What would it be like to play a bad guy? The developers at Triumph Studios plan to answer that question with Overlord, their fantasy themed PC-Xbox 360 title that will be published by Codemasters in June. FiringSquad got a chance to chat with Triumph's director and lead designer Lennart Sas along with the game's co-story/designer Rhianna Pratchett to find out more about Overlord which mixed elements of action, role playing and strategy titles.
FiringSquad: How did the idea of Overlord come about?
Lennart Sas: We are fantasy fans but got a bit tired of being the valiant Heroes defeating Evil and all those other clichés. We wanted to make a fresh fantasy game and one of the things that immediately popped into our minds was that it would be great to focus on an Action/RPG where you rise to become Overlord with no diluted good or evil. Just evil or really evil.
Of course an Evil Overlord is nothing without a horde of minions who would do anything at his command. We set out to make an Action/RPG, so we had to develop a control scheme and level structure that would focus on this minion horde control. We aimed to closely match it to controls seen in existing Action/RPGs so people would feel right at home.
FiringSquad: What is it about playing the ‘bad guy’ that will make this game different than playing as a ‘good guy’?
Rhianna Pratchett: Well good guys are, by and large, reactive - but the bad guys have to be pro-active. So the good have it easy really. Think about the good guys and the bad guys in LOTR. The bad guys had to fell forests, breed armies and wage massive battles, whereas all the good guys had to do was go for a long walk with a bit of fighting on the way. Easy life!
I don’t think anyone would dispute that being the baddy is great fun. They always get the best costumes, the best lines, the fluffiest cats! In Overlord being bad is all in a day’s work and of course you have your faithful Minion horde at your beck and call, but how bad you choose to be is totally up to the individual player.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the main storyline and the kind of character you play in Overlord?
Rhianna Pratchett: You play an evil Overlord and you start out with the task of tracking down some nasty hero types who’ve been getting a bit too big for their boots. In fact they even had the cheek to kill your predecessor and loot your Dark Tower. As the new Overlord in town it’s your job to sort them out before they start thinking that they can have a pop at you.
But these heroes aren’t all they seem. Fame, wealth and power can corrupt even the stoutest of hearts and bring those walls of goodness and purity tumbling down.
FiringSquad: What is the player’s main goal in the game? Will the player have to be really, really evil in order to win?
Rhianna Pratchett: Tracking down the heroes and your missing tower parts are your main goals, but how you do it is up to you. You don’t have to kill and loot all the time to get through the game. In fact, sometimes it pays to be a little more subtle about things. Living people are so much more grateful and generous than dead ones. And what’s the point in killing all your potential worshipers? There’s no sense in being an evil Overlord if there’s no one left to fear you!
However, you will gain access to certain spells based on your corruption level (how evil you’ve been during the game) but each spell has its own benefit and you can still reach the end of the game with a relatively low corruption level (even zero – an achievement in itself!). But then again, you are an Overlord, so you’re never going to be a Mr. Nice Guy!