Majesty 2 - The Fantasy Kingdom Sim Updated Q&A

The heroes of Ardania are back, and they apparently did not live happily ever after.

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Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim
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We've seen city sims, flight sims, and military sims, but fantasy sims? Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim set itself apart in 2000 for its unique blend of real-time strategy, simulation, and fantasy role-playing elements, and gathered a small cult following in the process. Now, publisher Paradox and developer 1C: Ino-Co are back with Majesty 2, a sequel that will see you raising heroes from the populace and sending them forth to slay nefarious enemies wreaking havoc across the kingdom. But how do you motivate a hero? We sat down with producer and CEO Alexey Kozyrev and asked. Here's what he had to say.

Hero archers can fell enemies from a distance.
Hero archers can fell enemies from a distance.

GameSpot: The original Majesty was an addictive blend of real-time strategy and fantasy role-playing. Eight years later, how are you expanding on the core concept in Majesty 2?

Alexey Kozyrev: The core concept is indirect control, and as such we are adding new "Incentive Flags" so that the indirect control of our heroes is smoother and better. Majesty fans will know what I mean by "Incentive Flags," but for those unfamiliar with the concept, players basically flag characters in the game in order to have certain actions like attacking, exploring, etc. performed.

In many other aspects we just want to keep the addictive gameplay of the first version while bringing it up to modern standards in terms of interface and gameplay. The past eight years have raised the RTS genre to the completely new level of usability. We want RTS gamers to feel comfortable in Majesty 2.

GS: It's always difficult as a new developer taking over an existing IP. What challenges have you run into so far?

AK: We were in touch with the original developers Cyberlore very early on and as soon as we had received all available material from Majesty 1 and the Northern Expansion--our vision for part two became very clear. We've all spent a good deal of time playing both games and the key challenge for us so far has been to ensure we design a multiplayer game with good balance. The first part was designed with a focus on the single-player campaign.

GS: Walk us through the city-building aspects of Majesty 2. The fantasy world is slightly different than settings in other empire-building games. What key structures will players need to construct to grow their budding kingdoms?

AK: The castle is located in the heart of the player kingdom and the number one goal is to defend the castle, because it houses his Royal Majesty. The heroes live in guilds, so players will require a great deal of guilds to quarter all heroes. The next step is to build a marketplace and smithy for these heroes, which will be used to buy new weapons, armor, and potions to serve his Majesty better and longer. If everything goes according to plan, the kingdom will attract new peasants and citizens. As a result the city will grow and prosper, and new buildings will appear to give the royal tax collectors much more gold.

GS: What really set Majesty apart from other top-down RTS games was the addition of heroes, like wizards, knights, and healers. What heroes will we see in Majesty 2?

AK: Players will be able to encounter all the classic fantasy hero types including but not limited to dwarves, wizards, paladins, and rogues. We will try to keep the culture and religion of Ardania, but will modify the heroes in comparison with Majesty 1. For example, players will find that the nomadic barbarians, Krolm adepts, have become mighty blade masters since centuries will have passed from events found in the first part.

GS: Of course, for every hero you need a villain. Tell us about some of the nefarious enemies in Majesty 2, other than the giant troll we saw rip apart a peaceful village with his club before taking a nap in the town square.

AK: I don't want to reveal too much about the villains at this stage, as this is one of the key elements of the game. The work is on track and we are busy balancing all villains to ensure they all have different behavior. I can reveal, however, that players will encounter many of the most memorable villains of Majesty 1, like Minotaur, Ratman, Shade, Vampire, and others.

GS: The Majesty 2 video trailer showed off a blindfolded archer in a baseball cap, a sort of Robin Hood/Daredevil hybrid. Seriously, who is this guy?

AK: That was just a high-level hero. The background story is that the hunters of Ardania can become such skilled archers, that it becomes impossible for them to miss and they need to blindfold themselves to keep challenged. As for the baseball cap--it's a fashion item that appeared in Ardania, when a mighty wizard summoned a powerful hero from another realm to slay a dragon. When the hero immediately fled back to his realm after receiving the business proposal, he lost the cap on the way.

GS: Heroes had a mind of their own in Majesty and often chose to mind their own business if not properly motivated to slay dragons and invade enemy empires. How have you updated the reward system to further motivate your heroes?

AK: As I mentioned above, we have added several new types of incentive flags, and while I can't go into the specifics about which options will be available to the players, I think the variety of choices will appeal to them.

GS: Last time you talked to us you mentioned hero parties were in the works. Can you create a fellowship of Super Friends to embark on epic quests? We're thinking a wizard, dwarf, ranger, elf, paladin...

AK: The player will be able to select which type of hero he would like in the party; however, high-level heroes will not want to make fellowships with new ones. In such cases they will be more likely to wait until the appropriate teammates come along and create parties with them.

GS: The original Majesty opted for single-player scenarios instead of a full-fledged campaign mode. What is the single-player structure of Majesty 2?

AK: We want to keep the scenario-based style of the single-player campaign; however, we will reward the player for accomplishing different levels with heroes and spells that can be used in coming battles.

A hero's home is his castle.
A hero's home is his castle.

GS: We love the idea of grooming heroes to invade our buddies' kingdoms in multiplayer matches. How many kingdoms are you hoping to support in multiplayer?

AK: Our aim is to support to four players in the multiplayer mode. Even a modest number like four players will be able to create utter chaos on the map; adding as little as one additional player could make the situation uncontrollable. Here we feel we've managed to strike the right balance.

GS: Finally, what kind of player do you think will enjoy Majesty 2 the most?

AK: We are aiming to appeal to all RTS and Majesty fans, as well as gamers who just love the idea of a game that combines puzzle-solving and hero-leveling with a good portion of humor.

GS: Thanks for the time.

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