It's been quite some time since we last checked in on Razorwax to see how progress is coming along on Darkfall Online, so last week we sent off a batch of questions for the game's lead designer, Claus Grovdal. Here's what he had to say:
GB: It's been nearly two years since we talked to you last, so can you give us a quick summary of where you stand in the development of Darkfall?
Claus: We have come a long way since the first GameBanshee interview. Back then we had the four guys in a basement, now we have a team of 20 people working hard on finishing the game. We also moved country,from a basement in Oslo, Norway to modern offices close to the Olympic stadium in Athens, Greece. We all have a nice tan now.
Darkfall is entering closed beta testing in September this year. The closed beta is fully playable, with most core features implemented. We will be adding features and content during closed beta, while we gear up for the next beta stages.
GB: In the past couple of years, have any of your design goals changed? Has anything been cut/added from the development process?
Claus: Very little has changed. We have stayed true to the original design, and kept almost all of the features promised when we launched the Darkfall site two years ago. We sadly had to remove some popular features such as flying mounts, for reasons having to do with game balance issues related to sieges, and deformable terrain, due to possible latency issues. We have tried to make up for it by adding more content than originally planned. We'll be looking at possibly implementing these features at a later date.
GB: The Features section on your website claims that Darkfall Online will have one of the best quest systems ever seen in a game. Can you describe the quest system and exactly why it bests any before it?
Claus: I'm afraid that the quest engine is one of the game elements we have to keep under wraps for now.
GB: For those who are unfamiliar with Darkfall Online, can you give us a description of how the clan system will work and what goals a clan might strive to achieve?
Claus: Any player can form a new clan, and we have provided excellent tools for the clan leader to organize and run the clan. In-game message boards, donation tracking, assigning and changing member ranks, voting on guild issues, diplomacy interface to other clans, statistics, messages of the day, event scheduling, etc. We have tried to cover everything clan leaders could possibly need to make their life easier.
Clans may strive to achieve different goals. Some clans will be happy building a city, develop it and try to live in peace with their neighboring clans, and defend what they’ve built. Some clans may enjoy being traders and travel the world being merchants. Some clans may be mercenary hiring their combat readiness out to the highest bidder, and obviously some clans will strive to conquer and enslave other clans, building a massive empire with numerous cities.
GB: Can you tell us about the different methods of transportation that you will be implementing?
Claus: Foot, mount, boat, magic. We have tried to balance travel, so that it is not easy to move a huge army across the map. This is something we will fine tune during testing, and try to make sure it's as balanced as possible.
GB: Will player housing be part of the game at its initial release?
Claus: Absolutely. Players and clans can build complete cities, even empires with all the buildings you can imagine, ranging from small personal cottages, to huge castles, shops and defensive structures. Even boats can be built and owned by the players.