Hooked Gamers: Hi, thanks for participating in this interview. Could you tell our readers who you are and what your involvement is with Warhammer: Mark of Chaos?
Chris: Hi, my name is Chris Wren, Senior Producer at Namco Bandai Games and project lead of Warhammer: Mark of Chaos.
Hooked Gamers: The game is commonly referred to as a RTS, but there appears to be some aspects, such as the tactical map and one-on-one hero battles that do not fall under the traditional definition of this genre. Could you describe how these affect gameplay and how it helps set this game apart from other RTS games?
Like your regular units that level up over time, you will take special interest in developing your Champions, with the equipment that they wear and the skills that they learn. The Champion units also shift the balance of power quite a bit in multiplayer gaming, beating an enemy champion is not just a morale loss to the enemy, but you can actually scavenge the fallen heroes and take their items like armor and weaponry as your own. Before going to battle you will prepare your army by resting up depleted units and gaining blessings from the local temple, you will also need to choose who from your army will be going to fight, as some areas of the campaign cannot support your entire force. You will be able to call in reinforcements from your remaining forces, but the decisions you make here can be critical to your success. Before the battle begins you will have a chance to deploy your forces as you see fit, so that your strategy begins long before the battle horn is sounded, and what you have left is to see if all of your preparations stand up against the enemy AI or opposing player(s) in real-time. Within the real-time battles, there are numerous layers of strategy we have added. Champion dueling is one of them, but also important is understanding the mission ahead of you, and how to use each of your units to their maximum potential so that you don't complete the mission with half your forces left bleeding on the field.
Almost every unit in the game has some unique attack, or magic power, or formation that when used properly will keep that unit alive longer and the enemy crying for mercy. If you see a group of cavalry start to charge you can brace for impact and raise your spears, if a cannon is about to fire on your position, you will have the opportunity to run your units out of the way or attempt to interrupt the cannon by preemptively hitting it. Formations, magic, special attacks and defenses are all a strong part of any strategy, but these are all fairly standard RTS practices, where Mark of Chaos stands apart is in its use of fear, morale and other psychological tactics layered on top of it all. When you see a powerful attack break the morale of your enemy and send them fleeing or when you draw the aggro of an opposing unit to your Champion with a devastating spell to spare the lives of your foot soldiers, this is where you will see the battlefield come to life like never before.
Hooked Gamers: As we understand it, it is not possible to build new castles. However, as part of their defense, the player has control over a stronghold or castle and these will be provided for him (pre-built) at the start the game. Are you able to strengthen these perhaps with higher walls, extra towers, defensive weapons etc?
Chris: Most of the keeps and castles in the game are pre-built. Throughout the campaign you will have the experience of defending and attacking many different sizes and types of these. If an event occurs at one of these structures, there is no time to build a new tower while the siege is happening, your role here is to either defend the castle, capture the castle, or level it to the ground. To this end, we have borrowed from some of the tabletop rules for Warhammer with a capture and hold mechanic that involves you taking and defending multiple objectives within a castle to claim it as your own.