Zoltan Varga, producer of Lionheart: Kings' Crusade, discusses the development process and shares some thoughts on Neocore Games’ previous effort, King Arthur: The Role-Playing Wargame.
Zoltan Varga: Another unique feature is what we call military engineering. Some battles are broken up into episodes – these are the episodic missions where enemy forces regroup after a failed attack and you must deal with a new threat. You can regroup your forces during the episodes in the same battle mission and employ military engineering techniques. For example, you capture a territory from a smaller army, but your task doesn’t end here because you’ll have to keep it as well. Nearby enemy forces arrive to attack you and you’ll find yourself engaged in battle again before you can prepare for another wave. After defeating them, you’ll have time for a deep breath and to do some preparations before the main enemy army arrives. If your reports say that the enemy army has many cavalry units, be tricky and wait for them behind stakes. If the enemy is fortified behind high walls, deploy catapults for a siege and break those walls into pieces. You can also deploy traps like sliding rocks to bury the enemy or oil splashes to set on fire when the enemy army passes by. And, of course, it’s just a lot of fun.
The active presence of the Crusader Factions provides another unique feature in Lionheart: Kings’ Crusade called strategic planning. During the whole campaign you will have to deal with the four different Factions: The Holy Roman Empire, The French King, The Templars and The Papal Court. Before each battle, the various Factions will suggest different strategies for the upcoming fight. Just an example: Factions might tell you to sneak into the enemy camp during the night, conspire with Saracen forces to turn them rogue and betray their army, or simply face them by daylight with many knights on an open field. Whichever solution you choose is entirely up to you. You’ll have to create the best possible army assembly depending on which strategy plan you chose because the different strategies will require different battle tactics and thus very different unit types.
Hooked Gamers: Tactically, how does the game evolve over time and remain fresh from mission to mission? Can you give some specific examples?
Zoltan Varga: Basically, the different mission types and the terrain have significant changes as the game evolves but in the meantime the player gets access to new or upgraded unit types with very different abilities and skills that will require the player to develop new tactics from time to time according to the dynamically changing gameplay environment. For example, in the case of a siege mission you need to fight with completely different tactics compared to a mission in the mountains or the desert. A huge change in the player’s tactics is also needed when they get the first heavy cavalry unit or later when they have a significant number of them (4-5 units).
It’s not the kind of game where you can buy your final army assembly after 3 or 4 missions – hiring and filling up heavy cavalry units for example cost a fortune compared to the cost of light armoured units – thus players have to apply new battle tactics continuously in order to get the best from the changing army assembly. On top of that, the enemy army will change over time as well and players will have to find the best way to fight them off.
Hooked Gamers: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Zoltan Varga: Lionheart: Kings’ Crusade is a great strategy game set in one of the most exciting historical periods. It has huge battles, amazing battlefields, beautiful graphics, and very detailed army management. You can upgrade your heroes and units, hire captains and retainers, and use the terrain and weather conditions to be more successful in battles. You play through the Third Crusade, also known as the Kings’ Crusade, and continue it by taking a somewhat challenging turn until you conquer the whole Middle East. In addition to that you can also take back these territories in the Saracen campaign. You can make political and economical decisions, deal with different Factions, fight the most important battles of the age through episodic missions, arrange tactical objects in the pre-combat phases, bribe some enemy forces, pay for a sabotage, poison enemy supplies, spread rumours to lower the enemy morale, influence the outcome of the battles with strategic planning, and so much more.
Command your army as a talented tactical leader and no one will be able to stand in your way to a glorious victory.
Look for Lionheart: Kings’ Crusade this Friday, October 8th exclusively on the PC.