There aren't very many turn-based strategy/RPG hybrids out there, so when one of them comes along and looks as good as Masters of the Broken World does, I stand at attention and listen intently. But listening isn't always enough for a game with so much depth to its inner systems, so I turned to Snowball Studios' Vladimir Tortsov to see if he'd be willing to delve a little deeper into the game's mechanics. Luckily, he was, and so I present to you the first half of our lengthy Q&A:
GB: Masters of the Broken World started out as a prototype in 2007 and was even released in 2009 as "Eador" in some territories. Can you elaborate more on the game's history and why you've continued to iterate on the same concept for so many years?
Vladimir: That's right. The original game was started in 2007 by a games designer Alexey Bokulev, who managed to create the 2D TBS strategy called 'Eador' almost alone. The game looked like this.
In 2010, 'Eador' was released by an indie Russian publisher Snowball Studios in the retail as a limited edition with a bonus soundtrack. The sales were good, but the game wasn't published anywhere outside CIS and was available only in Russian. Then it was decided that 'Eador' deserves the chance to conquer the Western markets. The reasons were simple: it's a great game, the press and gamers love it (average game rating was around 80%).
Thus was started The Masters of the Broken World (MBW) project. Lead game designer is the same Alexey Bokulev, who created the original game from the scratch, but he isn't alone anymore - Unicorn Games (developers of XIII Century: Death or Glory) is in charge of the technical stuff like AI programming, new graphics and interface, etc. while Snowbird Games (formerly known as Snowberry Connection. Yes, we aware that some of us have a weird passion for snow) is acting as an overseer of the production process.
As for the second part of the question, we find the concept of MBW is extremely promising. Judge for yourself: the combination of the grand strategy (Civilization, Europa Universalis), turn-based strategy mode (Total War) and tactical battles (King's Bounty, HoMM) and it’s actually working!:) All we need to do with the re-make now is to recreate the original game on the modern 3D-engine and correct the minor gameplay imperfections along the way.
GB: We understand that the game will have a heavy dose of role-playing elements. Can you tell us more about the role-playing elements and why RPG fans should be excited for the game?
Vladimir: First of all, let’s define the meaning of role-playing elements. For most games it means that there will be some kind of a role system, characters’ attributes and special abilities, level progressing and weapons with different stats. It is totally OK, but sometimes the real meaning of role-playing is lost behind all these ‘role-playing elements’.
In Masters of the Broken World the role-playing is the way of making decisions and choosing your own style of the interaction with the world. Imagine that in while playing Civilization V or Empire: Total War you’re trying to roleplay Bismarck or Washington – sounds bizarre, isn’t it? It just isn’t really possible because those games are more about the war and conquest rather than about tough political decisions. MBW, on the contrary, is very ego-centric game: it is very important that the player acts as one of the Masters – almighty beings with very strong individual features. As one of them you have the power to choose your own way of ruling the world and that’s what the real role-playing is about, we think.
True RPG fans should be excited about MBW, because it brings the real freedom of choice on the table – that’s something you don’t see every day in the modern videogames.
And yes, we also do have the ‘typical’ role-playing elements like different heroes with different abilities, level progressing, units upgrades and variety of weapons :).