Elemental: Fallen Enchantress Interview

NeoGamr has slapped up an interview with Stardock's Derek Paxton, in which the vice president of digital entertainment fields quite a few questions about tomorrow's strategy/RPG release, Elemental: Fallen Enchantress. There's quite a bit to glean from the questions and answers within, but I'll quote the two that hit home the most for us:
What were your goals in developing Fallen Enchantress?

I believe in the concept of Fallen Enchantress, 4x strategy in an RPG world. I saw a lot of potential in that concept and an opportunity to make a game that I would love to play. I believe in Stardock as a world class developer of strategy games, and I was honored to be able to join that team. There were 3 primary goals when the project began, to create fun tactical battles, to make an interesting world, and to create powerful spells. We implemented those and played the result. The move was in the right direction, but it wasn't good enough. I asked Brad (CEO of Stardock, Executive Producer and Lead Developer of Fallen Enchantress) for an extension and he granted it. We went back with 2 additional goals in mind, faction differentiation and an improved economic model. Once those were in and operating correctly we had our game.

While the game is a turn-based strategy title at its core, it also has an RPG aspect to it. How hard was it to integrate those gameplay styles?

Great question, this was a very thin tightrope to walk. Once we introduced the RPG aspects you put yourself in a place where you are doing something halfway. That's a dangerous gamble, as it often seems like you are doing it, but not well. The goal was to find RPG tropes that made sense at a 4x strategy game level. Bonuses on units when they level-up, is a good example. These upgrades affect the military game and can affect other aspects when you choose skills for your champions that improve your empires research, mana production, etc. We carried that level-up mechanic over into our economic game, allowing cities to level-up as they gained population and pick their specialties. When your city gets 60 population it levels-up and you decide if you want to make that city into a town (ideal for producing gold and improvement that make your entire empire better), a conclave (best for research and magic) or a fortress (best for defense and producing armies).