JeuxVideoPC English Interview

JeuxVideoPC.com: First of all, how many guys are on your team?

SP (Steven Peeler): Soldak is setup very differently than most game companies.  We basically have a few core people on the team and then a much larger number of contractors.  As of this moment we have had, I believe, 14 different contractors that have contributed to this project.

JeuxVideoPC.com: How long have you been working on Depths of Peril?

SP: Development of Depths of Peril started in December of 2004.

JeuxVideoPC.com: What did you do before working on DoP in the videogame industry?

SP: Before I started Soldak Entertainment and worked on Depths of Peril I worked at Ritual Entertainment.  I worked at Ritual for a little over 6 years and was Technical Director when I left.  Before Ritual I worked on a small game company start-up part time for a couple years but that venture didn’t manage to survive.

JeuxVideoPC.com: Is this your first rpg?

SP: Well with the start-up that I worked at before going to Ritual we were working on an rpg, but this is the full rpg project that I have worked on and the first one that will ship.

JeuxVideoPC.com: What's your conception of what a video game is?

SP: Assuming I understand the question correctly, in my opinion a game is very similar to other creative mediums such as movies and books.  Most of the time a game is simply a means of entertainment but it can be more than that if the developers want it to be.  Personally I try to stick to pure entertainment 

JeuxVideoPC.com: Let us move on to the writer. Delilah Rehm, you are the author of the background stories in the game. Have you written other stories for video games before DoP?

DR (Delilah Rehm): DoP is my first professional writing job. I’ve read many fantasy books that share a universe with rpgs, so I knew what a monumental task lay before me. Co-creating the world with Steven Peeler has combined the best of analytical thinking and creative energies.
JeuxVideoPC.com: For DoP, you have imagined a heroic-fantasy universe where barbarians have a very importance place. Can you say a little more about that?

DR: DoP is a world that was idyllic and docile, at one time. Most of the prolific monsters of the world were buried deep under the mountains in a time out of mind. They were completely forgotten. That quiet peace was shattered when a mining team, searching for the mythical giant lifestones, mined too deep and released them. You can read about it in the short story, Depths of Peril, at www.soldak.com.

JeuxVideoPC.com: What can you tell us about the city the player must protect and about the causes of the actual situation, about the reasons of this war?

DR: The forth Great War of Aleria was led by a powerful orc and ambitious necromancer. Evil had almost pushed the good and neutral races off of the continent (many refugees fled to islands). Before the final stroke of destruction, evil turned on itself. Here is where the game begins. The barbarians and other races must reclaim the land, and wash out the evil now that the evil’s unifying leaders are gone. Only then can they think of rebuilding the great cities and beginning their lives anew.

The player begins in Jorvik, a settlement built on what was once the great trade city of the barbarians.

JeuxVideoPC.com: Who are the people who threaten taking it?

DR: Evil races and monsters overrun the mainland. In the game, the player can confront and destroy many of the villains in the stories, including the two evil leaders of the fourth Great War, Ciglio (necromancer) and Draaien (orc).

JeuxVideoPC.com: There are many different barbarian civilisations. What are their cultural differences? Do they have their own mythology and gods?

DR: In DoP, the barbarians are one race. They are related to but separate from humans. The barbarians worship two Gods, Din and his son, Dorr. Din is the God of War, and Dorr, the God of Thunder. The barbarian race has many similarities with real world Vikings.

There are many other Gods and Goddesses worshiped by other races.

SP: Barbarians in the world of Aleria are a different but distantly related race compared to humans.  At one point in time barbarians were simply another human kingdom but have through thousands of years and vicious and barbaric customs slowly evolved to being a separate and distinct race.  The main physical difference is that barbarians are on average nearly seven feet tall.

The main cultural difference of barbarians is that they group themselves in small clan like social structures called covenants.  A covenant lives together as a family even though they may or may not have any blood relation to each other.  In general, the strongest covenant of each city rules the city.  Strongest is determine on the battle field.

JeuxVideoPC.com: Besides barbarians, what other civilisations and countries are in this world? Will the player meet them all? Will the player be able to choose to be an orc or a character of another race other than that of the barbarians?

DR: The player will always be a barbarian of his or her choosing, and will begin in Jorvik. Most of the evil races and monsters are in the game. The good and some neutral races are not, except by way of the collectible stories.

