is a free-form RPG that looks to have what it takes to join the likes of Gothic and The Elder Scrolls. Combining an enormous and diverse world with a strong focus on player freedom, and new approaches to both combat and levelling, Reality Pump and TopWare Interactive are creating an RPG that could very well push the genre forward with its first iteration.
With the backing of both a proven developer and a burgeoning publisher willing to give this epic game the time it needs, Two Worlds is one of the most promising single-player RPGs in development and should have the attention of all RPG fans. Reality Pump's Miroslaw Dymek found the time to answer a few of our questions concerning this upcoming PC and Xbox 360 title.
Gaming Target: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Please start us off by introducing yourself and telling us about Reality Pump.
My name is Miroslaw Dymek, Technical Director of Reality Pump. We are an established game developer, best known for our award-winning Earth 21X0 RTS games. Our team has been releasing quality games for more than 10 years. My jobs as technical director are supervising development and designing the games.
GT: Before moving on to gameplay, I was hoping that you could tell us about Two Worlds' setting and the scope of its explorable territories. Would you be so kind as to take us on a brief tour of Two Worlds?
Two Worlds features a vast terrain open for free exploration. Several big cities, numerous villages, settlements, ruins, keeps and fortresses are scattered over thematically varying areas. You will visit high, snow-covered mountains in the north, Dwarven foothills, green plains, rocky mountains in the south, desolated lands in the east and a big part of the desert. Architecture changes from area to area, and so do your opponents. It would be simply tiresome to traverse such a huge land on foot, so we implemented horse riding and teleport system, which you will have to activate as a part of the storyline.
GT: APlease give us a sense for the level of freedom that players will enjoy throughout their time in Two Worlds. How much work has gone into placing as few ?invisible walls? (un-killable characters, impassable doors, etc.) in the player's way as possible?
Two Worlds is a fantasy role-playing game with a huge focus on combat, but the story and free roaming are also strongly highlighted. What we try to achieve is to place the action in well-known settings and season it with unexpected story twists to keep the player interested. There is a good amount of places to go and explore. Most of them are completely optional if you only follow the main story, but to learn about the world, its past, mysteries, and maybe even to solve some of those mysteries, the player will have to seek for answers in places tucked away far from the main path. Needless to say, curiosity will be appropriately rewarded.
GT: Somewhat along the same lines, how large do the roles of accountability and good/evil/etc choices play in Two Worlds? Would you care to give us a dramatic example or two of their impact?
There is quite a lot interaction with NPC, mainly through dialogue, but there are also some situations that will force you to make a decisions within a certain (small) amount of time. Taking no action is also a decision, like in the situation where one of your employers is being hanged. Will you attack the guards and save him, kill him with your own hands or just look on as the executioner does his job? Whatever you choose, the decision will resound with serious consequences later in the game.
GT: What can you tell us about Two World's NPCs in terms of interacting with the player character, and also regarding their routines when left alone?
Instead of individually scripted behaviours, every NPC is managed by the same, global AI module. They go about their business, protect themselves and their property, sleep and work, go aggressive or flee in panic. They react as normal people do, with the variety known from real life. Some of the NPCs have specific tasks and they will do everything to accomplish these tasks, some of them simply do not like you, some want to help. They are governed by simple rules but those rules combine with each other and sometimes generate unpredictable challenges and situations. Eventually, you can predict the results of your actions with a sensible dose of accuracy, but never feel the stiffness of totally scripted games.
GT: Moving on to combat, would you tell us about the control setup being employed and where it finds its balance between action gaming and by-the-numbers role-playing? We would also love to hear how horseback combat has been implemented.
The combat runs in real time. Players execute simple attacks, build up sequences with these basic attacks, use skills and cast magic. It is possible to change weapons on the fly, and actually it is very recommended. Every weapon type has been designed to serve a different role. Pole arms are best against cavalry, axes can be used to destroy shields (which play a more serious role than an additional piece of armour), two-handed swords cut through several opponents and so on.
Unlike in many simplified combat systems, we must take care of what we use in what situation, or many crucial skills will not be available at that moment. The combat mechanics treat the player's dexterity and character's skills almost equally, what this means is that certain weaknesses in a character's development can be made up with player's wits and, conversely, lack of gaming skills can be easily covered with careful character management or more time spent in the game. While fighting from a horse back, your hits are much more effective. Especially when you are hitting enemies in full gallop. But it is very hard to aim at this speed.
GT: As for the magically inclined, what will Two Worlds offer in the way of spells and otherworldly powers?
You collect and combine cards that look like small metal plates which allow you to channel magical energy. Cards can be stacked for more power; certain cards can be used to add extra effects and some of them can be used only in combination with certain decks. We decided on such a system to avoid situations where the player is forced to invest valuable skill points in spells that turn obsolete later in the game. Now you can invest only in certain schools of magic like fire, air or even necromancy and the spells must be assembled from cards and placed in magic slots in the character window. It is really very fast, fun and extremely interactive
GT: Reality Pump has made an uncommon step by introducing multiplayer features to an RPG that has such a deep single player experience. How will Two Worlds handle multiple characters? Will players be ?tethered? to one another and act as allies? Will enemy AI's ramp up their difficulty to accommodate the larger threat?
The multiplayer sessions differ from single-player campaign in several ways. First of all, the sessions take place on special maps. Side quest and monsters are generated in accordance to the level of the participants with main theme of the map unchanged. There are up to 8 players in the same session and it is their decisions to they cooperate, change sides or fight each other. The second serious difference from single-player mode is the complete freedom to customize your character. There is a wide range of races, classes, and skills to be chosen as well as powerful tool to customize the look of the hero. What does not change is the openness of the character development process, freedom in dealing with tasks and simply huge load of fun.
GT: Closing in on the end of this Q&A, what can you tell us about Two Worlds' audio presentation?
We want to create a cinematic, but also interactive and tremendous soundtrack. Therefore we working in cooperation with the well-known Hollywood composer, Harold Faltermeyer. He will compose a soundtrack incorporating Classic Rock and Gothic influences. All other sound and voices will also be recorded by a professional studio of course.
GT: Lastly, would you please tell us about Two Worlds' art direction and give us an idea for just how scalable the in-game engine is?
We profited from our work on ?Earth 2160? and created a totally new engine to fit the needs of modern RPG game. The engine is very efficient and gives great effects. We have high-density terrain, photo-realistic vegetation and materials, real time shadows, stunning water, high dynamic range (HDR) and virtually any possible effect you can perform on the newest graphic cards. There are several really powerful in-house tools for generating landscapes, vegetations and particle effects. Their quality equals the best solutions on the market and are even more flexible and user-friendly. The effects are really worth seeing, especially when seasoned with real-time shadows and hi-res textures on hi-poly objects. Did I mention, there are mountains generated according to true geological algorithms? In my opinion, Two Worlds it one of the most graphically advanced games currently announced.
GT: You again have our thanks for lending us your valuable time. Would you care to leave our readers with any last thoughts or impressions?
The ?Two Worlds? project is a milestone in the history of the Reality Pump studio. We hope you will enjoy playing the game as much as we enjoy creating it.
Once again, we at GamingTarget.com would like to extend our thanks to Miroslaw Dymek, TopWare Interactive, and Reality Pump for making this interview possible. Be sure to look Gaming Target for continued coverage of this hugely promising RPG. In the meantime, check out TopWare's official Two Worlds web site.