Interview with Jay Adan at Cyberlore:
This Interview is broken down into three distinct
Development][About the Game]
Who at Cyberlore have had direct involvement on the
That's actually a tough one. Everybody has had
a hand in it at one point or another. Here's the current credits list.
It's probably the safest way to make sure that nobody gets left out*
PROJECT AND DESIGN LEAD:
Peter J. Lawson
Scott E. LeBlanc
FREESTYLE QUEST DESIGN:
Kevin Manthei (KMM Productions)
VOICE AND MUSIC DIRECTION:
We would expect the folks at Cyberlore to be avid
game players. Is there any game in particular that seems to draw
more attention from the Cyberlore employees than others?
How long have you been working on Majesty, and can
you give us some idea of the stages of development it went through to get
where it is today? How much has changed from the original specification?
Well, interest in different games waxes and wanes
like the tides. Pretty much every game of note that is released gets played
by SOMEBODY here. The one game that is holding the most attention among
the largest number of people here is Soul Caliber for the Dreamcast. We've
spent many lunches trying to beat each other up since we got it. It is,
hands down, the best fighting game ever made by human hands.
Actual production of the game started, I believe,
around mid-1998. The original design doc that I have by my desk is dated
1996 - which tells you how long it can take for an idea to actually become
a game. The great time involved has almost as much to do with getting a
publisher interested in that idea as it does getting the thing completed
once you have a publisher.
The changes from that original design-doc are
actually very minor. The core ideas are all still intact and even the details
about things such as units, buildings, and their different abilities all
resemble their original designs pretty closely.
What was the original motivation for creating
Actually, Jim Dubois attributes the original
inspiration to a minor event that occurred while playing Settlers 2.
While watching one of the units in that game go about his regular task
without input from him he conceived of a game where ALL of the units would
act on their own with the player only providing guidance instead of direct
Once the demo is released, what work remains for
an official release?
Even though I believe that the design for Majesty
is unique, people still compare Majesty to a number of different titles.
This may be a stretch, but the closest game in similarity to Majesty that
I can think of is Dungeon Keeper. What would you say are the differences
between Majesty and Dungeon Keeper as far as game play is concerned?
Well, it's all of that little detail that doesn't
sound like much until you start adding all up. Add a button here, make
this function work a little better, update this art and so on. All of the
quests are still being played and balanced and played again. Multiplayer
quests are getting the same treatment of course. There's also a new cinematic
that we've had in the works for a while now that's getting its final once-over.
Well, the most drastic difference (aside from
setting of course) is the fact that in Dungeon Keeper you can still take
your units, pick them up, then drop them into a combat. There's none of
that in Majesty. Another thing is that units in DK tend to act more like
Majesty's henchmen. That is, that they have a small range of things that
they do without question. Heroes in Majesty have a pretty large array of
possibilities to choose from depending on what's going on in the world
around them. I agree, comparing Majesty to DK is a stretch but I also agree
that it may be the closest thing to Majesty out there.
Will there be a scenario editor as those found
in games such as Age of Empires II and War Craft II? A scenario editor
can sometimes make or break a game. Games like Warcraft II and Total Annihilation
met additional success because of it. If yes, what types of options
can we expect?
In Majesty we have what we call Freestyle Games.
That is, you choose from a set list of options like starting forces, enemy
forces, wandering monsters, map type, and so on. Then the computer takes
your choices, tosses them together, does some randomization, and gives
you a new quest. With all of the options available to you this gives you
a lot of replayability.
Will there be difficulty levels?
Each of the quests is rated one of three fairly
broad difficulties. With a game like this where some things are randomized
every time you play there can be a range of how easy an easy quest might
be. This is also true because the responses of your heroes can vary from
game to game as well. They have so many factors that affect their reactions
that you can't really guess with any certainty whether a hero is going
to respond a given way at any given moment. In fact, learning hero behavior
becomes a very important part of the strategy of the game.
Will there be a tutorial system and if so, how
will it work?
In the easy levels there will be "help scrolls"
that will appear at different locations that give you advice on what to
do next. Majesty does not have a steep learning curve but you also want
to make sure that those of us who like to start playing before we ever
crack the manual can jump in with both feet and not be overwhelmed.
How does the combat system work? What attributes
are used to define the different character classes (i.e. defense, attack,
armor, luck, personality)?
Here's the list of stats for heroes*
A character's physical capacity.
Intelligence (INT): A measure of a
A character's stealth and craftiness.
A character's general constitution.
Willpower (WILL): A character's
Hand to Hand (HTH): How proficient
a character is at
Ranged: How proficient a character is at
Parry: How proficient a character is at
deflecting melee attacks.
Dodge: How proficient a character is at
Resist: How proficient a character is at
avoiding harmful magical spells.
Will certain classes be more capable against certain
types of monsters? If so, can you give us an idea of who will be
better against what?
Rangers do poorly against skeletons because their
arrows do little damage against them, Rogues don't do well against them
either. Most of the other examples have to do with ranged opponents against
heroes with melee weapons or magic against monsters with high magic resistance
(or counterspells!). I wouldn't want to ruin the surprises for you though.
In game if you have not yet built a guild hall,
is it possible for you to take in any money?
Sure! The Palace generates a little income all
by itself. Many of the buildings do. I've had situations where I got nearly
to the end of a particular quest but my Kingdom had been so devastated
by the main wave of attackers that I had to carefully hoard the money that
my palace and one other guild were generating. I could only hope that my
surviving heroes could protect the kingdom without reinforcements!
Will you be able to build walls around your city?
What types of fortifications are available?
Majesty has no walls. What we do have are Wizard's
Towers (that shoot a magical bolt of energy at enemies when enchanted),
Guardhouses, and Ballista towers.
What determines the "fog of war" in the game?
This is of special issue in a multi-player game where different players
will own the home towns to different
heroes, but any hero can technically be bribed
into working for either player (did that make sense?).
I think that I understand your question. There
is no "fog of war" in the game. At the start of any game the majority of
the map is unrevealed. As your heroes explore the area the map is revealed
permanently. There is also a Wizard spell that you can cast that will reveal
parts of the map as well.
Is it possible to have heroes attack other heroes?
For instance if an opponent has placed a reward on an object and heroes
are going for it, could you put a
price on that heroes head to keep them from getting
Can any monsters be coerced into joining your
side via spells or cash for example?
Spells, yes. Cash, no. Two examples of this ability
are the Cultists and Priestesses. Cultists get a spell that will charm
monsters. Priestesses have the ability to summon skeletons to defend them.
There is also a spell that the Temple to Krypta can let you cast to give
skeletal aid to other heroes as well.
Is Majesty it, or will you be exploring the concept
further? Are there going to be expansion packs? Has there been any
thought of a massive-multiplayer
version or a persistent world version (i.e. Majesty-Online,
Majesty Quest, Majesty 51, etc.)?
There are plans in the works for follow-on products
like an expansion and sequel. If there were other plans than that I wouldn't
be able to talk about them yet.
What is the final music format going to be? (i.e.
MP3, proprietary, stored on CD so you can pop it in your stereo, etc.)?
You'll be able to pop that puppy into the stereo
and play it.
We here at Majesty-Dragon would like to express
our thanks to the folks over at Cyberlore and especially to Jay Adan for
taking the time to do this interview. We understand that with the
imminent demo release, their time is a commodity. The extra effort
is greatly appreciated!