GK: Hello, and welcome to the very first Nosgoth live stream. We're hoping that this isn't the first time that we get to do this, and thank you to everyone in the Twitch.tv chat area for making me laugh quite a lot. My colleagues who were surrounding me were wondering why I was laughing so much.
The structure of this event is that we're going to be taking the first questions as they were posted on the forum; then we're going to be taking some questions as they come in live to us through Twitter. The Twitter handle is @Nosgoth. I know some of you said that you're not on Twitter. I'm sorry. I can't keep up with all the questions that are coming on the Twitch.tv chat channel. I will be following up on various different places where people are asking questions. I will be following up on Twitter. I will constantly be following up on Facebook; on our own forum; even on NeoGAF. I won't be going to 4chan.
And allow me to introduce myself. I am George. I'm the community manager on Nosgoth; less of a manager; more of a liaison. This is Bill. Bill is the game's design director. I think I'm speaking for us both; we're both quite nervous doing this.
Neither of us have ever done anything like this before. Please go easy on us, although luckily you're not in the same room as us.
Without further ado; I'm passing an answer; a very quick question from Umah Bloodomen, who is one of our fantastic forum mods on our official forums. She wanted to know whether or not we're going to be having gamepad support. We will be having gamepad support. We won't have gamepad support in closed alpha. We will be having gamepad support by open beta. Whether we have gamepad support for the launch of closed beta, or halfway through closed beta, or a third of the way through closed beta, that's yet to be decided, but we will definitely 100% have gamepad support. It's something that we all definitely want. We want to be as inclusive as possible.
Just one more framing thing. What I've noticed is that I've tried to be quite active on the Internet recently about this game. I know a lot of people are asking questions, but I see a lot of the same questions being asked over and over again. If you feel that I don't manage to get to one of your more unique questions, because I focus on questions I've already answered, I apologise in advance. I just want to make sure that certain statements which we've been trying to get across, especially to do with the lore, which is watertight, does actually get across.
But before then, even, one more tease. This is from drizzt89; the first person who posted on the forum in the thread. Thanks very much for coming along, and he wanted to know, or she wanted to know, "for the time being (it seems that) we only get 3 classes a side. Will more be added in the future?"
BB: Yes they will. We're prototyping new classes as we speak. We've got three per side ready to go now. They've been through a lot of development; a lot of testing, and balancing, and tuning. We're really happy with the way they play, and we're going through the same process now with the next ones to be developed. As to exactly when they'll be added to the game, that's not something we're talking about yet; when they're ready basically, but we love the ones we've got, and we think the new ones are going to add even more variety, and excitement. Looking forward to us playing with them, and then getting you guys to play with them as well.
GK: And this is all in the context of; the benefits of this being a live game is that development is an incredibly fluid process. Rather than us having to get stuff locked down, and then ship it, we'll be able to evolve stuff, and tweak stuff incorporating your feedback, and a lot of the feedback already supplied to us is already stuff that we're working on. Just bear in mind that if we hear a great suggestion on a Tuesday we can't get it into the game on a Thursday. Stuff still needs to be built, and moving onto; OK. It's a good one. I like this. "What will fans of the old LOK games have to look forward to in this?"
BB: I think we're fans of the old Legacy of Kain games. That's worth saying. We're both massive, massive fans of Legacy of Kain. George is one of the most rabid fanboys that I met until we started talking with the community, and we're fans of the Legacy of Kain games. What we see this as being is; it's a new game in the franchise. It is different. We know that, but we're exploring an era that has never been explored before. It's been referenced. We've seen what happens before, and we see what happens afterwards, but this is the first time that this period of history with these characters; their stories; can be told. It is a chance for exploring locations; lore; factions; kingdoms; the history of the world; all things that add to the franchise as a whole. We're really excited by it. We know that the gameplay might not be to everyone's taste. We get that absolutely, but we still think this is a really interesting way for us to be able to build on the lore, and as George said it's a live game. It's a game that's going to be constantly evolving. You won't be waiting three; four; ten; thirteen years for the next update. We will be adding classes, and maps, and fiction behind them; the narrative behind them; much, much more rapidly. It's really a chance for us with your input to start building out this part of the Legacy of Kain franchise in a way that's never been done before. It's a very different kind of game; not just in terms of content, but in how it's being built, and how it's being served to the customers.
