To change or not to change? The creators of King’s Bounty II spoke about the present and future of the game

Game Developers NEWS

In the past few years, players have begun to notice signs of a renaissance in the Russian game development industry that has gone into the shadows after the 2008 crisis. We are talking about the announcement of large promising projects for personal computers and consoles. One of them was King’s Bounty II from company 1C Entertainment

Autumn 2020 edition GameMAG.ru already wrote about the game, however, we again had the opportunity to communicate with the developers. Much has changed during this time.

After all transfers, 1C Entertainment intends to release the game in August 2021 on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. In addition, King’s Bounty II will be released under a new label Prime Matter

Old formula with new rules

King’s Bounty II is a tactical RPG that stands out from the competition. The gameplay is still divided into phases of exploration and turn-based battles, but the main character runs in real time across a large “corridor” world, and the camera hangs over his shoulders. An important emphasis is placed on character development and moral choices, which will affect the course of the story and relationships with in-game characters.

The original King’s Bounty became the inspiration for the iconic series Heroes of might and magic, which by 2021 completely withered under the wing Ubisoft… but Principal Producer of King’s Bounty II Denis Maltsev I am sure that created by the team of the legendary developer and founder of the company New World Computing John Van Kanagem the genre is still relevant, and there are no analogues of King’s Bounty on the market now.

“The formula is not outdated, but it has reached a peak, new players in the genre are difficult to attract. 1C observed this in the case of King’s Bounty from Katauri Interactive“, – explained the producer.

Making any changes to a time-tested formula is always scary. However, without modernization, the genre will stagnate. And only the reaction of the players will show whether the development team, which sees huge potential, is right.

The developers of King’s Bounty II were tasked with making profound changes to the foundation of the franchise, because the banal addition of new in-game mechanics or a lot of content does not lead to an increase in the popularity of the series.

“The question“ To change or not to change? ”Was not before us. The question was“ To change, but what exactly? ”- said Maltsev.

Expansion for fans

Games in a similar genre that came out before King’s Bounty II cannot be called outdated, although they have reached a certain ceiling in development. But 1C Entertainment employees don’t sit in an information vacuum. They follow the progress of their colleagues, and also play a lot of games.

Denis Maltsev gave an example of a situation with tedious backtracking. Initially, the main character lost a soldier on the battlefield completely and irrevocably. Therefore, he constantly had to return to the store to recruit new units.

The way out of this situation was the introduction of a treatment system in King’s Bounty II. If there are several units left in the detachment, then its number can be restored after the end of the battle by paying for “medical services” in gold.

After last year’s gameplay demo, some players were surprised by the character customization system. In King’s Bounty II, you can find or buy a wide variety of weapons or armor. However, it may be difficult to select equipment in the same style.

Someone thinks that the morphing system (the ability to change the appearance of an object through the menu) can solve the problem. But 1C Entertainment took a different approach.

“Take and cancel everything at once by ticking” Look always the same “… Well, why did we make hundreds of objects then?” – said Maltsev.

Despite the fact that King’s Bounty II is a new round in the development of the series, the developers remember the fans of the previous parts. This can be understood even by the bonuses for pre-ordering the series, including featured “Shield of the Princess in Armor”. As explained PR manager Ilia Svanidze, in the new creation of 1C you can find a lot of references to films and games, although the developers are not ready to reveal their cards right away. But King’s Bounty fans will definitely be satisfied.

A new generation on the horizon

The period of the pandemic was a serious test for many studios and publishers. However, the 1C team was able to adapt to work in the new conditions, so even a new outbreak of coronavirus infection did not affect production processes. The only obstacles are customs services, which makes it difficult for Russian developers to import equipment.

The production of King’s Bounty II is nearing completion. Moreover, the version of the game for Nintendo Switch went “gold” a couple of months ago, which is associated with the peculiarities of working with the platform (cartridges are produced longer than Blu-ray discs).

As Denis Maltsev emphasized, the team tried to do everything to ensure that the owners of the hybrid platform were satisfied with the port.

“We did our best to ensure that Switch players were delighted with the game. We hope that we did everything right and got exactly the audience that wants to play King’s Bounty II on Switch,” said the producer.

1C Entertainment calls the Nintendo console a promising platform for turn-based third-person projects. Great efforts were made by the team to carefully adapt the game to the peculiarities of the hybrid system, so that visually and gameplay it would not differ much from the version for personal computers.

Ilia Svanidze also answered a question that worries many players, including GameMAG.ru readers. We are talking about the possibility of releasing a native version of King’s Bounty II on new generation consoles Xbox Series X | S and Playstation 5

The PR manager recalled that 1C initially decided to focus only on versions of the game for four platforms (PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch), which were announced at the announcement of King’s Bounty II. The experience of other studios has shown that trying to cover all consoles at once can negatively affect the final quality of versions for platforms of the previous generation.

As a result, a Solomon decision was made: to complete the originally announced versions of King’s Bounty II, and then start working with new generation consoles. Developers have already got access to devkits.

Iliya Svanidze assured that a version for Xbox Series X | S and PlayStation 5 is already in the plans, but the team is not yet ready to say when the announcement will take place, as well as in what format it intends to implement the update. On release, the tactical RPG can be played as part of the backward compatibility program. King’s Bounty II will also receive a number of improvements on the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro consoles.

Royal prospects for the future

As part of the promotion of its project, 1C Entertainment is cooperating with the company Koch Media… At E3 2021, it was announced that King’s Bounty II will be released under the Prime Matter label, which is set to be the “new home for premium gaming.”

According to Svanidze, thanks to the new label, it was possible to increase the level of coverage of the project in Western media, as well as brand awareness. Particularly useful was the presentation within Summer Game Fest 2021, after which the developers received many positive comments. Therefore, 1C continues to work with Koch Media.

Now the team has already started developing post-release content. The main game is over, and new additions are created separately, because we are not talking about pieces cut from the storyline campaign.

Maltsev said that players should expect both small DLC and large-scale updates. Some of the add-ons will be paid, others will be available to everyone. While development is about 50% complete, be patient.

King’s Bounty II will go on sale August 24, 2021 on PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

See also: How 1C wants to resurrect the Russian igroprom: King’s Bounty II Preview

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