy, RTS
Игра вышла: 08.10.2010

What would happen in the Third Crusade if Richard the Lionheart managed to capture Jerusalem? What could Saladin do to prevent this? How would the other members of the famous Kings' Crusade struggle for the new balance of powers in the region? What would you do at that time if you took command over the Saracen forces or Crusader Knights? It looks like that soon enough you will be able to find all the answers to the aforementioned questions.

NeocoreGames firstly proved its ground with Crusaders: Thy Kingdom Come (2008), where during the First Crusade (1096-1099) you could lead the Crusaders towards the fierce battle of Jerusalem developing your relationships with the other catholic factions and getting unique bonus by completing their quests. We were very impressed last year with the second project released by Neocore and named King Arthur: The Role-playing Wargame. It would be worth saying, that we haven't seen such an exciting Strategy title built in a Fantasy universe for years!

Orsolya Tóth Surely, we quickly got interested in the new Neocore's game, that is currently in production, and will cover the events of the Third Crusade (1189-1192). We contacted Orsolya Tóth, who is in charge of all the press communications at NeocoreGames, to let you know all the latest intriguing details about Lionheart: Kings' Crusade, which will be released this Fall.

- Please, introduce yourself. What's your role in the project?

Hi, I'm Orsolya Tóth, responsible for public relations at NeocoreGames, and I do some Forum moderating as well. Regarding Lionheart: Kings' Crusade, I'm responsible for press materials (Interviews, Game Info Texts, etc.), and I browse the Lionheart's Forum and answer questions that may crop up.

- How has your career in the game industry developed?

- I'm quite new in the game industry, but my love for computer games started very early, I'd say I was about 7 when I became addicted [smiles]. Before I actually started working at NeocoreGames I already knew the guys here, and did some Beta testing on Crusaders: Thy Kingdom Come. I joined the team when King Arthur: The Role-playing Wargame was under development.

- Share some recent news about NeocoreGames with us.

- Our main title now is Lionheart: Kings' Crusade, of course, but we're still working on King Arthur: The Role-playing Wargame as well. At the moment we are right before the release of two King Arthur expansions, and we have many ideas for future development too.

- When was the concept of Lionheart: Kings' Crusade born?

We're working on Lionheart: Kings' Crusade since Q1 2009, and it will be ready soon [smiles].

- What can you say about the in-game story, its campaigns and their timeline?

- The story of the game is set in the era of the Third Crusade (1189-1192), also known as the Kings' Crusade, when the crowned heads of Europe launched a new military campaign to recapture the Holy Land from the Saracens. In reality Richard the Lionheart never reached Jerusalem, but this game, however, gives more by establishing the chance of making the dreams of the past come true.

In Lionheart: Kings' Crusade you can choose between two campaigns: take the Crusaders' side where you lead Richard the Lionheart as the main hero in a Crusade against the Saracen forces, or conquer back the Holy Land and the Middle East with a magnificent army led by Saladin himself.

- Will a player be able to do anything freely in the game world or there will be a sequence of obligatory tasks?

Lionheart: Kings' Crusade is basically a mission-to-mission RTS, and the purpose of this hugely expanded, alternative Third Crusade is to occupy the three most important cities of the Middle East (Jerusalem, Baghdad and Konya) and then expand your authority over the entire region.

On the campaign map you'll be able to manage your army between the missions, make political and economical decisions and you'll be able to choose the direction and areas where you want to expand. Each decision affects the gameplay, of course, and will provide you with different rewards, such as resources, heroes, new unit types, and many more.

- What historical figures, factions and quests will be featured in the project?

The King Arthur-like quests will have a different appearance here in Lionheart: Kings' Crusade. As I said before, you will make political and economical decisions and other tactical actions during the whole game, and these will grant the story here. The leaders of the opposing forces will be Richard the Lionheart and Saladin. Naturally, they will appear from the very beginning of the game among many others, of course. On the Crusader side there are four Factions you'll have to deal with during the whole campaign: The Holy Roman Empire, The French Court, The Templars and The Papal Court.