GK: Absolutely. For me one of the things that I'm most excited about is it answers; or at least not necessarily answers, but it certainly delves into a few of the more lingering questions left over from the previous games. There's a lot of speculation about exactly what happened to the Razielim, and also how did Dumah come to be staked? How come when Raziel is hurled into the Abyss Kain's empire appears to be at its peak; when he gets out it's all crumbling? And I think for long term Legacy of Kain game fans whilst this game doesn't necessarily answer every single one of those questions in detail I think it certainly provides a really interesting snapshot onto a lot of the sequence of events that happened between one, and the other, but also, and I said this on NeoGAF, one of the things that as I understand it that were most heard about this game is that; we've always felt that Nosgoth is a rich enough, and a deep enough, and a fantastic enough universe, and story.
Somebody described it; it could be a series of books. Absolutely. It doesn't necessarily have to revolve around the key characters; the kingmakers, so to speak. Nosgoth is a land populated by various different people; underlings, and this game will allow you to take on the roles of some of the people who were affected by the big decisions from Kain and the lieutenants downwards. Will this narrative, and will this lore be explored in moment to moment gameplay? It's not going to be block-pushing puzzles, whoever asked that on the forum. I forget your name. I'm very, very sorry, but it won't be through block-pushing puzzles. This is still very much an action-heavy fast-paced multiplayer gameplay, or multiplayer game rather. However, we're constantly having discussions. We've had several today. We had some in having coffee just before coming here. Ways that we can explore, or think about visualizing, or communicating some of the really interesting frayed edges of the world, and have that communicated to players so that if you're familiar with LoK then it's great. This is the type of stuff that you'll be able to; I don't want to give away too much, but...
BB: ...too late.
GK: ...be able to "experience", and have that strong resonance, but equally, and I said this to the guys at our community day; equally to the many people who we want to introduce to this IP for the very first time, and get them involved, and get them loving LoK as much as we do, we're not necessarily beating around the head with a big book of lore, and saying if you haven't read, or played, all of these games in advance then you won't be able to enjoy our game. We want to be inclusive rather than exclusive, and that for me personally as a community guy is really, really important. Okay. Moving on. Right. Down to the nitty gritty with the lore. "I'd like to know when exactly Nosgoth happens."
BB: It takes place after Raziel has been stripped of his wings and thrown into the Abyss. After that happens, various other events take place. Kain vanishes. This leaves his lieutenants to try and rule Nosgoth in his stead. We know what they're like. They're argumentative. They're self-serving. They plot against each other, and it doesn't take long for that to escalate into an all-out civil war. That's the setting for the game. It happens after Raziel is thrown into the Lake, but before he returns at a very far point in the future. There's a big chunk of time there; hundreds of years that haven't been explored where Kain's empire as George says goes from its height through a process of evolution as the humans; as the vampires fight amongst themselves the humans have a chance to rebuild; to grow. While vampires are engaged in their power games that to them is mere moments, but to humans that could be lifetimes, and they manage to strike back, and we've seen that they're capable of building weapons of mass destruction, they're capable of assaulting Dumah in his throne room, and nailing him to it. They've always had the potential to be a very potent fighting force; haven't always been these downtrodden cattle that have been fed on, and that's the period that we're exploring in this game.
GK: And we've been very judicious, I'm going to say, by really shining a microscope, or shining a light, rather, onto this particular era. It's never really been explained comprehensively, or canonically, exactly how much time Raziel went into the Abyss, and whilst we're loath to stick it's exactly X number of years, so many months, so many days onto it, because hey, that's not interesting; we appreciate having flexbility, and seeing the big reason; we all like a little bit of mystery; we did go to the source of the games for this information. There's a cut line of dialogue from Soul Reaver 1 where Raziel specifically asks the Elder God, "how many ages or how many aeons was I falling down this damnable hellhole," or words to that effect, and the Elder God says, "was it a millennium or was it a moment?" and we were like, okay. It's more than a handful of years. The Elder God, at this particular point in the fiction, isn't really lying to Raziel. We thought, we've got roughly, plus, minus, roughly about a thousand years to play with, which is more than enough time for humanity to rise; for kingdoms to rise; to flourish; be destroyed; especially when the vampire clans have been distracted with their infighting, and as Bill says, two hundred years for a vampire; that's not very much. For a human that's several generations. Look how much in our own world has managed to be achieved in two hundred years.
