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Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War III
Interview with Philippe Boulle by Wikia and Wikihammer 40k
- Wikia: The trailer has left many intrigued. In fact, there are several theories on the internet about it. We could regain our sleep if you cleared some of its meaning.
- Philippe Boulle: [laughter] Well, the trailer is really designed as a sort of surreal mood piece. It’s not a direct link into the story, other than showing that there’s a conflict between the three races, and that it really has reverberations larger than them. It’s sort of that cycle of war and death. We really wanted to play up that theme, and then, in the story, in the campaign, we have an expression of that theme, which is more plot-based. The plot is about a mysterious planet, and an asteroid arriving from the Warp, and there’s supposed to be a mystical Eldar weapon on the planet. And so, our three armies – the Eldar, the Space Marines, and the Orks – are fighting to get there. Some are fighting to get it for themselves; others are fighting because they think this is going to go sideways somehow, so they’re fighting to stop others from getting it. And indeed, things do go a little sideways once they get to the weapon.
- Wikia: Is it some kind of vision? Or is it just a created way to show the conflict?
- PB: Yeah, we started it as, it’s supposed to be essentially a dream-like state. Definitely, you can think of it as a vision that one of the characters is having; but it really started as a pure piece that we wanted to create to explore the darker, surreal edges of the 40k space. So, I do like to think of it as a vision from one of the – from, maybe, Farseer Macha, who’s the Eldar hero, the psychic hero; but that’s not its original conception.
- Wikia: That’s a funny thing you say because it’s an actual question from one of Warhammer community fans – if it’s a vision from Farseer Macha.
- PB: That is what I like to think of it as, but I would be lying if I said that’s how the idea was born. The idea was born more as a pure expression of the darker corners of the space.
- Wikia: We left the Blood Ravens after a deep internal fight, a civil war between Loyalists and Traitors. Will we find a strong and unified Chapter, or does the Chaos taint still linger?
- PB: Well, you’re never going to completely escape the fact you had that half of the Chapter fall. So, that’s always going to be part of their backstory. But we are definitely picking them up at a stronger point where they are unified behind their Chapter Master; they’re driving forward and dealing with this new threat and new problems. That being, the Blood Ravens, part of their personality, part of what makes them fun in the spectrum of Space Marine Chapters is they’re the ones who aren’t quite as trusted by the higher-ups, if you will. Whether they deserve that or not, I’m not 100% sure. But that is part of – there’s a certain suspicion from organizations, like the Inquisition. You will see hints of that in the story, but it’s not a situation where you have to know all the background details. If you have been following the story from the get-go, you’ll understand more details as to where those suspicions come from, but if you’re new to the story, you’ll feel like it’s the bureaucracy vs. the military. That’s the sort of the vibe you’ll get.
- Wikia: Gabriel Angelos is clearly seen in all the videos. Will we see again the other heroes we met in Dawn of War II?
- PB: We will see some of them, yes. [laughter] Yes, we will see some of them. We won’t see all of them because there’s a lot of heroes. But there’s several of them that show up in the story. I would love to go out and explore all of them, and catch up with them. Those are characters that are close to my heart. I was the narrative guy on Dawn of War II, so they sort of burst out of my head at some point; so I’d love to go back and explore them.
- Wikia: Does the game have any resemblances to the previous titles (Dawn of War I and II), or is it absolutely different to both of them?
- PB: It absolutely has some resemblances. You know, this is a Dawn of War game. We spent a lot of time looking back at what made both Dawn of War I and II great in their ways, and what we wanted to bring forward. That being said, a lot of time had passed, and we wanted to make sure we were building a new and fresh game. There’s a lot of things that people will recognize from previous games, like large armies, squads, and the resource system – you know, even the base building is back from Dawn of War; there’s definitely some familiar points there. But a lot of the details have changed in order to make a game that stands on its own. Just to cite a few things: base building is back, but the selection of buildings is slightly different, and you can build across the map, you don’t have to concentrate all around these points. There’s also much less randomness, in weapon fire, for example. So that makes for clearer, somewhat more predictable outcomes when you have a tactical match-up, that makes it so that you can understand why one unit was defeated by another unit. We feel that’s really important in order to discover that as you play, and be able to hone your strategy and not be sidetracked by what under the hood is a lucky dice roll.
- Wikia: You would say there’s a more transparent ruleset behind everything?
- PB: PB: Yes, absolutely. Clarity in rules and player agency were our two guiding principles in designing gameplay. I think it will show as people play through the game.
- Wikia: With base building back – I’m a huge fan of base building so I’m very happy that base building is back. Is there also other stuff from Dawn of War II like leveling up heroes, and stuff like that, to make them stronger between missions?
- PB: So we have heroes, we call them Elites. You pick from your roster, you bring three into every match. We do have a progression model, but it’s much less vertical than the campaign was in Dawn of War II. It’s more about adding a few secondary properties to them, and their effect on the rest of the army. They’ll be pretty much at their full effect even at level 1, you’ll just be off a few options. The approach we wanted to take was, rather than having a bunch of knobs that you could turn on each individual hero, to bring the decision-making up to the army level. You’re choosing which heroes to bring in – that’s the key gameplay.
- Wikia: Wikia: About multiplayer, will the online servers be powered by Steam like in Dawn of War II?
- PB: In terms of the server architecture and so on, we’re going forward with the battle servers we inherited from Company Heroes 2. To get a little bit technical, it is a peer-to-peer system, but they get served and enhanced by an off-site server
- Wikia: Will there be some balancing system, like in Dawn of War II, so that you fight players with a similar level of experience?
- PB: Yes, the automatch system will match peopled based on level of experience.
- Wikia: How many players could be allowed in one multiplayer match?
- PB: So, 3v3 is our default mode, but we will support, you know, 1v1, 2v2 as well.
- Wikia: Is there going to be something like the Final Battle mode from Dawn of War II - Retribution?
- PB: : I would’ve loved to ship with The Last Stand, I’m a big fan of The Last Stand mode, but we needed to build the single-player mode and the multiplayer mode, make those strong, and then adding that third mode is probably something we’ll look more into in the future.
- Wikia: Talking about single-player, can you give us more insight into the campaign? Will be like in Dawn of War II?
- PB: The campaign is linear. So you play mission one, then mission two, then mission three. Where the innovation is, is that you’re changing points of view mission to mission. Mission one is Space Marines, mission two is Orks, mission three is Eldar, mission four is back to Space Marines, and so on. Then that allows us to do a variety of fun things, like have the player know more than any of the protagonists because they’re seeing it from different perspectives, and do almost a call and response, where you set up a situation as a Space Marine, but then resolve it as the Eldar, and then deal with the aftermath as the Orks, and then come back to it as the Space Marines. You’re sort of moving each other forward.
- Wikia: We're still enjoying mods for Dawn of War I. Will Dawn of War III have official support for mods and customisation tools for modders?
- PB: Mods have been a huge part of Dawn of War I, Dawn of War II, they’re a large reason why people are still playing those games now. So, absolutely, mod support will be part of Dawn of War III. We’re not at a point where we have all the details worked out, but I’m looking forward to being a couple of years down the road, and talking to you guys about all the awesome Dawn of War III mods. So yes, there will be mods.
- Wikia: Thank you very much!
- Spanish Wikia Staff and Wikihammer 40k members. Original post in spanish. A gift for our english-speaking battle brothers ;)