Interview : Kingdoms Under Fire: Heroes
After playing Kingdoms Under Fire: Heroes at E3 this year I had
a hard time describing the game to friends. The combination of strategy
and hand to hand action was a refreshing change from the other entire
standard genre games on the floor so when we got a chance to submit
interview questions for the game we leapt at the chance.
GamingNexus: What’s your name and what is your role on the project?
Hello, my name is Jay Eom, and I am a Product Manager for Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes (KUFH) project.
GamingNexus: What is the back story behind the upcoming game? Is it set before or after the last game?
Jay Eom: Heroes is set in the same time frame as Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders (KUFTC).
But this time, the seven campaigns of Heroes will depict the Encablossa
War (the main plot point of The Crusaders) from more personal and
closer viewpoints. One of the campaigns features what happened to the
characters five years before the whole war started. Another campaign
parallels the time frame of The Crusaders to show what really went on
behind the curtain. Another one covers what took place after The
Crusaders as well. Overall, the storyline of Heroes will make the
Kingdom Under Fire world a richer and more detailed place, but players
do not need to have a previous experience of The Crusaders to
understand and enjoy Heroes.
GamingNexus: What lessons have you learned in the development of the series?
Jay Eom: With Heroes as our second Xbox title, we’re still
learning many things. A lot has to do with how to achieve balance
between two seemingly opposing qualities: Eastern style vs. Western
style. Also, we’re learning to balance development goals to incorporate
a challenging title for hardcore gamers with a friendly and inviting
title for casual gamers. The list goes on, and we’ll keep learning.
GamingNexus: For those who haven’t played any of the previous games,
how would you describe the game play? Is it more action or strategy?
Jay Eom: Well, it’s basically either way you want it to be –
Action with some strategy or RTS with some action. Our intention was to
create an intricate balance between action and strategy. Although your
character is the strongest soldier out there, it’s impossible to
achieve a total victory by having him kill everyone. Inversely, if you
aren’t making a good use of the general, you’re not an effective
strategist. NOW, the player can decide to focus on either part of the
game. If you’re having more fun with the action part, do it more,
that’s a good way to win. If you’re about being a brainy strategist, go
ahead, that’s also a nice way. Just make sure you don’t completely
abandon the other part.
GamingNexus: Will gamers who didn’t play the first one be able to hop right in or are they going to be a little lost?
Jay Eom: Those who haven’t played KUFTC won’t have problem
playing KUFH at all. Newcomers can start from the Easy level campaigns,
where each mission is designed to guide the player through all the
basic controls and techniques. By the time they get to the Normal or
Hard levels, there won’t be much of a difference between a previous KUF
fan and a new challenger. For those who’ve finished KUFTC already, they
can choose to skip the easy level, or breeze through it quickly to
check what’s been added/changed.
Same with the storyline, too. Existing
fans will be rewarded by building a much more elaborate and richer
world on top of their existing knowledge. However, new comers can just
treat it as a new game and still enjoy the show.
GamingNexus: Can you talk about the different sides in the game?
Jay Eom: There are 2 major sides who are fighting for the control
of Bersia continent: Human Alliance and Dark Legion. Unlike what their
names suggest, it’s not about a struggle between the forces of good and
evil. They are just two different groups of people fighting for their
own reasons. But that’s not all there is to it. Sometimes there are
internal conflicts within the same side, and sometimes the two sides
collaborate for a common interest. Gameplay wise, the two sides are
played very differently. Even seemingly similar units, like Archers and
Dark Elf Archers, or Cavalry and Orc Riders, have totally different
characteristics and require different strategies.
GamingNexus: What are the biggest additions to this game from the first one? What feature are you most proud of?
Jay Eom: The biggest addition (and my pride) would be the
totally rejuvenated Xbox Live features of the game. We’ve really
expanded the online features of the original, and included extra
features as well.
GamingNexus: Are there features that you wanted to put into the game and couldn’t?
Jay Eom: During any game’s development cycle, there are always
things that had to be cut out due to time constraint. For KUFH, we had
quite a few interesting ideas, but the time forced us to postpone them
until the next Kingdom Under Fire title.
GamingNexus: Was there any thought to porting this to the Xbox 360 or was it strictly Xbox all the way?
Jay Eom: From the beginning, KUFH was started as an Xbox title.
KUFTC was a title that was specifically designed and optimized for
Xbox, and with KUFH, we wanted to show the world what we really can do
GamingNexus: How many missions will there be in the single player side of the game?
Jay Eom: In single player mode, there are fifty missions divided
up among seven different campaigns of different difficulty settings.
When you finish all of them, you can create your own mission through
Custom Mission mode. You can easily set up any kind of mission you’d
like to play, and the possibility is infinite. If you’re just too lazy
to even do that, go to Random Mission mode and the game will create
random missions for you. So, all in all, we’re talking endless hours of
gameplay in single player mode alone.
GamingNexus: What kind of multiplayer will be in the game? Is it
strictly a deathmatch or will there be other modes like co-op?
Jay Eom: On Xbox Live, KUFH supports three different gaming modes.
In Troop Battle Mode, up to six players can join the battle at
the same time. Divided into two teams, each player will need to control
his/her armies to defeat enemies and support allies. It’s a
strategy-intensive deathmatch and a good teamwork is essential to the
ultimate victory. Don’t forget to keep your allies updated on the
battle situation through Voice Communicator.
Hero Battle Mode is where you forget about all the complex strategy,
teamwork, options and menus. Just pick a character, quickly start an
arcade-style match, and smash the buttons until you see no one else
standing on the ground. Of course, if you’re an action fan, know your
ways with the combos and special moves, and have good allies, it’ll be
even more fun. Again, up to six players can play at the same time.
Lastly, Invasion Mode is a co-op mode where three players need to team
up to fend off waves after waves of AI enemies who will throw
everything in their arsenal to defeat you. You will be heavily tested
on your strategy and teamwork, but even when you couldn’t survive till
the end you still had a good time with your friends.
On top of the three gaming modes, there is Spectator Mode where you can
enter other players’ games just to watch what they’re doing. This is a
good tool to learn the different tactics you need for online survival.
GamingNexus: How many different characters are they going to be?
Jay Eom: There are seven new characters this time. Some of the
characters are the popular lieutenants from KUFTC returning as playable
characters. I’ve heard a lot of people wishing they could control the
lieutenants as well, and that’s what they got. I hope they are happy
now to control the sexy vampire, Morene. Also some are totally new
characters. Although they did not appear in KUFTC, now you get to see
through their eyes to add another perspective to what really went on
behind whole war.
GamingNexus: Is there an expected release date yet?
Jay Eom: Very, very soon! I’d like to thank Jay for taking the
time to answer our questions and to Stephanie at AEG for coordinating
the interview and putting up with my constant nagging.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
Hi, my name is Charles Husemann and I've been gaming for longer than I care to admit. For me it's always been about competing and a burning off stress. It started off simply enough with Choplifter and Lode Runner on the Apple //e, then it was the curse of Tank and Yars Revenge on the 2600. The addiction subsided somewhat until I went to college where dramatic decreases in my GPA could be traced to the release of X:Com and Doom. I have been a Microsoft Xbox MVP since 2009.