It's a moment of time that I personally think is particularly interesting; particularly ripe for exploration, especially from looking at it from the point of view of people on the ground, because, as Bill said, Kain disappears, and I'm going to hold my hands up, and say I probably gave away a little bit too much on NeoGAF than I ought to have done, because we'd had internal discussions, and I wasn't necessarily meant to say exactly what happened with Kain, but I got a little bit carried away.
It's always been very strongly implied by the games that Kain skips forward in time in the Chronoplast, and meets Raziel on his return. The pointers to this are; his empire is crumbling; Dumah's been staked. Neither of those things would have been allowed to have happened if Kain had been around. Secondly, just for his own character; this is Kain; the most iron-willed, ruthless individual in the land of Nosgoth. He has two options available to him, plus a time machine. Either he can stick around, and just wait, get older, and possibly suffer the ravages of Nupraptor's curse whilst he's waiting for Raziel to come out, or alternatively he can skip forwards in time, and meet him on the other end. When Raziel comes out of the Abyss, and he goes to Kain for the first time, Kain's first words to him are, "expected to see you sooner," which strongly implies that Kain certainly has a knowledge of future events, and has been waiting for him, so to speak, and not necessarily waiting for him in chronological sequence. Equally Rahab; when Raziel confronts Rahab in the Drowned Abbey, Rahab says, "the master only makes himself known when he sees fit," implying very very strongly that Kain hasn't really been around. He's had a light touch on his empire for however long Raziel's been away.
Equally Kain is deeply disinterested in his own empire at this point. He understands it's a failed project, and he certainly doesn't come to the rescue of any of his lieutenants. In fact the best that he does is he tells Rahab that Raziel's going to kill him. All of these things, and more, which I can't remember off the top of my head, because we've got them written down in a document back at the office, imply very, very strongly that Kain had skipped forward through time in the Chronoplast. This was a sequence of events that again we feel allows us to explore this particular era of Nosgoth minus Raziel, who is away, minus Kain, who is equally away, and leaving the world in the hands of his lieutenants, who are less than capable of rulership over the land. Right.
GK: "...how are there Razielim?"
BB: It's never been actually firmly stated that the Razielim were actually wiped out. There's been lots of speculation among the community; among fans...
GK: ...Kain dodged the question himself when he was posed it by Raziel. In fact it was Melchiah who said that "you are the last," but the rest of the lieutenants have not been proven to be exactly trustworthy, nor are they altogether that knowledgeable about the entirety of Nosgoth outside of their own particular fieldoms. Sorry, I'm; interrupted.
BB: That's alright. That's alright. It's what you're good at.
We felt that this was a chance to answer some of those questions; give them some backstory; give some answers to these things that people have been speculating about, and it gives us an immensely cool character class, basically. You've got characters that can fly, and for any game, let alone a competitive multiplayer game, a flying character is just something you don't normally see. It comes with a host of issues. The dev team have done an awesome job in addressing those issues, making a highly playable character; gives you a very different way of moving through the world; attacking; fighting. We're really excited about that, while at the same time we can say that yes; that the Razielim in Kain's absence; his lieutenants decide that while he's persecuted Raziel fairly brutally that must mean it's open season on the Razielim. They start persecuting them. They start hunting them down. The Razielim have their ancient underground cities in their home territory, and as they evolve in the same way that their leader did, they grow wings. They can retreat to high places; far off places; they can hide, and escape, and try and survive the degradation of the clans; basically the other clans hunting them down, but once they've started turning on one clan, it doesn't take long for them to start fighting amongst themselves. That taboo's been broken, and it's that infighting, that vampire civil war, that gives the humans a chance to regrow and rebuild and rediscover lost technology. They steal secrets of alchemy from the vampires. They rediscover methods of slaying vampires. There have always been vampire hunters in Nosgoth, and the last remnants of those guys come out from the shadows, and start training them; new generations of fighters.
Once the vampire clans realize this; the lieutenants; okay; they're fickle; they're argumentative, and they're vicious; they're not stupid. They see that the humans combined could be a threat. They decide to push them aside; their differences. They realize that the Razielim could be a massive asset. They've got this air cavalry of scouts as a fast attack force. It's an unprecedented military opportunity that these guys represent. They decide to stop persecuting them; put their differences aside. For how long, we'll see. Who knows what's going to happen in the future? They recruit the Razielim, and say okay; we'll stop persecuting you, but join us and together we'll fight against the humans. That's where these guys come in, and we're really excited by the, as I say, the opportunity with the lore, but also the gameplay opportunity that they represent.
