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[PC] [MAC] Age of Wonders III

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[PC] [MAC] Age of Wonders III

Unread postby icycalm » 06 Feb 2013 14:56

Big news today. I am really excited about this, and it looks Very damn cool.




Age_of_Wonders_III_City_Overview.jpg ... -this-year

Robert Purchese wrote:Dutch studio Triumph (Overlord) is bringing the Age of Wonders strategy RPG series back to life with Age of Wonders 3.

Triumph co-created the series with Epic Games in 1999. The last instalment in the series was Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic in 2002.

Triumph is targeting an autumn 2013 release for Age of Wonders 3 on PC, but won't force it if it's not ready. There are plans for a Mac version - maybe even to launch simultaneously - but these aren't set in stone. Later on, a tablet version may appear.

It's not a Kickstarter project - work began in 2010 before the Kickstarter boom - and it doesn't have a new-age business model. Age of Wonders 3 has high production values and will be sold on Steam and Good old Games and in boxes in regions where that's appropriate.

Who's funding it? That's a good question. I spoke to lead designer Lennart Sas and he told me the game's "big partner" is an announcement for a later date. Note the way he said "big partner" and not "publisher". I asked him to clarify this and he said "that would sort of spoil it [the announcement]".

Then I asked him if the "big partner" was Epic Games, given the studio's history with Age of Wonders and its presumably large amounts of money. I think I caught him off guard.

He laughed and replied: "You've been reading up! That's something for a later moment."

Epic Games has partnered with studios in a kind of publisher role before. Perhaps this also means Epic Games has acquired a stake in Triumph too, although that's just speculation.

In Age of Wonders 3 you'll attempt to lead your empire to glory. The leaders of each empire are varying types of stereotypical fantasy heroes: rogue, druid, priest, warrior and engineer.

As in the Total War games or the Heroes of Might & Magic games or the King's Bounty games, there's an explorable world map with oversized heroes/pieces that you move around. There's also a separate battle screen where fights play out.

In Age of Wonders 3, battles are turn-based. There's a simultaneous turn-based mechanic which means you don't wait to make moves and the battle is sped up as a result. You can auto-resolve - have the AI play out the battle for you - too.

Because battles aren't real-time, Triumph has been able to establish a play-by-email multiplayer mode - as well as a raft of fight-there-and-then multiplayer options. The play-by-email mode lets you take your turn and mail your move to your friend, inviting them to take their turn when they're ready. Video replays show you what happened turn by turn. You can have multiple battles with different people on the go at one time.

A scenario generator will be able to churn out limitless content, and there will be a toolset available to the community to build your own content with.

Post-release you can expect a more classes, races, city upgrades, units, heroes, magical items, spells, map locations, scenarios and story campaigns added as DLC.

I've only played the second game (out of 3, apparently; the third one is called Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic and appears to be some kind of expansion to 2), and it's a solid grand strategy title. Not as good as Master of Magic, but definitely at least a 4-star game, if not a 5-star one. It's been a decade since I played it though, so I can't say I remember all that much about it besides that. And the trailer for this new one is great, so I am definitely pumped up about it:

The art direction could use a bit of work, but from a movie direction perspective, it's top-notch.
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Unread postby icycalm » 06 Feb 2013 15:16

And by the way, "strategy RPG" my ass, it's simply a grand strategy game, now with tactical battles as well, apparently (not sure if 2's expansion had them, but 2 certainly didn't). The Euroretard ignoramus didn't manage to get through the first line of his preview without blurting out something stupid.
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Unread postby alastair » 13 Feb 2013 23:47 ... came-about

Turns out the "big partner" helping fund Age of Wonders 3 isn't Epic Games but is Notch, creator of Minecraft, real name Markus Persson.

He's contributed to such a degree that Dutch developer Triumph Studios (Overlord) doesn't need a publisher for Age of Wonders 3, although distribution and co-publishing deals aren't ruled out.

Why is Notch doing this? Because he's a fan of the Age of Wonders series.

"We noticed Minecraft's random title-screen blurb mentioned Age of Wonders," he told me, "so I thought what the heck and I sent Notch an email.

"We had a demo for Age of Wonders 3 and talked to various parties including traditional publishers. There was certainly interest but the prospect of having Notch help fund was a dream come true, as he's a fan of the game and didn't insist on owning it like many of the publishers do these days when they fund development.

