Titan Quest Q&A

Iron Lore president Brian Sullivan gives us a basic overview of this great-looking, 3D, action role-playing game.

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Titan Quest managed to surprise a lot of people when it was unveiled for the first time at the Electronic Entertainment Expo this May. The debut game from Massachusetts' Iron Lore Entertainment, Titan Quest can best be described as a 3D Diablo-style game, with an emphasis on the 3D. The game features cutting-edge graphics, and they're put to good use to create a virtual ancient world of Greece, Egypt, and the rest of the Mediterranean. In Titan Quest, you play as a hero out to slay the evil creatures that infest the world, such as cyclopes and medusas, among others. Since E3 represented the first public showing of the game, we were wondering how the reaction went. So we asked Brian Sullivan, president of Iron Lore, if he could illuminate us on that and on other details of Titan Quest, which is due out in 2006.

The ancient world is your playground in Titan Quest.
The ancient world is your playground in Titan Quest.

GameSpot: E3 was your first opportunity to really unveil the game for the first time. So what sort of reactions did you garner from the show? Did you get any useful feedback to take back with you, and if so, care to give us an example?

Brian Sullivan: The reaction was really positive. I think a lot of the press were quite excited to see such a polished product that wasn't on their radar. We especially had a lot of interest from the German press. It seems Titan Quest hit all their hot buttons.

GS: What's the basic story behind Titan's Quest? What's the reason that takes you adventuring across the ancient world? Do you plan to have computer-generated cutscenes that take you out of the moment, or will you tell the story, in-engine, as the game progresses?

BS: We are not talking about story at this time, but we plan to tell the whole story, in-game, to keep the player immersed as much as possible.

GS: How flexible is the character creation system? Will you be able to choose different genders and appearances? What are the choices available to you in terms of "class," especially since you evolve your class throughout the game?

BS: Our character creation system is incredibly flexible. Basically, during the game, you will be able to create your character class by selecting two miniclasses from a total of eight miniclasses. This gives 28 possible character classes, allowing players to play a class they really like, and giving a lot of replay value. We did not want to keep the players locked into one of the five or so standard character classes. If they want to carry a big axe and throw fireballs, we wanted to allow them to create a character class that would support that type of gameplay.

GS: We know that ancient Greece and Egypt are settings in the game. But where else will you be able to go? Will you also see ancient landmarks, such as any of the wonders of the ancient world?

BS: You will see some of the ancient wonders of the world, including the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. We are trying to deliver the experience of being in the ancient world, [so you'll be] seeing the villages, cities, and great wonders as they were when they were new and alive.

Time to knock some skulls.
Time to knock some skulls.

GS: You'll be able to battle both humanlike opponents and mythological creatures, such as mummies and more. Are you drawing upon the breadth of real-world ancient mythology for the creatures, or will we also see all-new, original monsters? What sort of foes will you battle?

BS: Many of our monsters are drawn from or inspired by ancient mythology. They had a fantastic imagination back then! We also have many all-new monsters because there were not enough cool mythical monsters to meet our gameplay needs. Not only do we have a great bunch of monsters, but also they are not the usual D&D-derived baddies.

We Make Great Pets

GS: How intelligent are opponents, by the way? Will they simply attack you on sight until you die, or will the smarter ones use tactics? We know in one sequence of the E3 demo, a huge troll stomped on the scene and scared off tinier creatures. But is this a scripted reaction, or will creatures behave that way anytime the odds change?

Bows and arrows are nothing compared to lightning bolts and rings of fire.
Bows and arrows are nothing compared to lightning bolts and rings of fire.

BS: Our monsters will have many different levels and types of intelligence. The artificial intelligence for monsters is not only used to present different tactical challenges, but it also gives some personality. Most monsters will generally attack you on sight, because that is usually the most fun type of monster AI to fight against, but we will mix it up with monsters that use intelligent tactics, which will require a little thought on the best way to defeat them.

GS: Titan Quest looks like it's going for that fast-paced, easy-to-play experience that Diablo represents. Are there any features in the game designed to streamline the experience, such as the ability to automatically pick up all the loot around you or an automapping system?

BS: We will be doing everything we can to make the game accessible and streamlined. We want to keep players in the "zone" as much as possible. We are still working on the user interface, so we do not have a list of the features we are implementing. But we will have a great automapping feature.

GS: Will you be able to hire minions to follow you? And if so, how in-depth will your control over them be? Can you give them rudimentary orders, or will they simply just tag along?

BS: You will not be able to hire minions, but you will be able to summon pets. We have three different types of pets in the game, which become available through the skill system. All pets are fully autonomous, generally doing the "right" thing in any given situation. We will additionally have controls for hardcore players to give their pets some orders. We will also allow the player to configure their pets with skills, allowing players to customize their pets to match their play styles.

GS: Are the levels randomly created each time you play? Will there be any kinds of random elements in terms of monsters and items and such? And what kind of replayability is there in the game? We imagine going back and experimenting with different classes and abilities is going to be a lot of the fun.

BS: There is a lot of replayability in Titan Quest. All the monsters and items are randomized, so no two play-throughs will be the same. Monster type, numbers, and level will all be varied. As mentioned earlier, there will be up to 28 different character classes to play. The game will play great in both single- and multiplayer. The characters will be able to replay the game on two additional levels of difficulty after finishing the game on the first difficulty level. And, in addition to all this, we will be shipping an incredibly powerful and flexible world editor. So we expect a lot of user-created content for the game.

GS: What can you tell us about multiplayer so far, assuming it's not too early to ask? Are there plans for cooperative, competitive, or other modes?

Swing a sword at sinister satyrs.
Swing a sword at sinister satyrs.

BS: We are not ready yet to talk about multiplayer, but there will be full support for cooperative play.

GS: Finally, how far along is the game in development? What still needs to be done, and when can we expect it?

BS: The game has been in full development since January 2004 and will ship in 2006. The game looks fantastic right now, and we are really excited knowing we have many months more to polish the game and make it look and play even better.

GS: Thank you, Brian.

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