I got a chance to sit down with Robot Entertainment CEO Patrick Hudson, and Designer Jerome Jones, following my preview of the content from the closed beta of Orcs Must Die! Unchained, which became available to registered fans last Friday. They were kind enough to take the time to answer some questions about the newest entry in the cult favorite franchise. This is what they had to say about the game.
David Poole (DP): So I prepared a few questions last night, and I played the first game [In the series], I actually really did like the first game a lot. A neat kind of tower defense game, so obviously in the second game, you added the co-op multiplayer, and now in this one you’re going with a five versus five kind of set up, what kind of lead you to go that route?
Jerome Jones (JJ): To me it felt like a logical sort of path that happened with the game, I mean when we did Orcs Must Die! One, there were a lot of things we would’ve loved to do with Orcs Must Die! One, if we would’ve had more time, more resources, things like that, we’re not, we weren’t a huge company, we’re not a huge company now, but uh I mean all the things that sort of happened from Orcs Must Die! One to Orcs Must Die! 2, now Orcs Must Die! Unchained kind of felt natural as we did it, and I mean we would’ve loved to have put co-op in Orcs Must Die! One, but we just didn’t have the time and resources. We would’ve loved to have more multiplayer in Orcs Must Die! 2, you know, things just sort of happened naturally and now we’re sort of just at this place on the OMD franchise where it needs to go into a bigger direction as far as the franchise goes.
DP: Okay, and obviously being a team based multiplayer experience, there’s no single player content, just multiplayer online?
JJ: There’s bots in the game!
DP: There’s Bots?
JJ: Yea, there are bots in the game, we don’t have every hero a bot right now, I think we have five different bots right now that we’re playing at the company right now, I think they’re on the alpha too. People are playing with bots. Uh, the AI of the bots is always gonna be ongoing because you know you sort of get this base AI for the bots and then you have to sort of specialize the AI for each individual hero so they use their abilities differently. So I would say the bots are like a beginner player right now but the goal is to make those bots, you know, competitive on different levels and stuff like that. So you can, that’s another thing I wanted to clear up, you can play right now 3v3 if you want. You can play three humans and two bots, you can form custom games and not get experience, but you can form up a game however you want to play the game, so there is, I don’t know if it’s officially a single player experience, but you can definitely stay away from the sort of hard…
DP: So it’s like practice?
JJ: Yea! You can practice, you can stay away from the sort of hardcore five versus five thing if you wanted. If you want to just experience the game and learn all the little things first.
DP: Okay so when you’re doing the bots, you don’t level up?
JJ: Right! Well you don’t get any experience when you’re in the custom games.
DP: Okay, alright so what kind of lead you to go the free to play route?
JJ: Uhh…That’s probably a good question.
Patrick Hudson (PH): Yea, there’s a couple different reasons, you know you want to do a bigger game, uh, multiplayer game, specifically in something like that, you know the server infrastructure and it almost necessitates having a free to play, so you kind of pay for all the infrastructure, assuming you get enough people in the game. And two is you know it’s only been on Steam really today, I mean the first game was on XBLA and Steam. If you’re limited to just that platform, you know it’s hard to kind of take it to global scale, you’re not gonna get players in Asia, half the playing population on the planet is not going to pay for a paid download, same in Russia. So we just felt like we’ve kind of grown the franchise to a point where we could take it to a global scale, and taking away that barrier of paid is just getting more people into the game.
DP: Okay, do you feel like it’s gonna be a stand out title among other free to play titles like others on Steam like Team Fortress 2, or like other ones like League of Legends?
PH: I mean that’s the hope, we hope we’re as big as those titles, we’d like to be one of the top free to play PC games in the world. That’s a hard one to crack into, there’s a ton of great competition, a lot of great games out there, but you know we start with a franchise that’s already well known, and has game play that you really don’t find in other games, so we think it’s a unique experience to come in.
DP: Right, definitely was, it was a lot of fun to play. So you’re strictly sticking with PC? I know the first one was on Xbox Live but did you ever decide to go branch out towards consoles?
PH: We have ambitions to be on consoles but we don’t have anything to announce yet as it’s gonna come out right now in beta on just PC, you know the first game, as we talked about was on a console and played great with a controller, so we’ll see if we can get there in a reasonable period of time.
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