Developer Q&A for GameStop
1. How would you introduce Soulstorm and how does it connect with previous Dawn of War games?
Soulstorm builds off of the success of Dark Crusade and the rest of the DoW franchise by continuing to explore the Warhammer 40,000 universe through its use of the Metagame experience and its races. This time out though, there are two new players to join the fray, the hedonistic Dark Eldar and formidable Sisters of Battle.
2. What was your biggest challenge when setting out to design Soulstorm?
The biggest design challenge we had at Iron Lore was coming up with a detailed plan for the two new races in Soulstorm with seven races already in the game, making two new ones which are genuinely unique and interesting, which are also fun to play and work well with all the existing content, and which are fictionally appropriate within the canon of Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 universe, was extremely difficult. Although it took some time, and a fair deal of trial and error through playtesting, I'm exceedingly pleased with the way both of them turned out the Dark Eldar are significantly different from their Eldar cousins and are probably my favorite DoW race to play at this point, and the Sisters of Battle have a great feel and play style which is all their own. The closed beta went great, and now we're all really looking forward to seeing how the fanbase at large responds to them!
3. Can you tell us a little bit about the two new races, the Dark Eldar and Sisters of Battle?
Sisters ofBattle rock. They clean house through total incineration of the enemy. In their lore they are known for purging heretics and rogue psykers. Its really worth your while climbing the tech tree with this race because the sheer damage that they can unleash is awesome. They are known for purifying and immolating and with the orders most skilled Celestian Squad and a unit-shredding Penitent Engine or two, it is for good reason.
The cool thing about the Dark Eldar is that their global abilities are not attached to any particular unit so they can be employed very easily. Another bonus is that this race has access to vehicle creation off the bat with their Dark Foundry structure. They are not the heartiest of races but they make up for it in speed, agility and their special powers which are tied to an entirely new economy system, the harvesting of Soul Essence.
4. How does the addition of the new air units affect gameplay? Can you describe the different types available?
Air Units trump all other units with their freedom to move. These new units are able to traverse over terrain that regular units cannot. For this feature alone, they prove themselves to be a great reconnaissance vehicle in spotting the enemy. Still, they are no wimps either and can inflict some severe damage upon infantry, buildings and vehicles.
Each race has a new Air Unit save for the Necrons whose swarming Attack Scarabs can now fly some notable ones are:
Imperial Guard Marauder Bomber
A bomb-run workhorse for the IG, great in support of ground forceswith the traditional unit-mowing bombing run which it is capable of. The Marauder has a variety of payloads to play with as well.
A multi-tactical bombing Air Unit which can take on Infantry, Vehicles and Buildings. Its long range Smart Grot Bombs allow this unit to be a strong siege weapon.
Chaos Hell Talon
A strong strafing-type fighter bomber. The Hell Talon is also equipped with a toxic payload which can inflict a unit-spreading plague upon the enemys forces.
Dark Eldar Raven
Small, versatile fighter capable of dealing with any unit type. Effective in support with its special ability to tactically take out enemy turrets and vehicles.
Not a typical air unit but one that is new to the Necrons in Soulstorm. This unit can travel via teleportation and also cause major havoc with its deception abilities.
5. Can you give us some details about the new Metamap features and online medal system?
Other than a new overall appearance, there are two major additions to the Metamap. First, this time, youre fighting across four planets in an entire solar system. Second, every race gets its own unique bonus power on the Metamap level. If you conquer that race, you gather their power making you that much stronger. We also tuned the game so that maintaining a garrison force on your territories is more important. In addition, to give the battle maps more variety, Ancient Gates (which you use to travel between planets) provide the opportunity for Take & Hold style skirmishes.
Withthe online Medal system we wanted to bring additional value to DoWs already strong online experience. While progressing online through auto-match, players will be rewarded for their individual accomplishments with collectible medals. Keep in mind though that some of these medals are harder to acquire than others and will require some serious gaming action to pull off.
6. How does the resource system work and what are some of the differences from previous Dawn of War installments?
Resource gathering is primarily the same. The one difference though is found with the additional harvesting that the two new races perform. The Sisters of Battle channel Faith to fortify their very potent Acts of Faith abilities. Conversely, the Dark Eldar lay waste for Soul Essence, the source of their special global powers.
7. How do the graphics and animations compare to previous Dawn of War games? What hardware is required to run the game adequately?
The game looks gorgeous. There has been some great modeling, animation and texture work done on the new races and units. Some of the units which exemplify this very well are the Penitent Engine, Haemonculus, the Living Saint and the Talos.
The minimum requirements are very reasonable as the game looks great even on our min. spec. tests making this product highly accessible to most PC users.
However, for clarity the recommended requirements are:
2.4 GHz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent
512 MB System RAM (required for 8-player multiplayer games)
NVIDIA GeForce 3 or equivalent with 64 MB of Video RAM.
Sound Blaster X-Fi
8. Although this is the final Dawn of War game, will we see any future Warhammer 40,000 games?
Yes. THQ and Games Workshop have recently signed a Warhammer 40,000 licensing agreement which includes all online rights and an MMO to ensure that the legacy of this universe and its races continue on.