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Expeditions: Viking March Newsletter: GDC Visit, TechRaptor Interview

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Expeditions: Viking March Newsletter: GDC Visit, TechRaptor Interview

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Thu 10 March 2016, 17:38:23

Tags: Expeditions: Viking; Jonas Wæver; Logic Artists

The Logic Artists have published their second Expedition: Vikings newsletter. Once again, the newsletter itself is not incredibly interesting, its primary purpose being to inform readers that the team is going to be at GDC in San Francisco next week. But it does link to an decent interview from last month over at TechRaptor, featuring Creative Director Jonas Waever. Here's an excerpt:

TechRaptor: Based on screenshots, the character creator appears to have been extended from a mere portrait and stock gender-appropriate model to a fully customizable model complete with appearance and clothing options. How is this used to interact with the world of Expeditions: Viking? Is the player character expected to participate in combat rather than direct it from the sidelines?

Jonas: While in Expeditions: Conquistador the player character was only ever present on the world map, but never in battles, the player character in Expeditions: Viking will always be present and will indeed participate in all combat. One of the biggest fan requests was to have an avatar so players could feel like they were part of the action. We’ve taken that to heart and players will level and skill their player character just as they do with their followers. The player character is also the unit you control while exploring and adventuring with the entire party following your lead, standing shoulder to shoulder with them in combat.

TechRaptor: How does combat differ from the last game?

Jonas: The main difference really comes down to the weaponry. Vikings were adept with a variety of weapons, perhaps most famously the axe, but also sword and spear, bow and dagger – and shields of course. Each weapon comes with a set of associated skills that players can unlock and take as their characters level up. We’re keeping the underlying design philosophy of Conquistador’scombat, which is to keep the basic rule system simple, and then add variety with plenty of skills and abilities, and by changing the tactical situation as much as possible from battle to battle. In the last game, skills and abilities were tied to the character classes, which somewhat reduced the amount of variation we could get out of our enemy types – this time skills can be mixed and matched both by the player and the designers, so we have more freedom to shake things up. In addition to that, we’re working on implementing more ways to make each fight distinct – different environmental factors, more variety in victory conditions, and so on.

TechRaptor: How does the player’s starting village work exactly, is it a central upgradeable base that can be returned to periodically?

Jonas: The player’s village is the central hub of the game, it is filled with its own politics and intrigue and players must be prepared to deal with threats both to the village and from within it. Players can return to their homestead any time they like to rest their huscarls and to govern the village as its chieftain, but crossing the ocean takes several weeks of in-game time. Additionally, you must return to your village every winter as the weather makes seafaring too dangerous.

A number of structures are upgradeable when you have the resources and thralls to do so, and these upgrades provide benefits to the village and for the party, and will ultimately play a role in determining the outcome of the story.

TechRaptor: Does the companion approval system make its return and offer the possibility of mutiny?

Jonas: Oh yes. Each member of your “hird” has a number of personality traits which cause them to gain or lose morale depending on your choices and actions. Morale will play a small role in combat, but more importantly, high or low morale will unlock new content and trigger particular events – such as mutiny or even a duel for leadership of the group.

TechRaptor: Can we have an example or two of some new traits or opinions party members can hold in Expeditions: Viking? The way they intermingled in Conquistador was really cool.

Jonas: The most important trait is each character’s attitude towards the concept of honour. Honour was a huge underpinning in Norse society, and whether a character is considered to be honourable or shifty (a nithing!) very often governs how they respond to your decisions. Another very important set of traits is whether the character is superstitious or skeptical, which determines how they perceive religion, folklore, and magic. A skeptical character may be less affected by seemingly supernatural occurrences, while a superstitious character would buy into that sort of thing much more. As a final example, where one of the major dichotomies in Conquistador was racism vs. open-mindedness, all the people you’ll be likely to encounter in Northern Europe in the late 700’s are various shades of pale, so in Viking, racism has been replaced by conceitedness – the character’s general attitude towards members of other clans or cultures.​

An interviewer who actually played the original game and knows what he's talking about, impressive.

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