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E3 2009: Discussing Majesty 2

E3 2009

Alongside our discussion with Paradox Interactive about their upcoming Hearts of Iron 3 project, we sit down to question Tatyana Savchenkova (Lead Game Designer) and Pavel Kondrashov (Writer), about their work on the charming Majesty 2 title. Speaking to us full of passion and belief about their product, we uncover some interesting information about the fantasy sim.

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The world of Majesty 2 looks to be filled with opportunity, how personal and unique will the experience be to each player?

In Majesty 2 a player will encounter many possibilities to create his own tactics or even a gameplay style.

Once during the testing members of our team had gathered in a lunch-room and we were speaking about tactics. Amazingly, it appeared that we all had been using different combinations of heroes and “secret” tactics like “invent that elixir first”, “first build a Rogues Guild and upgrade it to second level and then” etc, and everyone was saying his tactics was the best. Yet the game was fun and challenging for all. Now we can say that wasn’t by a chance. The game provokes to invent and use different play styles. Of course, there are also some missions that can’t be won without using exact heroes or magic, but it just inspires to thorough exploration of the game and still leaves a choice for the player.

At last year’s E3 you showed a trailer full of humour and wit, have you incorporated this into the gameplay?

Majesty 2 is just a kind of game that incorporates irrepressible and finely elaborated humor in all and any aspects of the subject. Speaking seriously, of course there is humor in the gameplay. A player will witness lots of funny situations like heroes charging to a fearsome monster but changing their mind in the middle of the run. Or heroes resolving their differences in “points of view” in the midst of a fight like en elf rooting a dwarf that runs from a lich.

I’ve remembered now like one of my paladins runs from the battle with one of the bosses to a market to buy some health potions leaving his comrades to fight the enemy. And in a minute he appeared to be the only one of my heroes who survived and finished the boss off.

Also there is a lot of humor in “asks” of heroes, descriptions of heroes and buildings, and in the written history of those 500 years that have passed in Ardania since the events of the first game. Attentive players, that like to read, will find lots of interesting stuff in the texts.

There seems to be a huge variation of enemies in Majesty 2. What’s your favourite, and who is the toughest to defeat?

The toughest monster in the game is the last boss. He uses attacks that can kill even a high-level hero, and also AOE attacks that greatly damages everything around him. A player can win the fight with this boss only using Great Artifacts and tactical tricks he will learn playing the campaign.

And the most favourite monster… There are two of them actually. It’s Bearman and Wolfman. These are very strong opponents, only high-level heroes that have learnt special control abilities can defeat them. But the most interesting in those monsters is their ability to come at inappropriate times. During multiplayer matches in our office you can often hear screams “Oh, noooo! It came!” – “Wolfman or bearman?” – “Wolfman!!!” and then only rapt silence while a player tries to save his heroes and the kingdom from that threat.

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There has been a greater emphasis on the Party System this time round, what was the reason for this, and how does it improve the series?

We added parties in the game by two reasons. First – we wanted to see the hardened unit, a “tank” that a player would build and used in difficult situations or in a multiplayer. Second – it’s the fantasy game about heroes and what fantasy game about heroes hasn’t parties? They are standard for all RPG games – parties of heroes look for adventures, fight, and rest together that makes them so strong. But in Majesty 2 parties also have no fear so a player should look for a party not went into a trouble.

Do you think Majesty 2 does enough to differentiate itself from the overcrowded RTS genre?

Absolutely! In Majesty a player is a King… But he hasn’t instruments to control his heroes directly. There is no frame to choose several units of “left click to order the attack”. In our game the King has only the treasury to give quests and set flag rewards. Heroes decide will they do it or not. And higher is the level of a hero more gold his King should spent to attract that hero for a quest. Besides, heroes aren’t eager to do quests all the time. They want to rest, to buy something or just to wander around.

And to make heroes stronger in Majesty 2 a player has to build comfort conditions for them. He should research new spells, order to invent new elixirs or to make new armor and weapons, and if he does so, he will see as weak heroes become strong, and he won’t need to check their health with the Heal spell ready at the cursor anymore. Instead he will see as his heroes will gather together to destroy a monster with their spectacular attacks… and rob it after.

That is not like classical RTS at all. We are sure you will like this unique gameplay!

Will we be seeing any additional content after release?

We are working already on new missions, heroes and spells. We are planning to release several mission packs and also some additional materials player will be able to buy via Internet.

Have you considered bringing the series to one of the current consoles?

We already can ‘transfer’ Majesty 2 to Xbox 360, but it’s the game’s publisher Paradox that can make a decision about it.

When can we expect to see this title hitting stores across the world?

This question can be answered by the game’s publisher.

Finally, describe Majesty 2 in three words.

Fantasy, fun, indirect.

Thank you for your interesting questions!

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(We step in and get to have a word with Fredrik Wester, CEO at Paradox Interactive, to get the unanswered questions resolved.)

Have you considered bringing the series to one of the current consoles?

Yes, we are looking at consoles, both regular and handheld. We’ll see what comes out of this

When can we expect to see this title hitting stores across the world?

Beginning of September is our target date.

A huge thank you to Tatyana, Pavel and Fred for providing some entertaining answers to our questions. Check back near release to see how we rate this intriguing sequel, as we get ready to take on the biggest and baddest Wolfmen Majesty 2 has to offer.

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in September 2007.

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