GGMania got a chance to chat with Mirage producer Pawel Kalinowski, as he talks about Weird War, their upcoming role-playing game set in World War II environment. The topic include the storyline, the characters classes and skills, the quests, the enemies, the gameplay and the current status of the game's progress. Weird War is slated for release in first quarter 2004.
GGMania: Could you introduce yourself to our readers and tell them a little
bit about what you do on Weird War?
Pawel Kalinowski: My name is Pawel Kalinowski and I
am a producer for Weird War. Right now my primary job is to manage localizations
to different territories, during the core game production process I was mainly
trying to understand needs of the developers and fulfilling them in a time and
money scarcity environment.
GGMania: Can you give us a little background on the development team working
on Weird War?
Pawel Kalinowski: Guys working on WW are definitely
amongst the most talented game developers in Poland. Their background includes
among others Odium/Gorky 17, Katharsis and several other local products. Their
previous title Another War, although not a huge success, was an ideal testing
application for WW. This game let us know all weak points of the realtime combat
concept and we hope all known flaws are eliminated from WW.
GGMania: What kind of game is Weird War? What were the main objectives you
wanted to achieve in regards to content and gameplay?
Pawel Kalinowski: We are here obsessed with one
thought - to deliver RPGs to casual gamers - people who not necessarily know
everything about fantasy or sci-fi worlds. For this we needed a well defined
world, enemy and heroes. This is why WW is a Role Playing Game in World War II
environment. We were always finding the turn-based fight concept as artificial -
you know, only Jackie Chan's opponents wait for their turn to fight. In the real
life everything happens, nomen omen, in the real time.
GGMania: What can you tell us about the storyline of the game?
Pawel Kalinowski: In the story you will find our
favorite themes - saving the world from evil hands of Nazis, adventures in
distant parts of the world, etc. As false Gestapo agents you begin to look for a
mummy of the ancient Egyptian king. Bringing the mummy to life and controlling
its' powers would enable Nazis to dominate the world. You know, ancient stuff is
better than this overrated nuclear energy. Ask Lara if you don't believe me.
Indiana will tell you the same!
GGMania: How much choice and what kinds of choices will the player have in
the starting player character and in how it develops through the course of the
Pawel Kalinowski: First of all there are seven
classes of characters to choose from for a main hero: Blacksmith, Cook, Gastric,
Philosopher, Cyclist, Drunk and Magician. Each class has its' own set of skills
and special abilities available. We were trying to make them both interesting
and useful in the combat so we hope players will want to try all classes. On the
very beginning of the game the player will get few some basic characteristic for
the class he chosen an few additional points for use for boosting a set of
standard parameters like Strength, Charisma, Endurance, Agility and such. Then
at every new experience level, i.e. when enough experience points are gained,
player will be able to invest his points in basic parameters, skills (e.g.
Pistols, Submachine Guns, Repair, Sprinter, etc.) and special abilities (like
Doubling Reserves, Bribery, Air Raid and others).
It is the real fun to try a new special ability and every time I play WW I
discover something new. And there is a plenty to discover, because there are 38
different skills available together with 23 special abilities.
GGMania: What can you tell us about the enemies in Weird War?
Pawel Kalinowski: As you will spend a lot of time
together with those nasty boys we prepared a variety of them. First opponents
are not very clever nor fast, but the deeper into the game, the more varied
behavior, the stronger weapons and armors. Basically each land has got its' own
set of basic opponents - first you fight with Arab highwaymen, members of Libyan
Liberation Front and their greatest enemy People's Front of Libya. There are of
course Afrika Korps soldiers everywhere. Deeper in Africa you will have to stand
up to furious cannibals and sneaky pygmies. In Europe there are deadly Gestapo
troopers and countless Wehrmachters (other formations are present, too). Besides
human opponents there are tanks, heavy armored transporters, mortars and similar
war gear. But this is not all! Don't try to make elephants or crocodiles angry,
because they can attack you, too!
GGMania: Will there be friendly NPCs, and what kinds of roles will they play?
Pawel Kalinowski: Friendly NPCs give you quests,
hints and most importantly you can trade with many NPCs. Trading is a very
important part of the game as several useful weapons and items can obtained
primarily from the sellers. Sometimes the friendly NPC can turn to be the enemy,
GGMania: Could you describe the combat system?
Pawel Kalinowski: First of all it is realtime so
there is less time for planning strategic moves. But we have the active pause,
so if you prefer thinking to brandishing a bayonet press space and plan your
moves. You can give specific orders to every member of your team; you can use
different formations. But generally the game tends to hack'n'slash category and
may resemble e.g. Diablo in some parts.
GGMania: How will the quest system work, how much variety will there be in
terms of different types, and how will you keep them from becoming repetitive or
Pawel Kalinowski: Themes of quests are so twisted
that it is impossible to get bored! Of course there are some pretty standard
quests of the scheme "bring me this so you will get that", but these are
exceptions. The character interaction system is very simple and should be
intuitive for every player. These are just dialogues, as known from other cRPGs.
Our hopes are high that this part of the game will make you spend more time in
GGMania: What other gameplay elements does the game have?
Pawel Kalinowski: You can try your luck in the
every popular "Find the Queen" card game, you can ride your camel to the nearest
safe place. If you find a fishing rod you can test your skills as an angler. You
can also be a farmer with a chicken business and finally you may become a
GGMania: What sort of interface have you guys prepared for the game?
Pawel Kalinowski: All we wanted was to make the
game as simple to use as possible. It was not an easy task for this kind of
project where are so many options, so at a fist glance it may be not the
simplest of the simple. The beginners will have to press [H] key for help few
times till everything becomes intuitive. We did not want the user to dig through
the manual from the very beginning and the game and the interface becomes more
and more sophisticated as the player progresses through the game (and gets new
skills, special abilities, gear (like binoculars), etc.).
GGMania: What can you tell us about the graphic engine for the game?
Pawel Kalinowski: We are using very stable software
that is has been developed in Mirage since 1999. The base system was already
used in Another War on PC and Mac computers, but the version that works behind
curtains of Weird War is vastly improved. We have about dozen times more
animations, 40 types of enemies, 50 NPC's, over 60 wearable items and the game
takes less disk space than the predecessor. Possibly it is the most technically
advanced 2D engine available. I feel sorry we will not use it anymore - 2D
technology is definitely over.
GGMania: Will Weird War feature a multi-player component? If so, what are you
looking at for multiplayer options?
Pawel Kalinowski: WW is strictly a single-player
GGMania: What will make Weird War notable among the other current RPGs?
Pawel Kalinowski: The most important fact about WW
is that unlike it's competitors the game is not bloody serious. We know it works
perfectly in our mother tongue, we hope the translations will keep the players
amused for a long time.
GGMania: At the moment, what is the current status of the game's progress
and when do you expect the game to be released?
Pawel Kalinowski: The game has been released in
Poland in September. As localizations take some time we expect other
international releases around end of 1st quarter of 2004.
GGMania: As you've probably guessed, we're all itching to see the game in
action. Will there be a video or demo so we can see a bit of the action?
Pawel Kalinowski: It mostly depends on policy of
the local distributors. We are preparing the playable demo and possibly it will
be available soon!
GGMania: Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Finally, is
there anything else you wish to say about Weird War?
Pawel Kalinowski: My greatest hope is that this
game will let someone forget for a while about everyday problems and laugh at
completely twisted adventures of not-that-heroic heroes.