"It certainly didn't happen overnight," he added, "and he kept a healthy business sense towards the project. His biggest concern was that it would cost him a lot of time, so it helped that we made this sort of game before and were at an advanced stage of development.

"Notch is pretty much hands off. He's a super busy man, now even more so then when we approached him."

Age of Wonders 3, unlike so many resurrected PC series of late, has avoided Kickstarter and opted for a more traditional and probably more expensive development approach.

Work began in 2010 and the turn-based strategy RPG looks to already be in good shape. It's due out this autumn on PC. A Mac version is planned and may even launch simultaneously. A tablet version is on the cards as well but will take longer to make.
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Unread postby dinopoke » 11 Mar 2013 08:56

3289.jpg ... rview.html

Strategy Informer: It’s been 10 years since the last Age of Wonders game, why bring the franchise back now?

Lennart Sas: As the game that started our company, Age of Wonders remained very dear to us and we wanted to get back to it at some point. While we were working on Overlord we recharged with new ideas for a future Age of Wonders games. It’s funny that thematically both series are quite similar, in both games you’re playing leaders of fantasy realms, though of course the game play could hardly vary more. Still, certain ideas like putting the leader characters central can be attributed to the Overlord period.

Of course there’s also a business reason. The license to the series’ original publisher expired. This allowed us to do a digital re-release of the series on sites like Steam and GoG in 2010. We were very happy with how that was received; I think the original games now made more money in royalties from digital sales than from the original retail games for us. Thanks everybody that supported us in that way. The core PC games market seems to be going through resurgence; it’s great to be back with Age of Wonders during these times.

Strategy Informer: So you’ve been in development for a while without announcing it. Why take so long to announce the game?

Lennart Sas: Well, after ten years of waiting we thought the fans wouldn’t mind to wait a little longer! But seriously you’re right to make that comment. The games industry is getting more transparent. Through Kickstarter more gamers are expecting games to be announced at an earlier stage than before with them having active input throughout development. We went the old fashioned route: prototyped and implemented essential gameplay and tech systems before announcing. The advantage of this old way is that we are able to carefully lay down the foundations and there’s less chance of us promising things that later change. A side effect is that we’re able to make bigger impact with something of substance to show on announce and making that a basis to discuss with the fans - there’s still plenty of room for input.

Strategy Informer: You’ve dubbed it a modern reimaginging of AoW, how much will fans of the Age of Wonders games recognise?

Lennart Sas: Age of Wonders III absolutely stays true to its turn-based roots, with its mix of sweeping fantasy strategy, empire building and role playing mechanics. The game maintains its focus on detailed combat mechanics and multiplayer modes. Signature features such as the terrain modification and tactical combat system all remain.

Next to keeping the core gameplay systems intact, we also want to recapture the atmosphere of the originals, especially feel of the first one which many fans thought was the most magical. We are very happy to have gotten a lot of the original team together, including externals such as musician Michel van den Bos and writer Raymond Bingham.

Strategy Informer: Equally, what are some of the more drastic new changes?

Lennart Sas: The biggest change is that we made the leader characters more central than before. Players are no longer limited to playing wizards, but can chose to be a wide range of RPG-like character classes that include Warlord, Theocrat, Rogue, Sorcerer, or the tech focused Dreadnought, along with a choice of race and specializations that include spheres of magical. The skills coming from your leaders not just determine your personal or magical abilities, but develop your entire empire. Basically your empire is an extension of you. As a Warlord you create Spartan civilizations, as a Rogue you lead a rogue state squeezing out your own population while destabilizing the realms of others using stealth and acts of terror.

We have also changed the alignment system. No longer plundering Elves are fixed to a “good” alignment, this now changes according to player actions. An Orc Warlord playing like Mother Theresa will see his character’s relations to the outside world improve. Together with the leader customization, this change allows for to a stronger leader role-playing experience and varied gameplay, where your customized character and actions have an impact in the game world on many levels.

Strategy Informer: What was the rationale behind going 3D? Did you ever consider sticking with 2D?

Lennart Sas: There was no doubt in our minds that 3D would greatly benefit Age of Wonders 3. It doesn’t just make the game world more immersive – battles are now proper clashes between armies as opposed to chess boards - it also helps us to better represent player actions and customizations in terrain and the characters. The race-class combos probably weren’t possible to visualize if it wasn’t for 3D. The map views can contain more information with the players smoothly for player to smoothly scroll and zoom in a 3D map.

