Available :02/05/05

Creature Conflict: The Clan Wars Interview © Cenega Publishing
By: Cory Casciato

Certain things mesh so exquisitely that they create something greater than the sum of their parts. Peanut butter and chocolate. Beer and pizza. Rock and roll. A monkey and a nuclear weapon.

You read that right. Developer Mithis Games has finally joined nature’s funniest animal with man’s most destructive creation. When we heard that these two indisputably perfect elements were finally coming together in game form, alarms went off and authorities were notified. Clearly this was something we needed to know more about, so we contacted publisher Cenega Games to get the 411. Testers Ferenc Mikola and Attila Mohacsi were kind enough to take some time to answer our questions about this intriguingly insane game.

GH: A cel-shaded, turn based strategy game featuring cartoon animals in space is a unique premise - what was the inspiration for such an unusual game?

The inspiration and the basis of this game was the well known game Worms. Thanks to our great designers the game has now only a few similarities to the earlier mentioned game, only the turn-based game mode remains. The games was tuned to comical actions on complete 3D mini-planets with real physics and multi layered playing abilities, which means that the product can easily be picked up and played, but there are deep tactical values which can be used to eliminate the enemy efficiently and in style.

GH: Can you please give us some info about the story and universe that Creature Conflict is set in?

A glowing red gem emerges in the universe where these “peaceful” creatures live, and it tells them about might and power and makes them go absolutely crazy about it. Therefore a few chosen valiant brave warriors from each faction take arms to obtain all of the gems, which they think will lead them to galactic domination. They each have their own reasons, some of them think that the entire food chain has turned upside down and they should be at the top. Others have “just” a scientific reason. They have only one common thing: they must obtain the gems for themselves to be able to achieve their goals. To tell you more about the story and the universe I shall speak about the races, which leads me to your next question J.

GH: What are the four races/clans in the game?

- First off all there is the Brood, a few “peaceful” rodents, whose only fun was mocking the dinosaurs, until they got fed up with that and become extinct; therefore they are looking for another way of making fun. They are living on misty swamp worlds where strange looking trees and magic mixed with modern buildings are common things. Their armaments are based on weapons which have really poisonous effects.

- The second clan is the Pack, mighty warriors of the universe, who are only scared of the brood, but they will never admit that. Brute force and strength is the motto of their lives. They live in a tribal society on planets full of waste deserts, and totems, with a martial attitude and hunger for hunting. They never abandon their wounded brother-in-arms.

- Finally there is the Clan, a highly sophisticated and culturally developed race with superb intelligence and high-tech weaponry. The most extraordinary weapons belong to them, with which they can alter the battle to their favor. They also have a twisted sense of humour, as they tend to try out the latest products of their weapon industry on their ignorant neighbors. You should expect a galaxy-wide trip filled with full of adventures, where you can obtain many photos and souvenirs.

- There is also a highly mysterious race in the game, with a weird taste for arts, but you should see them with your own eyes. Expect a beautiful and frigid world with weird looking statues, where stardust is a common thing, the stuff that inspires the greatest artists of the galaxy. They have a favor to stun the audience with their culture and perhaps with their shocking dramas.

GH: I heard a tantalizing mention of a monkey armed with a nuclear bomb! Are there any other particularly bizarre and amusing elements we can look forward to?

Imagine a fat gruesome pig with stinking and perhaps shocking slippers, what makes you really stunned or perhaps try to imagine a little almost peaceful looking skunk with some really nasty stinking khm “chemical” weapons. “May the Force be with you” – is the slogan of the not so peaceful looking rabbit who wields the almighty laser saber... no Jedi or rabbit should be without one. The casserole – grandma’s favorite device - might be the main equipment of your kitchen, but in the hand of a sheep it’s surely a deadly weapon. Every character owns a unique melee weapon like the slippers, or the laser saber as I mentioned earlier. We tried to make these weapons as weird as can be to make you laugh. The ordinary weapons have also a humorous setting like the crossbow which fires “naturally” rubber chicken, or you can take deadly pictures from the enemy with your digital camera. J Some of them actually refer to other games and movies in a comical way.

GH: Can you describe the basic gameplay mechanics of Creature Conflict? Perhaps by taking us through a complete turn step by step?

First off all in the beginning of a turn there is a hot seat time, where you can mentally prepare for the battle or perhaps change the seats in a skirmish play with the friends. The reinforcement phase was built into the hot seat time, during which reinforcement boxes fall from sky. You don’t have to wait for them, so the game’s intensity and its flow won’t break.
After that you have a preset given time to take actions like moving, collecting reinforcement boxes and of course, shooting.
The last part of the turn is the runtime – its name comes from its meaning as you can “run” away to take cover against the enemy retaliation.
At the finish of the runtime the next player comes to play to try to make his/her moves. These times can be set in the multiplayer and the skirmish games. For the single player campaign, it depends on the difficulty.

GH: What kinds of weapons/attacks/tactics and strategies can we expect to see in the game?

