Summary: JCal talks with Titan Quest developers Iron Lore about the new expansion pack to their fabulous action RPG.
FiringSquad: First, was Iron Lore pleased with the reactions that Titan Quest generated among gamers and critics?
Michael Verrette: Overall we were pleased with the reaction to Titan Quest from both gamers and critics. In some cases, I think people may have been too quick in drawing comparisons between Titan Quest and other Action/RPGs. Our skill system, for example, is incredibly flexible and offers a great deal of replayability and offers something unique to the field of Action/RPG games.
FiringSquad: When the time came to develop the expansion pack what were the development team's main goals?
Michael Verrette: We viewed the expansion as an extension of the original Titan Quest. Many of the features and improvements players will find in Immortal Throne were things that we simply could not squeeze into the development cycle for the first game. In fact, the team was already ramping up on Immortal Throne production within a week of going gold on the original Titan Quest so for us it has really been one long project.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about Immortal Throne's storyline and how it relates to the original game?
Michael Verrette: The story in Immortal Throne begins right where Titan Quest leaves off. Players will find themselves seeking entrance to the underworld of Hades to stop a new army that is marching on the living. Along the way they will encounter many famous names and faces from mythology and history ranging from Achilles, Agamemnon, Chiron, Minos - the list is rather extensive.
FiringSquad: Will there be any new skills and abilities for your playable character in the expansion?
Michael Verrette: We have added a ninth skill mastery to the game in Immortal Throne which adds nine new class combinations for players to experiment with. The dream mastery was designed to be a powerful primary skill choice with enough flexibility to serve as a great secondary mastery for both caster and melee characters. Topically it is a unique and non-traditional skill family for a role playing game and it quickly turned into one of my favorite masteries in the game.
FiringSquad: What sort of quests and locations will Immortal Throne contain?
Michael Verrette: Immortal Throne spans several levels and locales in the Mediterranean before plunging into the depths of Hades where players will journey along the river Styx, through the Plains of Judgment, the Fields of Elysium, and on to Hades Palace. All these new levels are packed with over 30 new quests.
Michael Verrette: One of the great things about Immortal Throne and using Hades as a backdrop is it gave us a little more artistic freedom in terms of the types of creatures we could create. In Titan Quest we tried to stick very closely to the typical mythological creatures that people would be familiar with. With Immortal Throne we were able to take things a little further and push the creature design a bit more than we did in the original game. Creatures such as the Anteok, Odontotyrranus, and the Siege Walkers were very popular around the office.
FiringSquad: What other new content can we expect to see in the expansion?
Michael Verrette: The expansion will also feature caravans, which are a new type of NPC that will store additional equipment for players. They will also allow players to transfer items between all of their characters. So if you stumbled across a great staff with your warrior, you can now transfer that item over to your casting character. As I mentioned before we have also added Enchanters to the game which will allow players to create artifacts and also allow them to separate relics from items - for a fee of course.
FiringSquad: Will the game get any graphical upgrades for Immortal Throne?
Michael Verrette: The graphics engine is the same as it was in the original Titan Quest with the exception of some optimization and minor features, but we have raised the bar with respect to the look and feel of the levels. The level designers focused on taking advantage of vertical space in Immortal Throne so the new gameplay spaces feature more vistas and more areas where the player will be using elevated gameplay spaces. We have added a lot of environmental effects and particle effects to some of the new levels to establish the mood of Hades, which makes the Immortal Throne content quite different than the original Titan Quest levels.
FiringSquad: What is the status of the expansion's progress and when will it be released?
Michael Verrette: Immortal Throne has gone gold and will be shipping to US stores on March 5th and will be available throughout Europe shortly thereafter.
FiringSquad: What hints can you give us about Iron Lore's plans following the release of the expansion?
Michael Verrette: There isn't much I can say about what we are currently working on at Iron Lore. We hope to continue to grow the Titan Quest franchise and are exploring new and exciting directions to take our next game in.
FiringSquad: Is there anything else you wish to say about Immortal Throne?
Michael Verrette: I would just like to wrap up by saying I think the Immortal Throne really rounds out the Titan Quest experience and adds a new dynamic to the game without making it more complicated for those playing for the first time. Between the new content and replaying the entire campaign with nine new class possibilities I think players will really enjoy what this expansion has to offer.
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