GK: Bear in mind there've been some very, very interesting granular questions posed about the Razielim on the forums by some very, very; I want to say well-educated, but certainly well-versed LoK aficionados. Surely if the Razielim had been being persecuted then that wouldn't have left them enough time to pupate, because as we all know, the vampires in Nosgoth; they don't devolve, or evolve, along; gradually, it's always through particular moments; best word of saying this; particular eras, they're evolving more quickly than others, and these are actually, funny enough, all questions we have answers to; plus if you're wondering; okay; if there are Razielim around in this era, but we know there aren't Razielim around at least visibly when Raziel comes out of the Abyss what happens to them in the meantime? We're not ready to reveal that just yet. We do still want to hold onto a few mysteries simply because mystery is one of the things that's made the Legacy of Kain series so great. "Why are the vampires in Nosgoth much more human-looking than the ones in SR1?"
BB: The vampires that we see when Raziel emerges from the Abyss are massively devolved. They've gone through this process of devolution literally, and they've become these inhuman monsters. At this point in time though we're centuries before then. While they're starting to go through that process they've got a long way to go, and we're very interested with some of their hints about their abilities, and their appearance, that they're all based on what they're going to turn into. Obviously we need to make sure that what they can do fits very well with the gameplay of this game. At the same time we've been looking if; not only their physical characteristics, but their mental characteristics as well. What's the psychology of the lieutenants? What would that mean in terms of the kind of legion that he would build? The answer is that they will end up looking like the vampires from the far future of Soul Reaver 1. They're not there yet. They've got some way to go.
GK: And just to follow on from what Bill said about the psychology; we've not just been looking at what's been in the games. We've also been looking at what's around the games; what the original teams at Crystal Dynamics were saying about them in interviews, and on forums, and stuff like that, and I don't want to give away too much information, but; OK.
BB: No. "Want."
GK: Right. Okay. This is from Hashakgik888. "Here's my question: since this is set after Kain's disappearance and the Razielim are still around, this appears to confirm what many fans have long suspected, which is that Kain did not actually wipe the clan out after he had Raziel thrown into the Abyss. However, the lore on the site describes them as "devolved" members of the "once-proud" Razielim. How come they have devolved while the Dumahim and Turelim are clearly still at the height of their power? Will this be explained in the game at all?" Should I start, and then?
BB: I think we've covered some of that already, but to fill in the gaps...
GK: Essentially, and this isn't necessarily something that we something that we're going to be – the Razielim are clearly one of the most interesting parts of the game for long time LoK fans, and I would prefer the opportunity to explain them at length over the website, and other means, rather than just do it in a splurge now when I'm just babbling, but essentially, Raziel is the first raised. His clan are slightly more; they tend to evolve, in the same way that Raziel was ahead of the path, in devolutionary speaking, than his other brethren. I'm aware that in the opening cutscene by GlyphX you can see effects of the other devolvements; Turel has bigger ears, and Rahab has some scales, but they're nothing like massive wings. His clan are naturally more devolved. Equally, they're; I'll just say this. The big difference between the Razielim and the other clans is that they're missing a lieutenant, and this has; well, all I'll say is that this somehow interplays with the effects of Nupraptor's curse. I don't want to go into specific details about that just yet, because it's far too interesting for me to just gab about, but it's to do with that. Please speculate. That would be wonderful, but that's the key differentiator.
BB: Okay. Enough.
GK: Okay. Sorry. "If the game indeed is placed after SR1;" it's not, but; "why do the vampires have five fingers and toes? Yes, okay they might be;" this is from Kiertis by the way on the forums; "Yes, okay they might be fledgelings but what's up with the Razielim's face? Also, the Turelim people should have clearly very elongated ears (like they did in the original games). Where are their vampire fangs? Is it still possible to make the;" we'll come onto that bit in a second. The difference between...
BB: ...okay. Which bit first?
GK: Let's do the bit between the cloven fingers, and feet, and the fangs. It's all the same stuff.
BB: Okay. It is. These are not the lieutenants. They're not at the same state of evolution as Kain is, or his lieutenants.
GK: They've been raised from corpses. They've got to wait a while.
BB: They start as humans and eventually, over time, they will devolve. They'll change into the very inhuman figures we've seen later, but we're not at that point in history. So, for the Turelim for instance, eventually they will mutate into these large-eared, monstrous creatures. They're not there yet. That's all we can say. So, they're going through that process.
