Battleforge Interview: Volker Wertich

Written by Joe Martin

May 14, 2008 | 07:55

Tags: #battleforge #interview #phenomic #settlers #spellforce #strategy

Companies: #electronic-arts

BT: Ok, now you’re the Creative Director for Battleforge, can you tell us what that means exactly? Job titles in this business are all over the place!

VW: Yeah, so I’m originally the founder of Phenomic Studios and I’m always looking to invent new games and series. The Settlers series was invented by me, as well as the Spellforce series and now the Battleforge series. Right now, Battleforge is my baby.

Basically then I’m responsible for the original idea of the game and I’m in charge of many of the Lead Designer positions. I make all the design decisions as well as doing some of the Producer’s work and doing a lot of presentations and tours. Like this.

BT: You said “the Battleforge series” just then – does that mean you have Battleforge 2 planned already?

VW: Heh, well since Battleforge is an online game we have a longer life than other games and we’ll continue to work on the game after release. We will continuously release new maps, new card additions. Depending on the success of the game we may have a very long lifetime or a shorter life time, obviously.

Battleforge Interview: Volker Wertich Overview

That said, we have sequels in mind and our game-plan goes over into years.

BT: Now, Battleforge is a card-based RTS, but from what I saw earlier it looked very similar to a traditional RTS in that you’re creating units in a normal way and putting them down. How exactly does Battleforge differ from a standard RTS game then?

VW: Ok, so the thing is that the cards can be anything. A vehicle, a room – anything. What it is though is a collectible item that you own, ok? A virtual collectible item that you personally own. Having a card lets you then produce those units in a match.

You then take twenty of those cards and form a deck that you take into battle. The deck directly defines any unit, spell or item you take into a game.

Of course, this is a real-time game too. So, as soon as you produce a unit or play a card you have access to these new units which you can control like you’re used to in a normal RTS game.

In other words, the cards define your tech tree.

BT: Did you draw inspiration directly from card-based games then? Where did you get the idea?

Battleforge Interview: Volker Wertich Overview

VW: Really it comes down to two things – Persistence and Rewarding. We wanted to make sure that the world was both persistent and rewarding for players, that at the end of the game the player actually earns something and will still own it tomorrow. Something that the player can then grow and develop. A card game works well for this because players can get new cards, can develop new decks and so on.

So, if you win games and are victorious in a PvE or if you win tournaments in PvP or whatever then you get rewards. Now, that may make sense but it’s also a big change compared to other games because just rankings and statistics aren’t usually enough to motivate most people to play.

BT: I couldn’t agree more on that last point. It seems to me though that a reward isn’t really a reward unless you stand to lose as well. You can’t have gain without loss. So, can you lose things in Battleforge too, say if you lose a tournament?

VW: No. If you play less good, you don’t advance as quickly.

BT: So there’s an incentive to do better, but you can never actually lose a reward?

VW: Correct. You cannot lose cards. We never want to take something away from the player, it just means that if you keep losing then you’ll advance in smaller steps than someone who plays better.
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