- Will the game feature any diplomatic options to be able to build relationships with neighbours?

In the Crusaders' campaign you'll have to deal with the different Factions constantly, and you'll have to be a true diplomat to do that successfully, since they always have different goals and ideas. This will grant you a very living political environment during the entire game. On the Saracen side you'll be able to deal with the fellow Saracens behind enemy lines and arrange a revolt, poison water or food, or assassinate someone of importance, and perform a lot more actions.

- If you use any ideas of Crusaders: Thy Kingdom Come in Lionheart: Kings' Crusade, could you tell us about the new improvements, revisions and additions that will be presented?

Generally Lionheart: Kings' Crusade is bigger and better at every point, everything is improved and there are many new features. First of all, in this game players can choose between two campaigns instead of one, we have a beautiful campaign map as well, and you can choose the way of your expansion, so the plot isn't linear. The first part of Lionheart: Kings' Crusade reflects real historical events, but after that, you'll have the chance to change history and conquer the Holy Land and the Middle East. In this game you'll have deeper and much more detailed battles with brand new features, like battle engineering and episodic missions. The four Factions are living participants of the game who will give you – among others – many ideas, new units or heroes to help you win your battles.

- What actions will be available for a gamer on the global strategic map in Lionheart: Kings' Crusade?

There are a lot of things you will do on the global map. Between the missions you will take care of several issues. For example, you're going to fill up your ranks, recruit, merge, upgrade units, provide them and your heroes with different skills and abilities as they gain more and more experience in battles. Armour and Weaponry can be upgraded as well, and units can gain a Captain or retainers like Priests/Imams and Healers.

Most of the units and heroes will stay with you till the end of the campaign so you'll get to know each of them, their abilities and specializations. Losing a whole unit can be a serious blow because that means wasting a lot of time, money and experience you invested before. So they'll get very close to you as the game unfolds, and you just really don't want to lose them. However, you don't need to use the "load spell" – you'll have the chance of saving them in the battles.

Besides managing your army you still have a lot to do. You'll have to make political and economical decisions and perform different tactical actions. These features appear as text-based mini-events and your decisions will have huge effect on further gameplay, of course.

In the Crusaders' campaign you’ll have to deal with the four Factions as well. From time to time they will suggest different strategies and give different kinds of support. Sneak into the enemy camp during the night, involve some fellow Saracen forces against them or simply face them by daylight with many knights on an open field, it's up to the player to decide. You'll have to create the best possible army assembly depending on which strategy plan you chose, because the different strategies will require different battle tactics and, thus, very different unit types. Sometimes you'll also be able to do some special actions before battles, e.g. spying.

Dealing with the Factions is not always an easy task. Increasing your Fame at one of them will grant you different benefits, but supporting one Faction's idea can cause decreasing Fame by the others, so you should always be careful whom you listen to. On the Saracen side you will do Research in order to get new unit types, new heroes and a lot of other benefits.

- How does the economics model work in the game?

The gameplay will be very different in the two campaigns we have in this game. Among many other differences, the two sides don't share the same resources either. On the Crusaders' side the resources will be: Gold, Fame and Faith, and on the Saracen side: Gold, Faith and Upgrade Points. These resources can be gained as a reward after missions or due to a decision you make in the game.

There are also some secondary resources that will help you to accomplish your mission: these are the numerous available unit types and the available heroes, captains and retainers, as their number is limited in the game.

- What main changes have you prepared for the real-time tactical battles?

