Interviewed by Sean.
Hi, please introduce yourself and your company to our readers.
My name is Ryan MacLean, and I’m the lead programmer for Magitech. We’re a Toronto based developer, specializing in real-time wargames that emphasize realism and tactics. Our first game, Takeda, was set in feudal Japan. Our upcoming title, Strength & Honor, is set in the Hellenistic era, about one hundred years after the death of Alexander the Great.
Could you tell us a little bit about your upcoming title Strength & Honor?
Strength & Honor is a game of global domination that combines turn-based empire building and epic real-time 3D battles. Nations can belong to civilizations ranging from the Romans and Carthaginians in the west, to India and the Chinese in the east.
What is the main goal of the game?
The player’s objective is to lead his / her nation to glory, using economic, cultural, and military might.
What features does the player have to help him reach his goal?
Each nation controls cities. From cities, the player can build armies and diplomats, which are essentially playing pieces on the world map. With an army, the player can attack enemy units (armies or diplomats), or conquer enemy cities. A diplomat can be used to sign treaties and trade agreements, or even to invite enemy cities to join the player’s nation. The player must manage the economic and political aspects of the empire, keep the people happy and productive, and maintain a budget to support the military.
The world game is character driven—many goals in the campaign are accomplished by interacting with governors, generals, officials, and guests of the empire. Characters have unique personalities and responses both on and off the battlefield.
Special events occur intermittently throughout a campaign. These events include assassination attempts, political betrayals, natural disasters, riots, and so on.
The campaign ends when a) The player’s character dies with no successor, b) The player retires or c) The player’s nation is completely wiped out. At the end of the game the player will be given a summary of achievements, and a description of his/her political style.
Obviously I am glossing over a lot of detail here, but that about sums up the “big picture” of world mode.
When you choose your main character, does he appear on the battlefield as a “hero” or is it just a way of identifying your empire?
Your main character will only appear on the battlefield if you assign him (or her) to command an army. By default, he is simply the ruler of your nation and as such resides in the capital city, overseeing the government. Using the main character on the field can be very risky—if he is killed, your campaign may be over. However, the ruler’s presence on the battlefield will certainly rally the troops—particularly if he happens to have strong military leadership skills. His willingness to fight will also increase the loyalty of officers and generals.
None of the generals in Strength & Honor have special or magical powers. Many of them are skilled warriors, but they are all only human. Some are even cowards or poor leaders. The real “heroes” the player will get to know in the game are those generals who last a long time, stay loyal to their nation and inspire their troops to perform well in battle. The player will have a chance to reward these generals with treasures and promotions.
The world map looks like it contains many strategic elements to it. What are some special features of the “World Mode”?
It contains many detailed terrain features, such as roads, mountains, hills, rivers, jungles, and oceans. Each terrain affects movement and supply costs. Although it is possible to force an army to cross high mountains, for example, it is difficult and costly.
Supply lines are also important. Each army recieves the bulk of its supplies from its home city. It’s important to safeguard these supply lines, or else the armies will be cut off and will lose morale and fighting strength.
The battle sequences look massive and stunning. What are some special features of the “Battle Mode”?
One key feature in battle mode is formation. Not only can the player choose from built-in formations, but he/she will be able to create and customize formations which can be used as the battle develops. For example, a player can set the whole army in a simple line formation at the beginning of the battle. Later, the army can change into a complex square formation as enemy approaches.
Detachments are another key (and we feel unique) feature. Players can send detachment divisions to flank the enemy rear, or can hide them off-field right behind the main force, to ambush the enemy as they charge in.
Units also behave realistically to reflect morale, fatigue, charging impacts, and facing / armour.
Will there be CG sequences depicting some great people and events in our world’s history?
Some of the special events that occur in the game are based on history. While many of these game events will be based on historical situations and figures, they will have to be open-ended to reflect the non-linearity of the game play.
Rather than recreating a sequence of historical events, the aim of Strength & Honor is to make the player an active participant in a historical setting. Events will generally be handled with still images & dialogs. The possiblity of recreating real history exists, but often the game will take a different course, so it would be difficult to use linear movie / storyline sequences.
Why should people buy this game over other turn-based strategies titles? What sets Strength & Honor apart from the rest of the titles in the genre?
Strength & Honor is unique because it really straddles genres. The turn-based, strategic part of the game (world mode) gives you the sense of a big “empire building” game; while the real-time, tactical part (battle mode) gives you the action of an RTS but with much more emphasis on battle strategy.
Strength & Honor offers diplomacy, philosophy, politics, in-depth character interaction, and battlefield tactics which are rare in strategy titles. Basically, it encourages the player to think a little more. The game has a military focus, but it’s not just about combat—you can win in ways other than simply wiping out the opposition. It’s certainly not the standard “build-up-and-blitz” approach taken by most strategy titles.
When should our readers expect to see Strength & Honor on their store shelves?
We expect to complete development by June, and we’re presently looking for a publisher. It will be up to the publisher to determine when the game will be released in stores.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Keep watching for Strength & Honor, or come and visit us at www.ezgame.com.
Thank you for you time. If you are a fan of turn-based strategy titles, keep your eyes peeled for Strength & Honor.