Question: What is Stranger?
Stranger introduces a special type of gameplay which combines characteristic features of role-playing games with real-time and turn-based strategy games. The fights develop slowly enough to allow player to make tactic actions. All this is blended with the magic fields and asymmetric armor features.
It adds even more to the multiplayer gameplay. It really offers the player an unusual yet interesting and natural way to play. Multiplayer is very strong in Stranger.
Question: Can you tell us what the storyline behind Stranger is?
We offer a classical, epic story. It began in a conventional Earth - like fantasy world that was native to the heroes, where magic had been forbidden. One of the heroes violated the law by using magic. The guilty one could not be determined, so according to the law, all of those suspected were condemned to be banished to nowhere, which was equal to execution. After a distinctive ritual, our heroes began their exile in an unknown world. The only thing they knew for certain was that no one had ever returned from there. And only in this unknown world can they discover which one of them is the betrayer.
From this, you can comprehend the idea of the basic storyline. But the player will not always have enough time to dig into the history and relationships of the game characters. The new world is severe. It's a permanent battlefield, and the heroes have already affected the balance with just their presence. To return the heroes to their native world, the player has to find allies and defeat numerous enemies that do not like strangers. The campaign is divided into missions, and each mission can consist of several surface or underground locations. Action is held at once in all locations of the mission, and locations are switched instantly, no extra loadings needed. Characters can move from one level to another using various elevators, passages, magic portals and other means.
Question: What are the unique features of Stranger that would compel players to buy it?
In Stranger, you will for the first time meet the magic system which cannot be seen in any other game. Stranger is a large number of units, all of them having their unique attacks and magic features. Stranger is diplomacy which defines whether all clans will fight against you or they will destroy each other. Stranger is trade and craft which help you obtain equipment for your soldiers. And Stranger is an extremely interesting and captivating story.
Action in the game is not restricted with the surface shifts. For example, flying units can transport landing troops into the rear of the enemy or fly above deep gorge to pass the enemy from the flank. Units crawling on the walls are indispensable during the assaults and in the cross-country actions. Underwater monsters can catch one in the castle ditch and thus considerably complicate the assaults.
It's the player who decides on the preferable game style. Our goal is to grant the player the maximal freedom of actions. For example, it will be possible to upgrade several characters (or heroes only) and to have them fulfill all the tasks. Or gather the maximum number of mercenaries under your command and try to defeat the enemy with the army strength. You can count on the soldiers' equipment or on the units' abilities.
Conventional battles are adjusted according to this gameplay too. There are three types of strikes – pinning, cutting, and smashing. Also, all units have a non-symmetrical shield. That is, most units are protected better at the front than at the back. Attacking an enemy with different weapons from other sides may help you win the battle, even if you seem to be weaker than your opponent.
Question: How does the use of Magic shape the gameplay and storyline?
The Stranger world has a unique magic system. There are so-called magic fields there. Three base fields are red, green, and blue. Stranger is an RPG, so each character possesses some abilities to cast spells. Each spell has its own color and may be used in the respective field only. The exclusive gameplay feature is that superposition of fields produces a new field of another color. For example, red and green fields together make a yellow field, and neither red nor green spells work in the yellow magic, only yellow one does. So if your enemy attacks you with some specific magic, you can change a situation by sending your unit with crystals of another color to stay near the enemy’s unit, and so neutralize it.
Magic fields surround crystals of a respective color. Those crystals may lie on the ground, or be owned by any character (the player’s one or the computer’s one). No matter what the source of the fields is, their superposition creates a new color anyway. The player may control crystals owned by his particular character, and so control the active magic color. So it’s possible to win the battle by the proper management of crystals and units' movement.
Question: What influence will the choice of heroes have on the game?
In Stranger we granted you the possibility to play for each of three heroes and to estimate their skills separately. While playing the game, you will be able to control all of the heroes and you will have a chance to try their forces together.
Heroes appeared long ago in the strategic games. In our opinion, they give the player possibility to be more deeply immersed in the play and fulfill all tasks and follow the gameplay more carefully. The heroes have the same the parameters as the other characters in the game, but they also get unique abilities inaccessible by the others. Originally, the heroes have already been specialized. Each of them exceeds the others in some skill.
Question: How will RPG elements affect the game?
The keynote is a bigger share of tactical gameplay. That is, we make the fights more detailed (in comparison with strategy games) and we introduce an additional element, which is battle preparation. This preparation includes multiple actions. In a certain mission you may need just to equip characters and to take them to their positions. In another mission, for example, you may be required to obtain resources which are necessary to hire a neutral tribe at first, then you may have to produce equipment, the tactic planning follows last of all. Besides you will have to watch out for neutral characters, as their response to a certain event may be either helpful or unwanted.
In fact, the game should be quite attractive for those familiar with RPG.
Question: Why did you decide to use a different game engine for Stranger than you are using for Sudden Strike 3?
Firstly, because it's planned to develop a new part of the Stranger. Secondly, the genre of Stranger drastically differs from that of Sudden Strike 3 Arms of Victory, and we would like to create a particular game, and to add much more new features into the RPG genre. We are making engines optimized for the respective game play. It is an expensive approach, but it allows using hardware in more effective way.
Question: What sets Stranger apart from the flooded market of RTS games?
Firstly, we have developed a lot of so-called "themes". They include artwork and sound designs of missions; different missions use different themes. In our opinion that helps to make a non-boring and continually changing environment. Secondly, we have paid much attention to details. We’ve spent a lot of time fitting each visual and gameplay component accordingly to our goals. We’ve met a lot of technical problems but now we can proudly say that we have got the quality since there’s been a lot of work on this. Thirdly, this magic world is literally crammed with surprises. Our efforts intend to keep the player stressed during the campaign whilst gradually implementing our own logic of magic interactions between the characters and game environment.
We developed a special fighting system resembling its Role-Playing Game counterpart but refined and adapted to Real Time Strategy needs. We hope that our efforts will make lots of fun for "hack’n’slash" fans as a result. There will be lots of diverse weapons, magic stuff and other items. You can distribute loot between your warriors. You are able to trade or to use (with help of craftsmen) captured items as a building material for new useful things. This is being considered as an additional feature (despite its having a major effect on the general balance).
Question: In a market saturated with sequels, what made you decide to start from scratch and make a completely new game?
A brand new world requires a new brand. The idea of creation Stranger was born long ago. One of the stimuli for us was the fact that we did not find on the market any game which could be considered as the etalon. It is always possible to make something better. And it's more than just words, it's our guide to action.
Question: How will your decision to start publishing games affect the release of Stranger?
According to the decision of the game publishers, the Stranger release will be postponed. This is connected with the organization of the new subdivision of Fireglow games company and with the adjustment of its commercial connections all over the world. When we were in this process we discovered ways how to improve Stranger and we managed to use this time for putting these ideas into effect.