Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II Interview

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Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Interplay Entertainment
Developer:Black Isle Studios
Release Date:2004-01-20
  • Action,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person,Top-Down
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Black Isle Studios will be releasing the sequel to Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance in just a couple of months, so we tracked down designer Terry Spier to find out more about the console RPG.  Check it out:

GB: First of all, how is Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II coming along? Do you think the game will ship this year yet?

Terry: It's absolutely fantastic! We are putting on the finishing touches this very moment. It's been a long haul, but totally worth it for us! We'll have the game out there for the holidays.

GB: Can you tell us a bit about the five playable characters in the game? Are you still looking to add an unlockable character?

Terry: The five playable characters we have in Dark Alliance 2 will really give the gamer a wide variety of styles choose from. There is Dorn the human barbarian, who, I'm sure you can guess, is the hack em'up kind of guy. A melee god. Then there is Vhaidra the Dark Elf monk. She can dish out her fair share of melee damage, but she also has a wide range of really useful feats, such as stealth and diamond body. Next is Ysuran, the Moon Elf Necromancer. He is the resident spell slinger of the game. Dark Magic is his forte, things like Shadow Summoning, Life Drain and many more. Sick power. Up next, is the Dwarven Rogue, Borador. A crossbow expert, he can do things with it no one else can. He can disarm any trap in the game as well, and when it comes to crafting items, no one, and I mean NO ONE, is better. Last but no where near least is Allessia, the Human cleric. She worships the god Helm. Her healing powers are unmatched in the game, but I really have only one thing to say -- FLAMESTRIKE. :) Currently, there is more than one unlockable character in Dark Alliance 2, but that's all I have to say about that. :)

GB: How many new spells and feats are going to be available in the game? Any particular favorites you'd like to elaborate on?

Terry: On average, the player will start with 22 feats and spells available to them, with several more unlockable later in the game. We kept some of the basic feats from Dark Alliance, such as Iron Will, Sprint, Toughness, etc. Besides those, the rest of the feats and spells are brand new! I can't say enough about the feats! We have so many great ones to choose from. It really depends on which character I am playing, but one of my personal favorites is Ransack. It's only available to Borador, the Dwarven rogue. Basically, you can kick extra loot out of monsters and chests! Talk about getting rich!

GB: What sort of environments will players make their way through in the game? Any particular setting in the game that you find most interesting?

Terry: Players will find themselves is a number of odd settings not normally seen. You can expect the old favorites, crusty dungeons, a visit to somewhere familiar from Dark Alliance, thick forests and the like. Players will also venture in to the elemental planes! Things get pretty crazy there... I like those a lot, especially the Plane of Air!

GB: Tell us about some of the "boss" enemies in the game. What are some of the more difficult adversaries players can expect to battle?

Terry: We have a pretty broad range of boss enemies in Dark Alliance 2. We've got dragons, (yes, that's plural...), vampires, golems, basilisks, ... I think I will stop right there. Don't want to spoil it! :)

GB: What type of side-quests will be available to the five characters, and what type of upgrades will characters receive for completing them?

Terry: How about killing a dragon for a side quest? Pretty nice eh? Oh, and the loot? $cha-ching!$ Actually, all of the side quests have a broad range. Some are epic and others are pretty normal. It's up to you to decide which you want to do. Certain side quests will help the character unlock new feats to use in the game, and others will reward you with fantastic items to dominate your enemies with!

GB: What sort of new weapons and armor will be available in the sequel? Any particular favorites you'd like to elaborate on?

Terry: We have all the fantasy favorites! One and two handed axes, long swords, great swords, daggers, maces, warhammers, polearms... too many to list! As far as armor goes, everything that was in Dark Alliance will be there, leathers, half-plate, chain, full plate and more. The kicker with the items is the item creation system! You can create an almost unlimited amount of different items! Seriously... almost too many combinations... a man could go insane... must stop creating...

GB: Can you briefly detail the item creation system and some of the more powerful a player can obtain this way?

Terry: Certain items in the game (weapons, armor, trinkets) have a quality level. Items with a high enough quality can have precious gems added to them to enhance their performance. Each item has three 'slots' that can hold up to 16 gems. The more gems you put in, the better result you get. For example, you have found a Fine Great Sword. Add 16 rune stones, 16 diamonds, and 16 topaz and you now have yourself a +5 Fine Great Sword of Justice, which has a 75% chance to disintegrate undead on a critical hit and does an additional 5-40 point of electrical damage on every hit. Quite a weapon, but no where near the top of the power scale. As I said before, the number of variations you can create is staggering. Rings, amulets, boots, gloves... anything you can wear can be crafted in to an instrument to aid your performance!

GB: For the Xbox version, do you plan on offering any sort of additional content via Xbox Live down the road?

Terry: At this time there are no plans for Xbox Live material.

GB: You've mentioned that you may implement a new "mode" that players could use in a co-op game in order to discourage greediness. Any new information on this?

Terry: We've changed the gold sharing system to a 'pool' style. It does not matter who picks up the gold or who sells the item. It all ends up in the same pot. This creates more of a team bond and requires a bit more planning when it comes to spending cash. Hopefully, people will play this game with their FRIENDS and fights won't break out when one player wants to buy his +4 Superior Blazing Amulet of Blood, but their partner just spent all the cash on his +3 Remarkable Chain Helmet of Thunder. Wooops! After all, it's call CO-OP play, right? :)

Thanks Terry!