One of the new titles announced at this year’s Paradox Convention, little is known about A Game of Dwarves aside from what’s on the fact sheet they provided us (and the assets), we sat down with the CEO of the studio to get some initial details on this quirky title.
Strategy Informer: So, just to start off, can you tell us a little bit about your studio and what you guys have done previously?
Robin Flodin: The actual company is only eight months old, but we started long before that as a university group of students who set out to make videogames. We worked on our first game for a long time, Team Assault, which is coming out soon. Then me and a friend made a game called Dwarves!?, which is on Steam, and then we decided to try and get a contract with Paradox, and here we are.
Strategy Informer:So has this game been seen before then?
Robin Flodin: Well, the first game, it’s not the same series, but there is some spiritual succession there.
Strategy Informer:And what inspired you to come up with A Game of Dwarves?
Robin Flodin: Well, like I said, part of it was Dwarves!? – It was like a mixture of Dungeon Keeper and Lemmings, and then we wanted to make a bigger 3D game with Dwarves, and we wanted to look at management games like the old Bullfrog games, like Theme Hospital. But we also looked at more modern games like The Sims and Minecraft. Minecraft for the creativity, and The Sims for looking after the dwarves.
Strategy Informer:What would you say are the main facets of this game?
Robin Flodin: Well the first pillar is creativity – you can build big halls, tunnel systems, shafts… and then you can furnish the various rooms. The other part is more of the challenge – you need to face the evils of the unknown which you run into as you play the single-player campaign. (ED: Calling it right now – Balrog)
Strategy Informer:Are you restricted to just a single plain or can you build up and down on various levels?
Robin Flodin: You can build on several different planes. I don’t want to say how many, but you can have vast, multi-tiered halls that have several tunnels leading into it. It’s a full 3D game!
Strategy Informer: You’re releasing on PC (Mac) and the PSN. The 360 is conspicuous by its absence, any comments there?
Robin Flodin: Well, I can’t really talk about ‘why’, (ED: seems to be something all Paradox games have to deal with) but one reason I guess is that it’s also hard for a very small team like us to deliver across so many platforms, so we decided it’s better to go this way. You never know, it might end up there if we have more time. But most people have as many people as we have on the entire game, just for the Xbox 360 version. It’s a big thing for us just for us to do PSN.
Strategy Informer:How does the game control on the Playstation 3? Wouldn’t you need a lot of finesse for a game like this?
Robin Flodin: The great thing is – we were looking at games like Dungeon Keeper – is that it’s indirect control. You’re not constantly clicking on something, you highlight something and someone *might* go there. So it’s more about planning, and you’re not really clicking all that much, and that’s why we thought it would work well with a controller because it doesn’t need as much finesse.
Strategy Informer:Do you use your own engine for this game or is this something Paradox has helped with as part of the partnership?
Robin Flodin: We use the same engine that War of the Roses uses. (Ed: Really?) It’s a really good engine, although we’re pushing it to the limit in other ways. We may not be pushing it as far as polygon count goes, but we are pushing it in terms of how many units you can have in the game at once. They showed us the initial cap limit, and we were like “can we raise it?” and they asked by how much and we said “er… a million?” *laughs*.
Strategy Informer:What about the modding community? Will you be releasing any tools; does your game even lend itself to modding?
Robin Flodin: Not right now. It’s hard because the world is randomly generated, there’s not much level editing, so we couldn’t release one of those. We love the modding community though, so if they come to us with something we’ll try and help them.
Strategy Informer:Do you have a release window in mind? Are you a 2012 title or will you not be ready until next year?
Robin Flodin: It will be later this year yeah
Strategy Informer:Any last words for the readers?
Robin Flodin: If you like creativity, management… especially the bullfrog games, then you should keep an eye on this one. We think there aren’t that many good management games right now, and I think a lot of people will be happy about the Dungeon Keeper and Theme Hospital themes…
Apart from the trailer, there wasn’t anything to see on this game at the convention, but we thank Robin for taking the time to come talk to us anyway. Hopefully you’ve got an idea of what this game might be like, and as far as we’re concerned we wouldn’t mind giving it a go.