There are more than 60 various weapons, 4 factions with 16 different playable characters, more than 10 abilities, and 1 special ability for each faction that only can be used with the exact race.
Every character has his/her own kind of unique melee weapon with you can for example teleport away your enemy, stun or knock back far away. Many weapons have special effects like fire, radioactivity, freezing, or poison which lasts a few turns, and makes your enemy incapable to aim precisely.
Every faction has their own special ability like healing, resurrection, or increase damage.
You can collect reinforcement boxes, which will give you weapons, healing boxes, more ammos, and abilities like camouflage, telekinesis, or perhaps the most desired invulnerability, which makes your character invulnerable during a whole round.
Some weapons have a quite distance bonus applied to its damage if it’s used “correctly” from a far distance to your enemy.
There are many interactive objects on the planets, such as portals or healing huts, which can be used well in a quite tactical manner. But beware the autoguns, which will shoot you if you go too close to them. Perhaps you can gain control over them to let them shoot on your enemy. There are dangerous traps on the planets which make you suffer a great deal if you don’t evade them early.
You can also use your weapons and abilities tactically, like building a bunker from covering objects and shooting out from there to maximize the defense, or trapping the enemy in a force-field bubble to hinder the retaliation.
There are countless ways to get rid of the enemy; it depends only on the player’s style and of course the taste of weapons. For example you can give him/her a special gift with an explosive touch or perhaps you would take the everyone’s favorite gatling gun to spread “some” bullets. Use your deadly golf club to push him into the boiling lava or of course shoot him with your almighty mortar from a safe distance. There are many tactics to choose from and decision what would you use is yours.

GH: What's the learning curve? Is this a pick up and play game suitable for parties (like the classic Worms games) or a deep strategy game that happens to have a humorous setting?

In short answer we can say it both, but not exactly strategy. In the reality, you separate tactics form strategy. Tactics means for example, a small squad which gets an order to do something, than the commander decides how they will do it. (Evade air strikes, call reinforcements, the sniper should move in a better position, etc.)
The strategy is above all of these things. For example the general decides what units will strike from where, and plan the reinforcement’s routes, etc. In this context this game is a tactical action game.

To be able to pick up and play I suggest you to finish the tutorial planet where you can learn the basics of the game, which makes you competitive against the enemies in the first stages of the single player campaign. You can have fun along the mission, where you become much more skillful with a wide variety of weapons and you will get used to take cover and use the environmental objects to defend yourself from the revenge of your enemies. The more precise can you shoot the more will be the damage as the distance bonus applies to them.

GH: What can gamers expect from the single player experience?

Each race has an own style and amusing missions, from which you can learn their history. Perhaps you can master them on hard difficulty to be able to defeat the most cunning human players on the net. At the beginning of each mission there is the briefing, where you can read many hints and tricks what was collected by the designers, testers, and beta-testers. These hints let you gain much experience, and by the way you can develop some interesting tactics, which is most needed against the Hard AI. This knowledge makes you play well in multiplayer games. Every successfully completed mission unlocks some new gadgets to your disposal, abilities, or some planets to be play on it in a skirmish or in multiplayer game. You can expect a hitchhiking trip through the galaxy what you will never forget.

GH: Tell us about some of the more unusual or exciting modes you have planned.

Our designers came up with interesting ideas about implementing real-time game play modes into a turn-based game, but the long-lasting and continuously fine-tuning made it’s results, what makes this part of the game a quite tactical and very playable one.
There are several mission types what you can play in different modes.
First to mention there is the pillage, where you can win by obtaining the largest amount of gold in the game or perhaps from stealing from the enemies by defeating them.
King of the hill is a more tactical game where you should capture and hold the highest points on the planet, but there are more common game modes like wipeout (a total destruction of enemies), or totem tag (capture the flag remake).
You can vary the missions with special playing modes likes shared turn, free shot, anchored mode, or perhaps the old-friend classic turn.
In shared turn you can move with any of your characters but you can shoot with only one of them.
In the free shot mode you have only a very limited time to fire but you can fire as much as you want.
Anchored mode is the most skillful playing type where you should really learn how to shoot from a distance, because you won’t be able to move at all.

GH: The game seems a natural for console gamers. Are there plans to release it for consoles in the future? Why did you choose the PC as the target platform?

The development was started on PC; it was evident to release it on that platform. Some time later the console versions could be inserted in contract with Cenega. The engine was separated from the game code and we made it platform independent, so it could be quite easily adapted to other platforms.

GH: What are the planned system requirements for the game?

The game requires a computer with at least an 1000MHz CPU, 256MB RAM, 1GB free space on the HDD, and a 3D accelerator graphic card with at least 64MB RAM, to be able to play it with low detail settings.
As usual, the better hardware you have the better, but speaking in figures we suggest a 1800MHz CPU, 512MB RAM, 1 GB free space on the HDD, and 3D accelerator graphic card with 128MB RAM to be able to play it with high details.

GH: Can you tell us one thing about Creature Conflict that no one else knows that will convince our loyal readers to rush out and purchase your game as soon as they can?

There was never been such a tactical action shooter game before, where you can freely walk around on such unique 3D mini-planets, and shoot around the globe with real missile trajectory physics, and use tactical hide-and-seek game play.

Gamers can lay hands on this possible future classic when it is released Feb. 5, 2005.