GK: However, we have definitely been reading, and digesting, all of the feedback about the character models, and it's definitely something that we're looking at, and looking forward to showing you more in the future. I don't want to be; and the only reason I'm being so cagey now is that if I say anything too specific now I know half of you will hold me to it, and something that I might say now; we might come up with something cooler later on, or we might – things might change. This is a live game. Things are very, very fluid, so the only reason why I'm being slightly vague is so that I don't get castigated about it later on on the Internet, but it's true to say, why wouldn't we want to make something that you'd prefer to see? Right. “Is it still possible to make the characters look more like they actually have some connection to the original games?” Okay. I've just basically vaguely hinted at that. The next one is from kiranfenrir, again from the forum. "Will we be able to witness over time the decay of the land? How will the degeneration of the vampire race affect stat growth?" For starters, "will we be able to witness over time the decay of the land."
BB: The way that we're looking at that is that the corruption of Nosgoth is centered on the Pillars, and spreads outwards.
GK: Radially. Radially.
BB: We know in this era the Pillars have been destroyed. The remains of them are the heart of Kain's empire in the Sanctuary of the Clans, and spreading out from that you've got the physical decay of Nosgoth. As we move forward and we build more areas; more landscapes; more maps, then we will certainly be exploring a full range of different environment conditions from slightly more intact through to much more decayed or war-torn areas. We've got lots of plans for future content, and I know we're probably going to say that a lot, but it's true, and critically we've got our plans, but exactly which of those we enact, how we change them, is going to be driven by user feedback. As with all live games, it's the fans. It's the community who will shape the future development of that. I've got ideas. George has got ideas. I know the dev team are bursting with ideas of future content that we want to get in. It's just we can't build it all at once, but wait and see.
GK: Yes. Absolutely. The maps that you've seen in the trailer so far; they are from Provance, Valeholm, and Freeport. Freeport and Provance you can tell where they existed before, because they were in the intro cutscene for Blood Omen 2. They're very far away from the Pillars. They're much closer towards Meridian. They're not right by Meridian, but they're certainly on the way towards. This is further out from the Pillars, and it was strongly hinted in Blood Omen 2 that the corruption was radial, because otherwise Meridian wouldn't have been in such a good state four hundred years after the Pillars had collapsed. We're trying; well, we're not trying. We're being as absolutely faithful to what has been established in canon as we possibly can be...
...and if you wouldn't mind, stop doing all the ASCII art in the Twitch chat. That would be tremendously appreciated.
Next we have a question from blueobelix. "The question that all of us will ask but we are 100% sure you won't ask." You don't say that to a community manager. As soon as you say that you're 100% sure I'm not going to answer something, I'm going to answer it. "Is there hope for the Defiance sequel? IS there any hope for that?" And let's expand this. Let's say is there any hope for any kind of single-player game moving forwards? Might as well...
BB: Why not. We would absolutely love to. As we said, we're massive fans of Legacy of Kain; the franchise as a whole; and when the time is right, we'd love to continue that single-player experience. There are so many factors involved in that. It has to be the right idea for the game; the right team that can make it; the right conditions; the right audience; the right market conditions, to get a bit businessy for a moment. There's lots of factors, and we appreciate that it is immensely frustrating. The fact that you guys have kept faith for so long in the absence of that kind of game is humbling, to be honest. Meeting with the community; meeting with the fans; hearing how much it means to them, was just awesome. We would love to do that, but we're absolutely committed to making that if and when we do, it's done right. The worst thing we could do would be something that didn't live up to expectations; that sort of half served that need...
GK: ...and it's got to be fun.
BB: It's got to be fun. It's got to be a good game, but yes. We're not ruling anything out. It's not something that is in development right now. I think we've already stated that publicly, but who knows in the future? If the conditions are right...
GK: ...there's will to do it, but there's factors that need to be met.
GK: Moving on, and just specifically about a sequel to Defiance itself; the thing is, you ask the community, and there's so many different versions of what they'd like to see next as a single-player game. Lots of people would like to see a sequel; lots of people would like to see an interquel, various different things.
BB: And we always feel that Nosgoth is basically; that's the third character in the games; is the world itself. It's supported two great antihero leads. Who's to say it couldn't; there's room for lots of stories in the land of Nosgoth.
