by Sergio Brinkhuis
previewed on PC
I like your thinking
When you think 'medieval life simulator', you don't immediately think Darksiders. Strangely enough, there is a relation between the two. I'll get to that in a minute.
At last year's Gamescom, my final question for Nordics PR manager Philipp Brock was "will you be bringing back The Guild now that you own the license?". All he did was smile mysteriously, but he did not say no. As it turns out, he'd have been lying if had said no. Work on The Guild 3 started about a year ago and while Nordic isn't ready to show the game to the world just yet, but Nordic Games producer Heinrich Meyer and Golem Labs CEO Jean-René Couture did agree to sit down with us and tell us where they are taking the franchise.
Which brings us back to Darksiders. The Guild 3 is being built from the ground up, using the Darksiders engine as its base. Golem Labs - known for the geopolitical Superpower games - have a wealth of experience building simulations for both entertainment and educational purposes. They are particularly proud of their work on lifelike AI systems which should come in handy developing the AI for NPCs in The Guild 3. One thing we were told to expect is seeing more purposeful behaviour in fellow citizens. They will have their own goals to work towards, learn from what happens around them and develop individual ideas about what you - as the player - are doing either for or against them.
Mind your step
Cities will be divided into different neighbourhoods, separating for instance white colour and blue colour workers and giving you independent reputation standings with both. Your actions influence your reputation and you could easily be tagged as a philanthropist in one neighbourhood and untrustworthy in another. You won't need to be friends with everyone to climb the social ladder, but it helps if not too many citizens resent you. If your strategy in The Guild 2 was to become a master of all thieves, you may want to consider the long-term repercussions in The Guild 3 when you are chasing that important council seat. And pretty much everything can be bartered for. You can buy or sell economic favours and even your daughters hand in marriage.
Fans of the series know how towards the end of a game of The Guild, things became a little lacklustre. You own most of the businesses, the AI would no longer have the funds to make a fist against you and most of the seats in the council would be occupied by your offspring. For The Guild 3, there will be more focus on keeping the game fun in those late stages too. Once you reach a certain status, secret societies will start approaching you, asking you to join up with them and help further their agenda. Doing so gains you not only new friends, but also new enemies among people you may have counted friends before. This also impacts the early stages, as you never know who will turn against you later on, even if you've basically been a good person.
As we could not see the game in action, I cannot verify how much of the above is now part of a working prototype and how much is still in the idea stage. I did get the impression that the developers are ambitious. They will include a level editor at launch to get the rest of us to help build content to make the game even bigger. One to watch.