Work-In-Progress Spotlights
February 26th, 2013 by Leif Ericson

The Successor - Act Two: Initiation

What? Two features in the same day!? The Work-in-Progress Spotlight still exists? Yes, indeed. We still have a few surprises up our sleeves. So, what project feature are we going to pull out of our pocket today? None other than panel's second big scenario in his Successor series: Act Two: Initiation. Continuing the story four years after Krall's coronation as king of Ravenia, the land of Sylvania is still being threatened by the Tugai hordes. This rising tension sets the stage for exciting gameplay and an intricate, twisting plot. Not even I know all the details, and I will certainly be looking forward to playing this scenario as much as everyone of you.

One exciting aspect of this scenario is an increasing emphasis on RPG gameplay. Split into five parts, the game will feature many main quests and side quests as your hero improves his skill, the plot unfolding as you play. It should certainly make for interesting gameplay.

As always, we want to know more about our upcoming projects from the authors themselves, and that is no different for this project. I managed to snatch panel away from the editor for a couple minutes to ask him some important questions about his project, and his responses were definitely worth hearing. Click here to read them!

Your first scenario in your Successor series was quite a success. In what ways will your second installment stay the same, and in what ways will it differ?

panel: The changes in gameplay will be very visible - instead of controlling a whole army, the focus will be on one unit most of the time. This is mainly due to the nature of the story. As the title gives away, it is going to be an "Initiation" RPG, and RPG fans are likely to enjoy it more than the others. However, I can't really change my style, so most of the features people have enjoyed in the first Act (such as fixed force segments, puzzles, and story emphasis), will be here too. Another change worth mentioning is the attention given to triggering. This Act will have more than twice as many triggers as the first one, hopefully it will show.

You have said that this second scenario will emphasize RPG gameplay. How are you balancing the freedom of RPG gameplay with the advancement of the plot?

panel: I found that to be one of the biggest challenges. I decided to go for a GTA-style solution. The game is divided in sections (more like mini-scenarios of their own) with each having its own quests, mandatory or optional. When you finish the mandatory quests in a certain area, you get access to a new section of the map (and also new skills, etc.). Some sections focus more on the story itself, while others allow the player more freedom in exploring and building up their character.There's tons of side features and easter eggs to be found, for those who really like exploring :)

I know you can't give too much away, but would you like to tell us a bit about the storyline?

panel: The setting of the story, as some people probably already know, is Sylvania, more precisely the northern part of this Ravenian province, and the story mainly deals with the struggle of Sylvanians to get rid of the brutal Tugai, who had shackled them for the past 19 years.

I'll go ahead and say it right now: Krall, the guy who everyone loved to hate, is not going to play such a big part in Act 2, as he did in Act 1. He will surely make a mark on the development of the story, but he'll allow another character to take the spotlight.

A three-scenario campaign of this magnitude is quite a massive undertaking. What have you learned from designing this series, and is there any advice you could give to our ambitious and imaginative designers out there?

panel: Well, for one I've learned it can be terribly frustrating at times (because of the editor's misgivings combined with a huge map and a lot of triggers), and sometimes I'm not sure I'd do it again given the oportunity... But at the same time, it's extremely gratifying to receive encouragements and see people get excited about your work. That's mainly what kept me going all this time, and will probably make it all worth it in the end.

One advice I'd give is: don't do huge maps with a lot of triggers unless you really, really have to, and make sure you plan almost every aspect of it before you start. Chances are you'll abandon it or it'll get terribly buggy, or it'll last forever to finish (as in my case). Also, be very careful when using ice on your map, it's one of the biggest perils when it comes to crashes, I've learned that the hard way ;)

Of course we can't finish a feature without including a few screenshots to look at in the meantime. Here you go!