If you start in the north west of Aleria against the sea, you are in barbarian lands. To the east lies the lands of the wood elves (tall elves that abhor metal), then the teratai (fish-men that live in lakes but can breath air), and then the forest. South of the barbarian lands, you’ll find the five human kingdoms. In the south western jungles, there are sade (men-like people shaped for life in the canopies with long hands and feet). In the center of Aleria there is a vast desert. To the east is a mountain range. It contains the dwarves (they live and mine underground, but enjoy farming aboveground) and the lumen (short, agile men-like people that are highly magical through their knowledge of stones and gems). The mountains also house dark elves (elves bent on power and destruction) below and orcs (usually roam in unorganised clans, until Draaien) above in the south. This is the world of Aleria.

SP: Of these races, the player will only see barbarians and orcs in the game itself.

DR: The game generates a random map. Though all of the places the player will explore are real places in Aleria, they are not presented in the order they appear in the real map.

JeuxVideoPC.com: With a title like Depths of Peril, I suppose the world where the players live is extremely dangerous. What kinds of Perils will threaten the players?

SP: In Depths of Peril many things threaten the player.  Since the evil races won the 4th Great War, the world is full of monsters.  The barbarian town, Jorvik, that the player starts in is one of the few “safe havens” and even the town itself isn’t safe from attack.  There are also traps lying around all over the place.  But the player is even in danger from within.  At all times the other barbarian factions are plotting on destroying the player and his covenant.  So the player is in danger from all sides.

DR: It might be easier to describe what peril doesn’t threaten the player! The monsters in the countryside can get into the city from time to time. The other barbarian covenants want to crush you. The vendor may be your best friend, but he can get sick and die if you don’t find the remedy in time. The only ones you can trust are those you recruit to your covenant.

JeuxVideoPC.com: War seems to have a real impact in this universe? Peace doesn’t exist somewhere in this world?

DR: The refugees have a temporary peace on the islands, but they live in fear of the evil races regrouping and destroying them. They also lack adequate supplies to sustain themselves for long. The people long for the comfort of the cities where they used to live comfortably, safe from the orcs, zombies and other monsters before the fourth war.

JeuxVideoPC.com: What will be the role of the player in this war? Is he about to have a very big importance, like becoming a warlord, or could he be a simple adventurer, with his own purpose?  What is his situation, at the beginning of the game?

SP: At the beginning of the game the war is already over.  The good races have already been defeated.  The barbarians are simply trying to rebuild their city and manage not to get completed wiped out.  The player’s part of this is to protect the city, kill dangerous monsters, solve quests for the city, and especially to try to establish himself/herself as the leader of the city.

DR: The player will choose a barbarian character, begin a covenant, and strive to dominate and protect the city of Jorvik while pushing back the evil from the countryside.

JeuxVideoPC.com: What degree of influence will the player have on the story, his steps and his end? Will the story of DoP be more close of a hack n’ slash story, of a “free way” rpg like Oblivion, or more of a Japanese dirigist game?

SP: Depths of Peril works very differently than most rpgs when it comes to the story since each game works more like a strategy game than a typical rpg.  Each game that is set up has a random world with random enemy covenants in it and plays until one covenant claims victory over the rest of the covenants.  So each game has lots of freedom and no storyline per se.

However, having said that there is a large amount of background story that the player can find in the game in the form of tomes.  Each of these is a short story, a history, or a myth.  So far put together these stories are about 60,000 words total (about half of a novel) so there is a lot of background story that can be read.

DR: There is no in-game story the player must play through. The collectable tomes tell about the history and life in Aleria. Monsters the player faces in the game, he can read about in the stories. They become more than the animated graphic on the computer screen. They become alive in the player’s mind.

JeuxVideoPC.com: What can you say about your job?

DR: I love my job. Writing has been my dream since I was a young girl. I’ve loved creating the 60,000 + words in the stories for the game. For me, the highlight of last year was when I entered one of the stories, Double Edge, in a local writer’s convention (FenCon), and won! Double Edge is one of my favorite stories in the game.

JeuxVideoPC.com: What do you like especially in writing a fantasy story?

DR: I enjoy discovering the depths of characters that I grow to love. I like enduring the adventures and trials through them. I love sharing their despair and triumphs. I like the magic and magical creatures in fantasy. I guess I can sum it up as, I love story telling.

 
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