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Page 1 of 3Handheld game systems have seen their share of role-playing games in the past, but Atari and Kuju Entertainment's ambitious Dungeons & Dragons Tactics for the PSP demands some extra attention. Featuring tactical turn-based combat, all of the base D&D classes and races, 200+ spells, 100+ feats, psionics, an extensive multiplayer component, and a 40+ hour campaign, one would actually think it's being developed for the PC rather than a handheld. To get a better idea of what to expect when the game ships this summer, we fired over a set of questions to Atari producer Lawrence Liberty:
GB: First of all, how is development of Dungeons & Dragons Tactics coming along? Are you still on track for a late May release?
Lawrence: The game is shaping up nicely. It really does capture an aspect of the D&D experience that is often missing in most CRPGs, and that is the strategic component. We have pushed the game back a month, to late June. This was done to allow us time to polish the single player adventure and stabilize the multiplayer element.
GB: How faithful to the 3.5E rules will character creation and advancement be? Have you been able to implement many of the skills, feats, and spells players would expect from a Dungeons & Dragons game?
Lawrence: We have tried to make character creation and advancement as faithful as we are able within the constraints of a handheld console. Inevitably, some details have fallen by the wayside, but we have tried to keep each character class true to the spirit of D&D®. That said, a lot of the skills, feats and spells have been implemented. We have over 200 spells, a hundred feats (including proficiencies), and most of the skills.
GB: What is the maximum level characters can attain in D&D Tactics, and why did you decide to go with such a cap?
Lawrence: In theory characters can reach 20th Level. Though this is a hard cap, players should find it difficult to achieve such a level, simply because of the length of the game. 15th Level will be the natural level that most characters will settle at by the game's conclusion. By this time they will be tough as nails and very hard to beat.
GB: Along with all of the core Dungeons & Dragons classes, you're also implementing two psionic characters - the Psion and the Psychic Warrior. What are these two new character classes capable of? What advantages and disadvantages do they have when compared to the core classes?
Lawrence: Psionic powers are somewhat different to magic, in that the psionic character can augment their powers and therefore choose how powerful the effect will be. The Psion is very much the psionic equivalent of the Wizard or Sorcerer, in that they are focused primarily on their powers rather than physical combat. The Psychic Warrior is an all-around Fighter-like class with powers.
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