War World Interview
By Vlad Zotta
Recently, GamersHell were fortunate enough to steal some time from developers Third Wave Games, as they prepare for the 2006 launch of their expansion to the popular mech battler, War World. Studio owners, Morten and Johnni, sat down with us and shared some thoughts regarding the expansion, their history, and Third Wave Games' hopes for the future. Enjoy.
Hi, and welcome to GamersHell. First of all, could you tell us a bit more about Third Wave Games?
Morten: Third Wave Games is an Australia-based games production company functioning a bit like a film production house, in the sense that we are two partners running the company and everybody else is contracted on a project-by-project basis. If the project is big then we contract a big team to do it. If not, then we won’t. Instead of having an office where everybody is working, the projects we do are distributed globally over the Internet. War World was created by people in the US, UK, and Australia. It is a truly international team.
As some of our readers may or may not know, you both used to work for Rare Ltd, one of the game development companies that helped make Nintendo so popular back in the 1990s. On which Rare titles were you both lucky enough to work?
Johnni: While working at Rare Ltd. I worked as an artist and a Lead Artist on such titles as Diddy Kong Racing, Donkey Kong 64, Perfect Dark and Starfox Adventures.
Morten: My first released game was Banjo Kazooie, a top-selling Rare game. I worked as a software engineer and wrote the engine and part of the gameplay.
How and when was the idea to form a new studio born? And could you tell us more about the team itself, and the team's mission?
Johnni: Third Wave Games officially started in June 2004, but you could say that the seed was planted a long time ago when Morten and I first started talking about starting a business together. We badly wanted to do this for a long time. Working for a number of developers, such as Rare, taught us how to make games and now we have the freedom to create our own. Our objective is to make games that we love to create and people love to play. It is as simple as that.
Did the experience you gained while working for Rare come in handy when developing War World? Or has it been an entirely new experience for you both?
Johnni: I learned a lot while working at Rare, mainly about how to make great games. Also working with so many talented artists at Rare was a great inspiration. At the same time, it has been a very new and positive experience developing War World. This is mainly because of the new technological way of working we are using at Third Wave Games, which uses the Internet as the main communication tool with a global team.
Morten: Working for Rare was a great learning experience. Being a part of a talented and very competitive team brings you up to speed very fast. It was an excellent foundation to build on.
Could you give us a quick introduction to the War World universe?
Mech Warriors are always fighting on War World. War World’s primary outlet for mech-on-mech combat (for sport and for training) is the ACN (the Arena Combat Network). There are ACN arenas located throughout War World—mostly inside the protected confines of the seven city-states. However, there are many arenas that are not protected by the laws of the city-states, where a much fiercer and deadlier form of mech combat takes place—sometimes for sport, sometimes for punishment, and sometimes for conflict resolution.
You control your mech through what is called a Wave Chair. This chair transfers your consciousness into the matrix of your mech, as your body remains safe in the Wave Chair. This process is referred to as “riding the wave” or “the ride”. If your mech goes down, your consciousness is swept back to your body—unharmed.
The ultimate achievement, and honor, for a mech fighter is to become known as a War World Master.
How did the idea to make a fast-paced game with fully customizable mechs come along? And what was the main reason to go for a faster gameplay than most other mech games?
Morten: The idea came from playing Virtua On in the arcades many years back. We realized that we had a lot of great ideas on how to evolve that type of game into something unique and new. Using weapons and speed in a new and more tactical way.
Johnni: We wanted the game to be an adrenaline rush of an experience, and we really think the faster gameplay style does that. The faster gameplay style creates a really exiting gaming experience. I guess it’s like riding a motorbike at 200mph instead of 50mph. Very intense!
The initial War World release has been available for a while now, and an enhanced version is being worked on for the European retail market. War World has amassed quite a large fan base since its initial release, how are you handling input from the community?
Johnni: We have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback we have gotten from our community members since the initial online release. We think it is important to listen to what the players of War World think of the game and what ideas they have for future versions of War World. A lot of the features we have implemented since the initial release are things that the War World gamers asked for in the community.
Morten: The War World community has been extremely supportive and is an excellent source for not only what doesn’t work, but also excellent ideas for what would make the game better. It is a new experience for us to have direct contact with the people who play our games, and it has so far been a very positive experience.
Could you elaborate a little on what we might expect in the enhanced version? Are there going to be new additions to the already large arsenal of weaponry, or perhaps new battlefields?
Johnni: The enhanced version of War World will feature several new additions such as new mechs, maps, LAN support, ‘Capture the Flag’ multiplayer mode, and an ‘Assault’ multiplayer mode. There will also be new single-player modes like ‘Deathmatch’ and ‘Team Deathmatch’.
Morten: The enhanced version will be a big improvement over the previous version, and we are really looking forward to hearing the feedback from the community when it is released in February 2006. We think they will be really excited by the new additions to the game.
War World is mainly an online shooter. Are there any plans to give the gameplay a persistent aspect? Or even an online rankings system?
Morten: War World is designed to work well both as a single-player and multiplayer game with 4 single-player game modes and 4 multiplayer game modes. We are talking to a number of potential partners who are interested in managing War World leagues/ladders, but we can’t say anything officially yet.
Will War World remain free to play online after the initial cost outlay of buying the actual game?
Johnni: Yes. When you have bought the game everything else is free, including unlimited online play.
Are there any plans for add-ons or other games after the release of the enhanced version of War World?
Morten: It very much depends on the community interest. If there is enough interest then we will definitely do it. We are keeping a close eye on the community website and will make decisions based on what people tell us.
Many thanks for your time, guys. Any final words for our readers?
Johnni: We are big gamers ourselves and we look forward to joining the other War World fighters out there for our daily fix of War World fun. See you online in February 2006!
Morten: You can get more info at the War World website, or the website from our European publisher, Lighthouse Interactive, and join the fast-growing War World community!