[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): Hello, Xfire users, and welcome to the Dawn Of War: Soulstorm Developer Chat!
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): With us today is Jonny Ebbert of Relic Games, Developer of DOW: Soulstorm.
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): Before we ask him to start, you should definitely check out and download the exclusive Xfire DOW: Soulstorm skin!
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): Its available for you now at http://www.xfire.com/files/3097/
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): Jonny, if you'd like to start by introducing yourself, lets begin the Dev Chat.
[Relic] Jonny (relicjonny): Hi Everyone! I'm Jonny Ebbert, the lead designer on the Dawn of War franchise. Thanks so much for coming out. I'm really excited to answer your questions and hear what you have to say.
[Relic] Jonny (relicjonny): Question: What's been the biggest challenge during Soulstorm's development?
Answer: Honestly? Coming up with new ideas and concepts for the new races. When you have 9 unique races in the game, this is a serious challenge. We think we've come up with something really cool for each of the new races. The Sisters have a new faith-based economy, and ability system. And the Dark Eldar have their economy based on collecting the souls of the vanquished, and using that to power upgrades and global abilities. We think you guys will like it.
[Relic] Jonny (relicjonny): Question: Will the soulstorm campaign be different or similar to the previous titles?
Answer: We decided to go with the Dark Crusade style of campaign because we really liked the focus on player choice. We really wanted to pump up the volume on the experience, though, so we allowed you to conquer a whole star system rather than a single planet. We also wanted to up the importance of the meta-game economy and reinforcement. I still get really excited every time I pull up the new campaign map.
[Relic] Jonny (relicjonny): Question: How did you go about capturing the essence of the Dark Eldar and how well do you feel you did?
Answer: Dark Eldar are supposed to be pirates that prey on the souls of others to prevent their own souls from being devoured. So we tried to build their entire economy around this (in the same way we built the Necron economy around coming back from the dead). So we added the concept of harvesting souls from the dead on the battlefield. But we thought that this concept was so cool and we wanted to serve a larger purpose, so we campe up with the whole idea of global abilities that you can spend your soul essence on. We really love the choice it offers, and we love using the abilities on each other when we're playing against each other here in the office.
[Relic] Jonny (relicjonny): Question: As well was the introduction of two new races, you decided to implement two new unique resources to go alongside them. Are these new resources necessary?
Answer: Not 100% sure they were necessary, but they certainly are fun. I personally love upgrading my points to save up enough faith to unload some cool abilities on the other guys on the team.
[Relic] Jonny (relicjonny): Question: I have a question, how will pathing for air units work, can they go anywhere on the map, or will they be limited to Fog of War like the air units in the old C&C games?
Answer: Air units can go anywhere on the map. They're not bounded in any way.
[Relic] Jonny (relicjonny): Question: What styles were you looking for with these new races?
Answer: We wanted the Sisters to feel like Joan of Arc. They're the ultimate martyrs fighting for a cause, and they have a supernatural sense of luck, like a higher power is watching out for them. They also have sex appeal...which is always cool in my book. There's nothing sexier than a chic who kicks serious ass. With the Dark Eldar, we were going for the concept of quick strikers, who use your dead against you, and can slowly wear you down if you don't manage to pin them down.
[Relic] Jonny (relicjonny): Question: The campaign follows along similar lines as the one found in Dark Crusade. Why did you choose this more open ended game-play as opposed to a more narrative driven campaign like the earlier games in the series?
Answer: Because I personally hate being dragged along a linear story-driven campaign. I don't feel like I'm conquering anything, or making any cool decisions. All of the major decisions are being made for me, and I'm just left to sort out the details. Basically I'm a tool in a linear campaign, and at the end of every mission, I get a story piece that says, "Great work, tool! Now go do this!" I like being able to mastermind how I accomplish the end goal...in this cause...how to conquer the Kaurava system.
[Relic] Jonny (relicjonny): Question: †Most companies would think itís time for a sequel after 3 or 4 years - but what is it that keeps you coming back and making expansions to Dawn of War?
Answer: Every time we go to events, people are always thanking us for bringing their table top army to life. It's the first time they've ever had the chance to see the units in motion, and doing cool things like stomp the life out of someone. Other people beg us to bring their favorite army to life.† With Soulstorm, we saw a chance to bring two more armies to life. And to pre-empt the next question...why not Tyranids. Because Tyranids are way too cool for an expansion pack ;) Besides, it's not like a third expansion precludes the possibility of a sequel ^_^
[Relic] Jonny (relicjonny): Question: I have read that there will be a named character appearing in SS, how did you get Games Workshop to let you use him?
Answer: Mainly involved me smashing chairs and swearing a lot.
[Relic] Jonny (relicjonny): Question: Do you feel that Soulstorm will be a return to competitive gaming for the Dawn of War series?† Is this a goal of the dev team or are you simply trying to make a fun game?
Answer: We take both of these very seriously. Fun is always the driver, but we try to spend a lot of time balancing the game with our balance team, and with the top players in the community.
[Relic] Jonny (relicjonny): Question: Is there any missions where you get to use a titan? A full scale one, not just the broken arm of one ;)
Answer: Wow...I'd seriously love to do that. If only we could get more than their toe to fit under the camera ;)
[Relic] Jonny (relicjonny): Question: Of the races in the game, which race was the hardest to implement into the Dawn of War Series so far? What about the easiest?
Answer: Space Marines, hands down. They were our first race, so every aspect of the engine and the "DoWness" of the product had to be developed through them. Once they were in place, the other races were much easier to implement. Outside of that...Dark Eldar were probably the second toughest. It took us a while to find their "voice" as in...what they wanted to say and do as a race in our game. I think they turned out well, though.† Outs
[Relic] Jonny (relicjonny): Question: Do you offer co-op placements for young students who are studying computer science?? :D
Answer: Actually, we do! We even have a program where we'll pay your tuition if you are a rockstar and we want to make you one of our franchise players. We're always looking for talented new people who want to be game developers.
[Relic] Jonny (relicjonny): Question: does soulstorm requier much experience from the other DoW games to understand how to play?
Answer: None at all. Soulstorm is a standalone expansion. So you don't need any of the earlier products to play it. You'll also be able to play all nine races in single player. And we didn't make the game any more complicated with any of our expansion packs. We simply added more races to play, and a new unit to each race. Anyone should be able to jump right in.
[Relic] Jonny (relicjonny): Question: I heard that this is the final expansion for the DoW series. DoW is coming to an end?
Answer: They must have forgotten to CC me on the memo...
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): Ok, one more response and we will give away the copies of Dawn of War: Soulstorm
[Relic] Jonny (relicjonny): Thanks so much for coming out and asking your questions. I realize a lot of you stayed up really late for this chat. And I also realize that some of you are frustrated because I'm the world's slowest typer, and because some of my answers are so evasive. But maybe...just maybe...I'll be able to say a few things in the near future that will completely blow your minds. Thanks again for being a part of Dawn of War. You guys are truly what make the franchise so fun to work on.
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): hehe, well Jonny sure leaves with a bang.† Thanks everyone for joining, us, and thanks to Jonny for being with us.† Now, for the lucky 5 who get copies of the new game, Dawn of War: Soulstorm...
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): gmfspartan2
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): raienswiftwood
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): reeelax072
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): JacksOn
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): xanil
[Xfire] Chatteox (chatteox): If you are a winner, please message me.† Have a great day, all!