Enter the “Dungeons” with Realmforge Studios

Dungeons Screenshot - 866890

GameZone recently had the opportunity to interview Creative Director Christian Wolfertstetter from Realmforge Studios on their upcoming project, Dungeons.

Dungeons storyline follows the adventures of a dungeon lord whom creates elaborate labyrinths to trap heroes in his grasp. With the goal to harvest their soul energy, players take control of this diabolical dungeon lord and must create torture chambers and extravagant prisons to lure in new victims.

So let's literally get to the bottom of Dungeons with Wolferstetter and see what the future holds. GameZone: Outside of the obvious name differences, what set’s Dungeons apart from Dungeon Keeper? Christian Wolfertstetter: In Dungeon we're focusing more on heroes than they did in DK. In DK they were more of a nuisance and sometimes a threat. In Dungeons, they are a threat but also the main resource in the game. Therefore many aspects of the game deal with heroes. For example your monsters don't have any needs or necessities, they simply stand beside a spawn point and wait for heroes to arrive. You can say that we somewhat turned the tables. Instead of keeping your creatures happy, you keep your heroes happy (although with a sinister ending for them in mind).

GZ: Could you go in-depth on the implementations of both the strategy and simulation genres into Dungeons?

CW: Heroes roam your dungeon constantly. Like every good hero, they have certain needs they want to satisfy. For example, a thief wants to disarm some traps and find some gold. So you have to provide them with both to make them happy. Happy heroes generate soul energy. When you beat / kill a hero, you gain their soul energy (you can get even more by imprisoning or torturing them). So the simulation aspect actually refers to satisfying hero needs.

However, heroes are also a threat, because they want to destroy your precious dungeon heart which would mean sudden defeat. Luckily for you, completely satisfied heroes leave your dungeon. The strategic aspect is to defend your dungeon heart, and (if available in the current mission) destroy the enemy heart.

GZ: Why do you feel players often like to represent and play as the villain/baddie in video games?

CW: Most video games that are produced nowadays have a good main character. Evil characters are still rare.

I think that's one of the major aspects. The players out there have seen hundreds of dungeons, killed the inhabitants and looted their gold. But how many opportunities did they have to change sides and welcome heroes to their own “caverns of chaos”?

Another aspect might be, that it feels almost like doing something (morally) forbidden. Being the bad guy and try to imprison heroes? Definitely morally questionable! But we all know that forbidden things sometimes have an irresistible attraction.

GZ: What was the reasoning behind having the protagonist fall prey to his ex-girlfriend? Do you think this will resonate well with gamers?

CW: Dungeons doesn't take itself too seriously. The background story of the game emphasizes this point. Actually it sounded (at least a bit) reasonable, when we came up with it. Would a Dungeon Lord look out for scheming underlings? Definitely! But could he fall to the plans of an attractive demon-woman? Possibly …

I don't think that the gamers out there will have any objections. GZ: What is your favorite boss battle experience from the title?

That's hard to say, since we are still working on some parts of the boss battles. However, all of them seem to be fun. Personally, I like the dynamics of the fight against Minos, the minotaur. He's a tough guy and doesn't need any minions to give you a hard time. He uses some bull-like tactics as you can imagine. GZ: How elaborate can the player-made dungeons be?

CW: The player doesn't only build rooms or paint tiles. He can place everything where he wants it to be, like torches on the wall, prison cells, treasures, and so on. It was important for us, that the player has almost complete freedom in building his dungeon so that it truly looks the way he wants it to be.

Of course the dungeon still has to be functional for heroes. But one of the reasons why we made heroes the way they are in the game was that we thought this might produce the best looking dungeons.

GZ: What classic hero classes are you showcasing in Dungeons?

There are several different dungeon levels in the game. The catacombs, the uppermost level features starting heroes like novices and adventures. They are poor with only rags or cheap armor. Later you will see typical heroes like fighter, mage and thief. In the last dungeon level more powerful hero classes like the paladin will enter your dungeon.

GZ: Will the player have the eligibility to upgrade his minions, and if so, could you fill us in on one of the upgrades?

CW: The player can upgrade all minion spawn points. This can get you several different bonuses. For example it can increase the line of sight given by a spawn point, spawn your monsters faster or increase the monster bonuses. Some monster have special abilities like invoking new needs within heroes which means that they can generate more soul energy. You can also upgrade the monster level so that they still stand a chance against higher level heroes.

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