While at the Bandai Namco Global Gamers Event in Las Vegas, PlayStation LifeStyle’s Dan Oravasaari got to sit in on a round table interview with Lords of the Fallen producer Tomasz Gop.
During the presentation you talked about other titles that you consider hardcore, but quite carefully talked about how you were not that, could you talk about your inspiration as to why you don’t want to be hardcore like Dark Souls? Which is such an easy comparison.
I don’t think that it is exactly the fact that we don’t want to be hardcore, because I can quite honestly say that Lords of the Fallen is primarily aimed at the guys who like the challenge, so that would me the hardcore audience. But, at the same time, I can clearly put my finger on differences on types of games. If anybody recalls Souls, this is actually quite easy, I know you easily see some similarities in these games. But, there is certain things that I believe that would make everybody aware that there is no mistake in seeing that these games aren’t exactly the same.
For example, the prominence of the storyline. I really believe that Lords is going to feature a storyline that being told in a different way and it is probably more in-front than in the Soul series. The other one, I really think the art direction is definitely telling these games apart quite well, because we are high-fantasy and I think everybody reads that Souls is more of a dark and gritty fantasy. The third one is more arcade-ish, a bit more fast paced and more elemental. That is where I would say fighting, OK, a lot of people see Dark Souls elements in it, but I would say it is also Tekken kind of, Street Fighter kind of, that fighting games have, timing your attacks in a slightly different way than Souls does.
So, for each game I could pull out several examples of this. But, again at the same time, I don’t think that it would be fair to completely say, we don’t know about Dark Souls and we are nothing like it. There are things that have been inspired and I would be stupid to not to agree to that. I just have to be honest about it.
A number of games that have similar traits for combat always tend to fall into a lot of circle strafing, what have you guys done to prevent that being a routine for each battle?
There is a certain element of that type of fighting that is quite tricky to tackle, because there is a world of difference if you are actually doing it and playing it and if you are watching somebody do that. If you are watching somebody do that, you actually feel that it might be boring or uninspiring, a treadmill kind of experience. But, when you are actually playing that, when you have to strafe around, you still feel that it is an intense kind of experience. So, that is one thing to start with, you don’t want all of the games to get rid of that exactly, but at the same time I think that I have mentioned to you the arcade feeling and approach to a lot of elements.
For example, the champion fight, the boss fight that I was showing. If you try to get in close and deal as much damage as possible in a short amount of time, you can actually try to stagger this guy. So, there is a mechanic that allows you to get in and you won’t have to strafe then. If you can stagger him, you can try to exploit that and go over and over again, and that means that there are ways not to do it. You can also try to fight him from using spells and you won’t have to. It is more a choice for the players, rather than forcing them to anything. But it is a viable tactic as well, and i’m fairly OK with that.
There were three-pillars mentioned during the presentation, but only one was discussed, could you talk about all three?
The three-pillars is about character development, and the way that you grow with your skills to get better with the game. One of them is magic, and this is the only one that is bound to your class choice at the beginning of the game. So, you choose a skill tree by defining your class at the beginning. The other one is, attributes, character attributes and stats, which is totally class independent. The third one is the whole gear that you use, not only the one that you find, but also certain gear can be actually upgraded, it can be crafted. Some gear also have perks, and that gives you a lot of choice and variety, but only some part of that is locked down to the class that you choose at the beginning. These are the three-pillars.
In the original Dark Souls, magic was something that was overpowered. Is this something that you guys have paid special attention to so that one pillar didn’t become more powerful than the others?
That is a tough one, because one of the principal assumptions of Lords of the Fallen’s development was that magic is over powered. You have less spells, each class has 4 spells right now actually. You can not only unlock them, but upgrade them, of course. They become much stronger and have a greater gameplay effect, but we want players to rather treat spells as a smart bomb and make them not abuse that because of the cool down, for example – rather than actually nerf them.
That was our decision, and if it is going to be a bad one, come on, we are going to take it. We are going to take responsibility for that. We actually went ahead and decided that was how we are actually going to do it and that’s why, it feels overpowered. It can take down, knock out enemies that are very powerful, enemies that you would not be able to knock off with your weapon. So, this is something that only spell can do, so they feel overpowered, but at the same time, you won’t be able to spam it 5 times at once.
Are weapons a stylistic thing, or are there weapons that are better than other weapons depending on what you upgrade? If you really like your starting weapons move set, would that be as good end-game?
I hate to start an answer with yes-and-no, it is a stupid way to start the answer. But we have 9 various move sets, there are like pools of weapons, but if you start your game with daggers, you will find better daggers, but it will have the same move set. So, once you have learned your move set, you are the master of your own move set, but you will find better daggers – example, fire daggers.
You said that there are choices in the game that will alter the ending, will this also alter the bosses that you fight? Or will you always fight the same bosses during your playthrough?
I think because of what Lords of the Fallen is, it is an action driven game, it is a combat driven game, you have to defeat all bosses that are in the game to finish it. Bosses are the primary factor to feel like you are progressing through the game, like a measurement of how much you have progressed. Now, having said that, there will be different ways to defeat the bosses.
OK, making a long story short, imagine a sort of a hardcore challenge on the boss, meaning the champion that I fought [if I didn’t trigger] rage even once, that would give you a special reward. It is not exactly story driven, but yeah, maybe some certain story events will allow you to help some certain boss fights because of a very uniquely crafted weapon. Think more about gameplay, I don’t want to say yes-and-no, but there will be elements of that.
You had mentioned that every battle has a special way to defeat it.
Not everyone. No, not everyone. Select battles. Especially ones, like for example, the one from the presentation was an opponent that was quite challenging at this stage of the game, but could give you a very good reward – but at the same time, we don’t people to throw their controller out the window, so we want them to be able to seek out a shortcut.
Make sure to stay tuned to PSLS as we bring you more news and details regarding this highly anticipated title.