There are many of them, but the most interesting are the Episodic Missions, and Battle Engineering, which is a very cool feature I think. Some battles will be made up of more missions – this is what we call Episodic Missions – what means that battles can be broken up into episodes, which make battles more realistic, where time passes and the enemy forces regroup after a failed attack and you must deal with a new wave of threat. You can also regroup the forces during the episodes of the same battle mission, and here comes the battle engineering part, you’ll be able to cut down forests, deploy low walls or iron nails against the enemy cavalry, catapults for a siege or oil splashes to set on fire when the enemy army passes by. It's great fun, believe me [smiles]! (We surely do and can't wait to try it out in action! - ed. note).

- How smart will the enemy AI be? Will it offer a wide variety of different tactics just like in King Arthur?

Definitely, the AI will use the terrain and weather conditions wisely, all the unit abilities, and special skills will be used to defeat the enemy – that would be you – so all in all, the AI will be very smart, but this time the "Easy" difficulty will be really easy indeed, so players who are new to the world of the real-time strategies can also take their tries.

An important tactical opportunity can be that in some cases Neutral Units appear on the battlefield. They protect a given location or area on the battlemap and attack everyone who passes by. They are also controlled by the AI as a "second enemy", but you can use them against your foes. If you're smart enough, you can make them fight against each other, since they will attack either you or your opponent if you get too close.

- Sieges played an important role at the time of Crusades. What kinds of settlement fortifications will be available? What opportunities will the game offer to those who siege or have to fight the invaders off?

There are various types of siege equipment in the game, like Catapults or Trebuchets. Furthermore, walls and guard posts can be demolished, and according to our plans the falling stones will bury the fighters under them. So it will provide a very real siege feeling, I promise [smiles]!

- What is the name of the graphics engine you are working with? How will it be modified in comparison with the looks of your previous games?

We're working with the Coretech engine, which was made by our company, and with each game we improve it a lot. We are constantly modifying it to fit perfectly for the actual game and, thus, we're trying to deliver our gamers a better and even more beautiful game.

- Who is composing the soundtrack of the game? What will the music be like? Here you can also speak about the creation of sound effects for the game.

- When it comes to in-game music and sound effects, our aim is to catch the spirit of the game and the era, and to give the gamers the feeling that they're really part of the story. We have a great, extremely talented composer in the team, and we have very good relationship with professional sound studios, music bands and opera singers. The music and sound effects in our games are the result of their mutual efforts.

- Tell us about the in-game multiplayer.

You can fight multiplayer battles against one another in either a Symmetrical (equal conditions with "Capture the Flag" game mode) or an Asymmetrical (Defender/Attacker setup) multiplayer modes. You can set up the basic settings like the available sources, the battlefield, the weather, and the Victory conditions as well.

- How do you interact with your publisher represented by Paradox Interactive?

We have daily contact, so we can talk things through immediately when some new ideas come up. They are Calm Professionals and Creative Minds at the same time, so they know the Strategy genre as no one else.

- When will Lionheart: Kings' Crusade be released?

The release is set to Fall in 2010.

- What are your favorite video games?

Our games, of course [smiles]. However, I also love such games' series as Grand Theft Auto (1997-2009), Heroes of Might and Magic (1995-2007) and The Sims (2000-2009) as well. I played a lot of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006) and Dragon Age: Origins (2009) too. Well, I like many games, and in each genre I have my favourites.

- Have you ever been to Russia?

No, not yet, but I would love to!

- Name 3 things you associate with Russia.

- Ok, I would say Vodka in the first place, then the Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837), and the Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

- What would you wish to the Russian gamers?

I wish you all many hours of fun with our games. Hope you'll like our new title as well! It's very good to see that Russian and Hungarian gamers love and prefer the same genres and have a similar approach to video games.

- Thank you very much for your time, Orsi!

- Thanks for asking about the development of Lionheart: Kings' Crusade and about NeocoreGames itself. I hope my answers will be interesting for your readers.

- Of course, since your great extensive answers excite more and more about the upcoming game - Lionheart: Kings' Crusade!

We are also grateful to Shams Jorjani, Director of Communications at Paradox Interactive, for making this Interview possible.

06.05.2010 11:08, Unicorn


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