While not a massive commercial success, S2Games' mix of first person shooter and real time strategy in their original Savage got a lot of critical acclaim for its unique approach to multiplayer gameplay. Now S2Games is planning to bring their sequel, Savage 2, via paid Internet download later this fall. FiringSquad got a chance to chat with S2Games co-founder and lead designer Marc DeForest to find out more about their plans for Savage 2.
FiringSquad: First, what lessons did S2 Games learn in the making of Savage?
: Savage 1 was our first title and our first attempt at creating games. We were all pretty much rookies, so if I were list everything we learned this answer would be 10 pages. I’ll point out a few important things though. We learned that deadlines are important and we must work hard to achieve them but NOTHING should get in the way of achieving the level of quality and polish we have set forth to achieve.. We learned a lot about project management in both asset delivery and programming. We learned to balance “cool factors” with “fun factors” as they are not always the same.
To sum it up I would say we learned a lot about what is necessary to create an awesome game. We also learned many things not to do when developing software and I think that will be obvious when comparisons are made between Savage 2 and the Prequel.
FiringSquad: When the time came to begin development of the sequel what were the team's main goals?
: Our main goal was to capitalize on the success of Savage 1 while making a game that would be easier to understand and pick up while offering the same intense gameplay experience as the original. One of the biggest ways to create a game that was easier to play was including a tutorial and taking the level of polish and interface development up about 10 notches.
Our secondary goal was to continue to provide out of the box, innovative thinking when it came to making games. We feel there are so many more combinations of play styles that can make for better gaming experiences that are just ignored because executives at large publishers fear the unknown.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the playable sides for Savage 2 and how they compare to the sides in the original game?
: The playable sides are still Human versus Beast with the addition of a hidden race that can be accessed by both sides called the Hellbourne. The Hellbourne are very powerful specialty units that are purchased with Souls that are collected from killing an enemy player.
Units on each side are more specialized than in the prequel and have special abilities they can perform. This adds a lot of depth and strategy to the unit combinations a team chooses whereas the original was simply bigger units with more hitpoints and more damage.
FiringSquad: What sort of improvements have been made to make the FPS and RTS gameplay work better together?
: We didn’t feel many improvements were necessary to make the combination of gameplays work better. However, we did add additional RTS elements to the game and drastically cleaned up the RTS interface and controls. One of the beast units has the ability to summon pets and use an RTS view to command them. Also, Officers, which are essentially FPS Action units have a hybrid view where they can zoom out to an RTS top down view and command the units around them.
We made changes to the commander to become more tactically oriented and allow him / her to cast spell onto the battlefield and be more involved late game.
FiringSquad: What are the development team's favorite units and weapons to use in the game at the moment?
: Our favorite units are the Summoner, a beast unit that summons pets; the Behemoth, a massive tree wielding siege unit; and Malphas, a powerhouse Hellbourne unit.