GK: And it was built that way. It was built as I quoted on NeoGAF; a quote from Amy Hennig that I don't remember off the top of my head, and I feel bad even bringing her name into this conversation, because of exactly who she is in relation to the series, but the world of Nosgoth is wide, and it's broad, and it's got deep, strong foundations that allow for a multitude of different characters; not the same kind of like village of the same key players over and over again. There's various different viewpoints that you can take. For example, look at the Pillar Guardians. The Pillar Guardians only existed in one of the games. They still get so much. There's so much talk about them. Apart from Mortanius and Moebius they don't; I don't; I'm just trying to think if there's any; and Malek. Very few of them appear in; and Ariel.
GK: I know. Very few of them appear in the other games. Anacrothe doesn't, and we've referenced them. We've referenced Anacrothe, and when we have an Alchemist class it only makes sense that they would have some understanding of Anacrothe. You have to understand, this is; oh I can't remember the exact date, because I've gotten it written down on a timeline back at my desk, but this is certainly several millennia after the end of Blood Omen. The way that the humans in this particular era are referencing Anacrothe is very, very different to the actual evil, nutty, thirty years of developing weird stuff in Dark Eden Anacrothe that you see in Blood Omen.
GK: Anyway. Tangent. TheKhan wants to know, "is there any possibility of this moving to PS3 or any other platform?"
BB: Right now we're releasing on PC. Going forward who knows? If the demand is there...
GK: ...it's a live game. We can do it.
BB: It's a live game. This is the point. Not yet, but who knows.
GK: This is from RamielWTF. "Do you plan on keeping the game casual or are you going for the e-sports scene?"
BB: We definitely want to make it easy for anyone to get into, and we've seen this in our playtests. Obviously we've been playing it a lot, but we can give it to new players, and they very quickly get to grips with it, and then in some cases start murdering me. It's a game that is very easy to pick up and play, and that was deliberate. At the same time a huge amount of time, and effort, has been spent in balancing it. As you're probably aware it's an asymmetrical game. It's not just two bunches of guys shooting at each other, or lobbing grenades at each other. If it was, it would've been a lot easier, but that wouldn't be very interesting. What we've got here is a game that gives you a distinct experience as humans, and vampires, but they are so focused on getting that balance right that for the competitive player there's depth; there's tactics; there's a variety of character classes; tactics with the character classes; abilities; equipment; how you customize your character; that means for the more hardcore eSports player then absolutely; the game lends itself to that as well.
GK: Right. Moving on.
BB: That's not too quickly; am I? I'm giving you time.
GK: No. "My question is how recognizable will Nosgoth be to the already established franchise. Art direction and graphics aside, but in regard to the narrative." I've already said that we're not revealing narrative in moment to moment gameplay. It's a fast-paced multiplayer game. If you're familiar with I guess Team Fortress whilst it's in third person I guess there are certain similarities you could draw with that. If you're familiar with Unreal Championship 2 which is a game from the original Xbox era; I understand if some of you aren't familiar with it; it's similar to that in terms of its fast place kind of platform.
BB: And that kind of environment; that's not the space for narrative exploration. We want people to be able to get into the game, and have fun as fast as possible. That said there are other avenues for us to deliver that content, whether it is set dressing; whether it's details in the world, and it is insanely detailed. I have to say the maps are gorgeous. There's a lot of clues, and hints we can build in there. There's the website where there's a history, bios of the characters.
GK: And you've only just seen the; we've literally just shown you the very, very top level surface layer first glimpse of Nosgoth, and the trailer's from pre-alpha gameplay.
BB: It's moved on since then, and we're really really happy with how it is.
GK: Right. Okay. This is stuff that we're probably going to be a bit cagey about answering; another one from Hashakgik888. "Will there be any appearances from the remaining Lieutenants as NPCs in cutscenes, etc., or will it be just "build your party, go to loading screen, play match"?" Firstly you don't build a party.
BB: No. Basically as we said cutscenes and lengthy narrative exposition have their place in some games. That's not this game, to be honest. It's all about getting into the game, and getting together a group of like-minded players; friends; allies; taking on the role of the humans or the vampires; and diving into the battle; into the war. Lengthy cutscenes have their place, absolutely, in some titles. It would be out of place in here. So, no, you won't be seeing them there.
GK: As for the lieutenants, that's TBC. "In this era, what is the state of the smokestacks that block out the sun?" I think it's safe to say that the sun is very much blotted out by this time, although, yes I think; cool.
