GGMania got a chance to talk with Gabriel Dobrev of Haemimont Games as he
talks about Celtic Kings: The Punic Wars, their next historical real-time
strategy game with RPG elements. The title is already finished and they are
waiting for the localization teams to complete their work
GGMania: Could you introduce yourself to our readers and tell them a
little bit about what you do on The Punic Wars?
Gabriel Dobrev: My name is Gabriel Dobrev and I'm
the lead designer and producer of The Punic Wars, a follow-up to our Celtic
GGMania: Can you give us an overview of The Punic Wars, telling us what the
game is all about?
Gabriel Dobrev: It's a strategy game about the wars
between Rome and Carthage fought more than 2000 years ago. It includes the
conquest of Hispania, Hannibal's campaign in Italy as well as the destruction of
Carthage. We tell the story of two great generals who fought against each other
in one of the greatest conflicts in ancient history - Hannibal and Scipio
GGMania: Were you pleased with the reactions that the original Celtic Kings
Gabriel Dobrev: Celtic Kings has received some very
nice feedback during the development stage and the reviews that the game had
were also very-very positive. So, we might say that press liked our game after
reading those articles. From another hand, we have been also tracking the sales
of the original CK game and we must admit that the success of it was quite
promising for the follow-up to happen. So, yes, quite good reaction - we were
and are happy, as you can see :)
GGMania: From where did you get the inspiration to make The Punic Wars?
Gabriel Dobrev: Historical events are always a
great source of inspiration - for books, movies or computer games. The thing
with TPW is not an exception - two great nations fighting for dominance in the
Mediterranean - two great generals who are still remembered after more than 2000
years. It was a great pleasure for us to imagine and recreate that huge ancient
conflict and it would be a mistake to miss covering that historical period,
which is sublime for our game concept.
GGMania: What sort of missions will be a part of the single player game? How
many levels in total will we have to play?
Gabriel Dobrev: The single player part of the game
consists of two major campaigns - one for Rome and another one for Carthage.
These two campaigns provide different view to the same events and show how each
side struggled to overcome the other having different strategies in battles,
having different units etc. Some battles, seen in the campaigns, are also
available as separate maps where the players can play the side they fought
against in the campaigns.
GGMania: How many different kinds of units are there and how will they differ
if we compare different races? May be you're having some favorite units - which
Gabriel Dobrev: As you can understand, the number
of units in the original game was pretty big as we had two nations already,
which had very different troops. We've doubled the number of units in The Punic
Wars if compared to the original game. The new races are vastly different from
the old and provide new ways to excel on the battlefield offering something new
from the standpoint of gameplay.
GGMania: As far as we know, this follow-up will have less RPG elements than
the original game. Why did you decide to focus on RTS part of the game more this
Gabriel Dobrev: We didn't want to simply repeat the
gameplay of the original game as we try to look for something fresh and new
while working on our next game. So, we've decided to build our single player
missions around the idea of strategic situations, which the player has to
GGMania: After shipping the original Celtic Kings games, you must be
hearing some feedback from gamers in the field of AI. What kind of AI
improvements shall we see in The Punic Wars?
Gabriel Dobrev: We've made the AI more aggressive
while keeping it as strong - one must take in mind that AI must be strong enough
to satisfy those gamers that are looking for a competitive opponent in single
player knowing new tactical moves and be able trick the players from time to
time. But at the same time we must not forget about 'casual' gamers who want to
win battles while playing with the artificial intelligence. All in all, our new
AI will probably fit into this idea and it can be said that is much more fun to
play against it. Well, as we see it now but it is the players, who will decide
if we have taught the computer to behave humanlike or not.
GGMania: What can you tell us about the engine that is being used for the
game? You're still using 2D graphics - can you explain why?
Gabriel Dobrev: We felt that The Punic Wars really
needs the scale of Celtic Kings, so we decided to use the same approach as in
the original game. The graphics engine features some performance improves over
the original game. Essentially it is a 2D isometric engine with 3D terrain.
GGMania: What kind of hardware should players have in order to experience
good game performance?
Gabriel Dobrev: The minimum requirements are
400MHz Pentium III CPU with 128MB RAM. To get the best performance we recommend
600MHz CPU with 256MB RAM.
GGMania: What's the current status of the project, and what remains to be
done? When will it be released?
Gabriel Dobrev: We have completed the Gold Master
version and we're waiting for the localization teams to complete their work. The
game is already on the market in some territories. So, don't forget to check for
it in stores near you! :)