Hooked Gamers: Hi, and thanks for participating in our interview. Would you like to start things off by introducing yourself and telling us a little bit about what it is you do on the team?
Hooked Gamers:: Disciples III: Resurrection is an expansion pack reintroducing the Undead Hordes as a playable race. The Undead are one of the most popular races in the Disciples series. Tell us a little bit about them and what makes them so likeable.
Alexey Ilin: The Undead Hordes is a very special race. Other races in Disciples 3 are more or less classic fantasy races but Undeads are rather different from what they used to be in other games.
Our Undead Hordes are close to those introduced in Disciples II:
- Slow zombie and skeleton fighters.
- Ghosts with the ability to paralize.
- Powerful wizards with 4 paths of development. One way leads them to becoming Vampires with the ability to drain life out of their targets. Second leads to Archlich, third to Reaper and fourth to Nothingness.
- Werewolves – are fighters that are immune to weapons, but they cost a lot of money.
- Wyverns – are rather strong but it will take 2 leadership points to have 1 in the party and players will have to think twice if they want to take it or not.
As you can see, they have a more varied unit pool to choose from when gathering armies and they can use a wide range of strategies in the game. For example: a player can gather a party of paralysers with only one melee fighter, and this can work out even though the Undead fighters are very slow.
Undeads are not the strongest in terms of health or attack power, but they always have some special abilities and tricks up their sleeves.
Hooked Gamers: Disciples III: Renaissance received very mixed reviews but everyone seemed to agree that the art style, aesthetics, and lore were among the best in the genre. The Artificial Intelligence on the other hand was generally thought to be lacking and even at the most difficult setting failed to provide a challenge for the elite among armchair generals. Have you made any changes to increase the difficulty on the higher settings?
We have also been working on the strategic part of the game and have made lots of improvements. We left the “Easy” game mode for players who are just starting to play Disciples and learning the rules of this world, but we made the “Hard” difficulty level much more challenging for the player. On the “Hard” level, the AI is significantly more aggressive, uses magic on the global map and skills in combat. The difficult level not only modifies AI behaviour, but it even improves mobs standing on the global map.
Hooked Gamers: Renaissance was also criticized for a rather monotonous musical score that, despite fitting the mood perfectly, appeared to loop too often. Have you made any improvements in this department with the expansion?
Alexey Ilin: We’ve added a completely new soundtracks for the Undead Hordes. These tracks were also written by Daniel Sadowski, the composer who wrote the music for Disciples 3: Renaissance.
The new score turned out to be very special! We were trying to make the Unded Hordes not only look unique, but have unusual sounds too. We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of music should be associated with this race and finally decided that it should be close to ancient eastern music. The Undeads have been dead for a long time, their music should sound mystical and a little bit unreal.
Well, after all that we’ve done with the sound our team really hopes that a lot of players will enjoy the results and like the soundtrack as much as we do.
Hooked Gamers: Many fans of the series have been calling for a return of the import feature which, in Disciples II, allowed players to import and export their leaders in single player maps. Do you have any plans of bringing this option back?
If not, why not?
Each map is generated by the level designer who sets to work on it knowing all the starting parameters. For example, he understands that players will start with a weak party in the beginning of a single player map and he sets the mobs up to let the player develop his character and game level. If we were to let players import a 30th level hero to this map he’s sure to defeat these mobs by merely glancing at them. This feature simply ruins the balance. That is why we decided to avoid this by replacing it with other interesting features.