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We sit down with Sandy Sammarco, Lead Designer on Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin to discuss how this game appeals to diehard fans and newcomers to the Warhammer Age of Sigmar setting.
"Hello everyone, welcome to Gamereactor, I'm Alex.We're here at Gamescom looking at Warhammer Age of Sigmar, Realms of Ruin.I'm here with Sandy and we've just played the game and I have to say there's a lot of talk about it being sort of perhaps a Dawn of War brought to fantasy and what do you think about that comparison, one?And two, what are you guys bringing with Realms of Ruin into the RTS genre?I think it can be a very nice comparison, I really enjoyed Dawn of War."
"We're both real-time strategy games, we both feature squad-based combat.With Realms of Ruin, apart from we get to use the Age of Sigmar fantasy realm which is pretty awesome, we've got a heavy emphasis on melee combat and lots of cool abilities and there's lots in the game as well."
"Four factions, fully cinematic single-player campaign, 1v1, 2v2, cross-platform multiplayer, 1v1 ladder and new mode we've just announced at Gamescom, Conquest mode for single-player repeatable experience and there's more that I'm not allowed to talk about just yet unfortunately.But yeah, hopefully we're trying to deliver quite a package."
"Really what we're trying to deliver is a fun experience for players.Well I think I can certainly say I had fun during the time.We played a couple of the missions in the single-player campaign as the Stormcast Eternals.It was mentioned before that this is sort of a multi-POV campaign, does that mean that we're going to be going over multiple sort of..."
"So for example we played Sigrun who is the sort of poster child of the Stormcast Eternals, these sort of super warriors from the Realm of Sigmar.Are we going to get to play some other people as that or are we also going to jump over to maybe some other factions as playable in the single-player campaign as well?So as far as the Stormcast Eternals are concerned you get to control Sigrun and also she's got a second-in-command called Iden, there's a celestial battle mage that accompanies them from the settlement they're from called Demetrius."
"So you get to control all of those, you do get to control another faction as well but I'm not going to talk any more about that, no spoilers.Yeah, it does have multiple points of view, yeah.Perfect, I mean we've got as well, we've got three factions currently announced, the Nighthaunts were just announced today."
"Do you want to talk a bit more about the Nighthaunts, what they bring to the table, maybe for someone who's familiar with Age of Sigmar might already know everything about them but someone who's maybe just looking at this from an RTS perspective, what do they bring to the table?Sure, so I think to talk about that it's best to put it in context of the other factions."
"So we've got the Stormcast Eternals, they're very heroic, they're very tough, they're quite elite, they've got a broad range of units to counter any opposing threat but you've got to use them carefully because they're quite expensive.Our Auroch Crawboys, the Sinister Crawboys, they're great."
"They tend to use more traps, they've got some fodder units but they have some big monsters as well that they can bring out in the later tiers of their progression.So the Nighthaunt, the third faction we've announced, they're very different.So they very much use the strength in numbers concept where individually maybe they're a little bit more brittle but when they get together you can unlock upgrades for them that give them mob bonuses and it allows you to build up a swarm over your enemy and they're a little bit cheaper as well to purchase and also they're quite mobile."
"Being ghosts I guess that comes with the territory so it's quite hard to contain them.So they play very differently strategically from the other factions and as I said before they're a lot of fun.Undead Boatmen is a pretty cool concept, right?So Games Workshop did a fantastic job keeping us on the straight and narrow as well and making sure it's all lore appropriate."
"And speaking of the lore, great jump to, you guys have been sort of working alongside very closely with Games Workshop to make sure this is lore accurate.Working with Gavthorpe I believe who is sort of Black Library, people who know Warhammer are going to know Gavthorpe."
"But for someone who might not be familiar with Age of Sigmar in general, is this a good sort of jumping off point do you think?I really hope so.Age of Sigmar is a brilliant concept because it's full of these fantastical creatures and monsters and eight mortal realms composed entirely of magic."
"But at the end of the day also it's got some very clear concepts of good and evil, of lore and chaos.So you don't need to know all the in-depth lore to know that the Stormcast, they're the good guys, right?They're trying to do things and they're always beset by people like the sinister crawl boys."
"They're definitely bad guys.And the story that we tell in the single player campaign, yes, we've done our due diligence.Gavthorpe, wonderful guy, big upset to Gav."
"He was fantastic to work with and he's given it that authentic Warhammer flair.But you don't need to know all the details.It's hopefully a very clear story of good versus evil, heroes and villains and how their very nature causes them to act in the ways that they do to achieve the goals that they want to achieve."
"So jumping off from the story, we've also got two other main game modes to play.There's the 1v1 multiplayer and the 2v2 multiplayer, I should say.So technically three game modes, I guess.And the Conquest mode, which was also revealed very, very recently."
"Could you tell us a bit more about Conquest and how it will differ from maybe just playing through the campaign?Yeah, sure. So firstly, Conquest mode is for players that enjoy the game and want to play it and want it to be fresh, but they don't necessarily want to jump into multiplayer for whatever reason."
"We don't judge.So what it is, in Conquest mode, we procedurally generate these beautiful maps of areas of GER and then we populate them with locations where battles can occur."
"And it's a really clever algorithm that we use.We create these locations for battle.We work out who owns that region and what armies are going to be there, what kind of biome it is in."
"And then we always have effectively a boss fight in there as well, a starting point, and sometimes we have other sub-bosses.And the idea is that when you start a Conquest, it will create a new one of these maps and you'll work your way through it."
"You have to get to the boss battle and finish it to get a big score.And the more battles along the way that you win, the more that score goes up.And if you beat sub-bosses, you get big bonuses to score."
"But also you only have a number of attempts to do it, based on the difficulty level.And if you play on the very high difficulty level, you get one attempt."
"So if you lose a battle, that's it.You've failed the Conquest.And so the idea is it's up to you the risk you take.And so that's the repeatable nature of it."
"It's really cool.You never know who you're going to be fighting or where.And then we've got these rule-breaking twists that again are algorithmically fed into this system."
"So on each battle, there might be a weird twist that breaks the normal gameplay rules.As I've said before, there might be a battle where no one can see very far."
"Vision radius is reduced very significantly.We mess around with the speeds of units and that can have a big effect.Sometimes we break the rules and allow you to have multiple instances of heroes."
"And that is carnage.It's a lot of fun, but when you've got lots of powerful heroes running around, the idea is that we say, yeah, you play this game, but with these twists and the way that they can be applied randomly, you never really know what you're going to get until you start a new Conquest."
"And each Conquest has an identifier, a seed.And if you share this identifier with your friends, they can have exactly the same experience as you.So actually, even though it's single player, there is this element of social aspect where you can say, well, I got score X."
"And they can say, well, I beat it or I didn't.In my case, I wouldn't beat it.We make the game. I'm not particularly good at it.So it's a really fun experience for people who want to engage with the game but don't necessarily want to get involved with multiplayer per se."
"And for those that do, there is the...We've got to wrap? Okay.Can I just do the quick, when's it coming out?Yeah, yeah."
"So great to speak to you, Sandy.So Warhammer Age of Sigmar, Realms of Ruin, is a mouthful.But also, when's it coming out and what platform is it coming on?Awesome. So we've announced at Gamescom the launch date is November 17."
"And it's coming out on PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S.And you can pre-order it digitally now.There are three editions, standard, deluxe and ultimate."
"If you get this deluxe or ultimate, there's additional content at launch and after and you can get up to three days early unlock as well.Brilliant. Thank you so much for your time."