by Cody “Micajah” Bye, Managing Editor
by Pierre-Yves Deslandes, Public Relations Manager for Spellborn
A few months ago, the developers behind the upcoming dark fantasy MMOG
titled The Chronicles of
opted to push the release of their title back to
the later half of 2008, setting it squarely for autumn 2008. When the
delay was announced, the Spellborn fans were disappointed and wondered
what could have caused the six month hiatus. To answer these
– and other – questions, Ten Ton Hammer’s
Cody “Micajah” Bye had a chat with Pierre-Yves
Deslandes, the public relations manager for Spellborn. Thankfully,
Deslandes has answered all of our questions and given us the responses
Ten Ton Hammer: The
Spellborn development team recently announced another delay to the
game, which pushes the release of Spellborn back to autumn 2008. Why
was the extra six months needed for the development schedule? What sort
of in-game features can you improve in six months?
The Chronicles of
Spellborn team is close to finding a U.S. publisher.
Correct, the release of The
Chronicles of Spellborn
has been pushed back to autumn
2008. In order to make sure we introduce The Chronicles of Spellborn
properly and with the best service possible to our US players, it has
been estimated that 6 more months were needed for further polishing and
balancing to guarantee that we live up to these expectations. By making
sure our real-time manual targeting combat system works smooth as we
intend it and by further stress-testing our server capacity, we will
ensure that the performances of Spellborn meet the anticipation of our
fans all around the world.
Ten Ton Hammer: How are
you planning on exposing the game to the U.S. player base? Do you
intend to develop and use some sort of overseas marketing plan?
The good thing is that TCoS already has a reasonable player base in the
U.S., since US is one of the strongest and most active communities we
have among our members without having an US publisher so far. But of
course we will widen our activities significantly once we have signed
with an US publisher in order to build up a big TCoS community in the
US. That´s why we want to work with an US partner, who is
really focused on MMOs, knows how to work with the community and who is
able to put an effective marketing campaign into action.
Ten Ton Hammer: Now that
a letter of intent has been signed with a U.S. publisher, are you
planning on running a widespread beta test in North America? When might
we hear news about that?
We already have US players who are currently in our Closed Beta Pool,
but, yes, we also plan to have a widespread beta test in North America
as well. We want to synchronize beta and release schedules in the US
and Europe as far as possible in order maximize the impact and not to
disappoint either the US or the European communities. We will release
further details regarding closed and open beta phases soon.
Ten Ton Hammer: From the
development side of things, what has the team been focusing on
recently? What area of the game has been receiving the most attention?
Our Art team is working on many things right now, but lately the focus
has been on extra visuals like UI icons, as well as on some new
buildings, for instance the High Houses. We really want these Houses to
play an important role in Spellborn, so we decided to improve their
looks in-game. The result so far is truly amazing. Each House breathes
life and “epicness”. Moreover, we are putting some
small additional touches on the Mount of Heroes Shard which make it so
much better. Just a simple rescaling of trees and it’s like
this place has been improved by a thousand times.
Regarding Gamedesign department, the focus is on balancing and
improving our combat system with the help of our closed Beta testers as
well as in-house testing. We performed a fairly large improvement of
the starting area and its quests, thanks to the feedback coming from
Ten Ton Hammer: For a
U.S. player that’s unfamiliar with Spellborn,
what’s the most important thing they should know about the
game? Why should they be looking forward to this particular title?
Spellborn has a very
unique clothing and combat system.
The uniqueness of Spellborn resides in several main features, the first
one being the manual targeting combat system, where players have to aim
at their opponent to damage it thanks to a reticule à la
FPS. There are absolutely no random dice rolls in Spellborn. You
won’t see any randomly generated critical hits. In addition
all attacks can be dodged, evaded, by moving around the target. The
combat is 100% real-time, so if a player stands in front of an enemy
and hacks at it, it’s almost certain death. Moreover, The
Chronicles of Spellborn introduces a unique six-tiered and 5 slotted
rotating skill deck. Like in a trading card game, players can configure
this combat bar before every encounter. After every attack the deck
turns and offers a new row of five skills to be chosen from. You can
imagine that this skill deck is a very powerful strategic feature,
because every player can configure it the way he or she wants
– may it be offensive, defensive, for solo game, group
fights, you name it…
Besides, Spellborn features a system we labelled “Dress to
Impress”. Since gear doesn’t have any statistics,
players are not bound to wear the same armour just because without it,
they would die like flies. From level 1 to 50 (level cap) players can
wear whatever they want; it’s not going to make them less
powerful. There are no class and race restrictions, so even a Rune Mage
can wear plate looking-like armour, it’s not a problem.
Our classes (9 in total) are completely unique and all have some
healing abilities which gives more survival abilities to the players.
Their skills are totally different from anything you saw before.
To sum up, Spellborn is a new game with a brand new Lore taking place
in a fantasy setting. We implemented lots of innovative gameplay
features (manual targeting, rotating skill deck, dress to
impress…) so that players are totally free to play the game
the way they want to without any limitations. We hope it will bring
some fresh air to the MMO genre, and players like it as much as we do.