Strategy Informer: How different is the turn-based strategy landscape now to ten years ago, or even a couple of years back?

Lennart Sas: Turn-based games have been making a comeback; I think there hasn’t been a revival like this since the golden age of the genre in the mid-nineties. Some of the biggest strategy series are turn-based (e.g. Civilization and Heroes of Might and Magic) or feature significant turn based parts (e.g. the Total War series). We’ve seen X-Com return, and many phone and tablet games feature turn-based mechanics. At the same time the classic RTS genre isn’t as dominant as it used to be. Starcraft II sits alone at the top and the MOBA subgenre has taken a large part of the pie. Part of the reason is cyclical, with niche genres making a comeback with the rise of digital distribution.

Turn based games, especially 4X games, allow for a massive scope and variation with many ways for developers to implement all the aspects of running an empire. And as gamers mature, they might favor slower paced games that can be played in bite-sized chunks.

Strategy Informer: How unique will each of the computer-controlled AI components feel to fight? Have you spent time giving each of them a sense of personality?

Lennart Sas: Age of Wonders is a game about fantasy war, so rival AI Players have the intent to ultimately crush you. Some will go about it by being ruthless, using scorched earth tactics and not caring about their alignment. Others take a turtle approach by first building up their empire before making a move to steamroll the world.

We’re making great advances in AI, the advances in CPU power over the last 10 years is greatly helping with us with this. We have also reduced some game play AI bottlenecks like transport ships that were easy to sink by human players. All units now get their own ship and are able to use most of their abilities. Also Automatic Combat AI now uses the full tactical AIs, this also allows players to reply battles using the full 3D engine.

Strategy Informer: How has the UI changed? Is there an element of having to ensure it’s reasonably streamline?

Lennart Sas: Since Age of Wonders Shadow Magic got released, pc game interfaces have advanced a lot of course. Our goal is that strategy fans shouldn’t need any form of manual to play the game and feel right at home. We mostly stick to the genre’s interface conventions a have carefully layered information and options so screens aren’t obtrusive. Information is available via abundant mouse-over popup screens, to view descriptions but also see which modifiers affect resources or units for example.

Strategy Informer: Has having Notch help fund the game had any drastic impact on the game from a design perspective?

Lennart Sas: Notch is very busy with his own company and projects, he’s pretty much hands off on the project. It’s great to have him attached to the project as both an investor and a fan though and an inspiration on how he looks at games and interacts with his community. We’re working our asses off so we don’t disappoint him just like our other fans.

Strategy Informer: Has that situation given you freedom a publisher wouldn't have been able to?

Lennart Sas: It’s hard to say what would have happened if a publisher had gotten involved early, perhaps the next Age of Wonders would be a F2P iOS game! (not that we have anything against these type of games though). Triumph has always created original games and probably has experienced a larger degree of freedom compared to other studios for most of its titles. What we do notice is better interaction with the fans now the game is announced as we don’t have a publisher’s PR department breathing down our necks.

Strategy Informer: How much freedom will players be given with the toolset?

Lennart Sas: The community has created fantastic levels and mods over the last ten years, and has helped keep the series alive. Good tools have been on our radar since we started working on the project. For Age of Wonders III and its expansions, we plan on rolling out level and campaign editors to the community, either with the game or soon afterwards. We're looking into ways of opening up other areas of the game to modding as well, though we haven't made any final decisions on how far that will go.
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Unread postby dinopoke » 27 Mar 2013 14:04

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Unread postby Qpo » 19 Nov 2013 05:24

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Unread postby Amor fati » 26 Feb 2014 16:27 ... arch-31st/

Lennart Sas wrote:Now, after more than 3 years of development and more than 10 years of waiting from the fans, Triumph Studios is ready to confirm the release date for Age of Wonders III: March 31st!
Pre-orders have started at Steam and and at retail in select territories. We have a Digital Regular and Deluxe Edition available. The latter adds the truly epic Dragon’s Throne scenario and a fabulous two hour soundtrack; don’t miss out on this! And we have added a free pre-order gift: The Elven Resurgence scenario, which takes the series’ back to its roots in the ancient Heartwood Forest.

Pre-order now at Steam and GoG via our Shop page.

To celebrate, we have a brand new Official Gameplay Trailer showing all the game’s leader classes in action, in case you weren’t sold already!

Thanks for your support!
-The Triumph Team

Official trailer:
Archdruid & Random Map footage:
Rogue footage:
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