HL: Henry Lee - Director of Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom
CCC: Which aspect of this game do you think the dev team focused on more: the RPG elements or the action elements? Which do you think is more important in a title like Kingdom Under Fire?
HL: I think it's a pretty good balance between the two, but it's more focused on the RPG in some elements - to be more precise, on 'co-op party play through network' and 'growth and development of equipment.' "Circle of Doom" is not a pure action game. The action element is a means to reach gamers in an easy, familiar fashion, with the game's core as RPG.
CCC: How long do you expect it will take the average gamer to play through your game?
HL: For a single-player game in Normal mode, it will take about 10 hours to clear the game with a single character….and there are 6 characters you can play through with different stories and experiences. In Hard mode, about 30 hours per character, and in Extreme mode, we're expecting about 30 hours, but requiring better management of weapons and abilities. Once players focus on the co-op play and acquiring better equipment, I'd say that the replayability value will be much higher.
CCC: What demographic do you think Circle of Doom is targeted for? Are there any implementations in this game that you think may attract people outside your target demographic?
HL: Within the gaming population, roughly two thirds would be male with an average age in the mid twenties who plays mostly RPGs and likes to see gore. We'll also target full-time gamers as well as fans of previous KUF games. Because "Circle of Doom" is not an immensely difficult game to play, we're hoping that more relatively casual gamers of all ages would also be attracted. The core idea of "Circle of Doom" is network co-op play that is both fun and easy-going, so this could appeal to a wide variety of gamers.
CCC: How are you using the online play feature to make the series even more fun for its fans?
HL: About 40 to 50% of the game is devoted to online features - and the rest of the game's contents are factors that apply to both single and multiplayer. Players can unlock areas, battles and loot only accessible when playing online. Furthermore, we have some hilarious downloadable contents planned that are basically silly adornments you can wear and have fun with friends There will also be abilities and enhancements that are only for multiplayer games. We actually did not plan for any single-player game modes during the first stages of development, but this wasn't exactly in accord with Microsoft's policies, so we added the single player game later on. This shows how online-focused"Circle of Doom" is.
CCC: Many sources have targeted the online accessories as a source of humor and enjoyment in this game. Is this intentional? How difficult is it to imbue such a mature game series as Kingdom Under Fire with what has been cited by many as something genuinely funny?
HL: As I've stated before, "Circle of Doom" is all about 'four friends having fun and simply enjoying themselves,' like at a party. The game looks serious and moody, but we tried to hide some amusing factors throughout the game. There are also some very cool-looking adornments, but there are also adornments that allow players to stand out in a crowd in a comical fashion (more will be added later for marketplace download). This is one of the basic philosophies of the game - trying to 'pretend' to be serious, yet subtly showing some humor behind the curtain.
In the previous "Kingdom Under Fire" series, you could overhear some weird conversations between the soldiers. I've always been a staunch supporter of the idea that humor should be a huge element in all games, so we had no problem with going for simple laughs.