BB: Yes, and we will be looking at how, and where, we can show that, maybe; put it online. Let's not go there.
GK: Right, and we've already answered where exactly is Kain. This is YourWaywardDestiny. "Why set it in the era in which it has been set when there are so many gaps of time that are relatively undeveloped to choose from? What, precisely made the era or Raziel's decent more appealing for you then, say the Ancient Vampire/Hylden era of warring? Or perhaps the era of the Sarafan? Or even the time era post Soul Reaver?"
BB: I think, as we said, there's a very interesting period of history right here that's never been explored. What exactly happened? How does the empire go from dominating the whole of Nosgoth to this wasteland that Raziel emerges into? We could have come up with a whole new time period, but we felt this one was very, very interesting. It lets us explore new character classes; new factions; new heroes; new battlegrounds...
GK: ...stuff you didn't expect.
BB: ...but all within the established timeline. It answers questions that haven't been answered before; what happened to the Razielim, for example; how the vampires devolved into what we come to see them later. It made sense to fit it here, and we saw when people started speculating online as to where it was, that very rapidly people ended up having the same answers that we had.
GK: Right. One more from Lucinvampire. "The FAQ states that the game runs on several Windows operating systems but I do not see Windows 8 listed - will the game run on this?"
BB: Yes. I think that's just an oversight on the website.
GK: "I wanted to know how many people will there be per team? I can see 3 classes does this mean 3v3?"
BB: No. It supports up to ten players at the moment. That's five a side.
GK: I like this one. Thereal –sorry. That was from xLiaMz from the forum by the way. This is from Therealrabban. "Are those Hylden statues in that concept art at (2:24) of the announcement trailer?" No. No. Those are not Hylden statues at all. We're not saying what they are yet...
BB: ...no. That's a map which is currently in development...
GK: ...it's cool.
BB: ...and we will talk more about that when it is ready.
GK: hydre39 wants to know, "will be the skill tree,how many active skill can we have in battle and will it be level?" This isn't an MMO. It's very much more like an action game.
BB: You have a loadout of three skills, and they're a mixture of offensive and defensive, and it's up to you to choose which ones best suit your play style, but, yes, as George said, it's not an MMO. There's not a skill tree per se. There's a number of options as to how to customize your character, and it's worth saying, and I think it's probably a question that gets asked later, is how we avoid sort of pay-to-win. You do as you grow in stature as a player; as you spend more time in the game; you get to unlock new content, but critically these aren't upgrades. They're sidegrades, which is a bit of an awkward term I know, but the idea here is that if I like playing as a Reaver for instance, and I like the Pounce ability, then I can find a variant of the Pounce ability. Maybe one with a longer range, or a faster cooldown. Maybe it doesn't have auto-aim. It's more skill-driven, but it's more effective. I can find an ability that best suits my play style. That doesn't make me better than another player. It just means that in my chosen role; how I like playing the game; I will be having more fun, and this is critical.
With a live game we don't want it to be the case that if you're not there at day one by the time you join the game you're going to get your ass handed to you by a player who's spent a lot of time in the game. Obviously you spend time in the game; you get to know the maps; you get to know the controls; get to know the abilities. Player skill definitely plays a part, but it's not a case that if I join now some guy who's been playing for six months or a year or whatever can just dominate me, because that's not fun. It might be fun for him briefly, but actually there's not much challenge there, and for the new player, it's absolutely not fun, and that's something that from day one the dev team have been absolutely committed to. It's not pay-to-win. It's a game that, like you say; it's easy to get into, and it needs to stay that way. It needs to stay as welcoming, and accessible, and as fun as it can, because that's the only way it's going to have a long lifespan, and keep players entertained.
GK: I think we're going to take some questions from Twitter now, because we've focused on the forum a lot. Everyone who's left questions on the forum, I promise I will get back to you as soon as I can. Might not be tomorrow; might not be the day after, but it will be very very soon; like in the next week or two with answers to your questions. Moving onto Twitter. "Is Nosgoth going to be pay-to-win?" No, Nosgoth is not going to be pay-to-win. We're not going to do any supremacy items.
BB: No. There are, as I said, there are sidegrades; there are cosmetic ways of customizing your character; how you choose to look; but it is not pay-to-win. Someone who's spent a lot of time in the game might have more choices than you; doesn't make them better. It just makes them more varied.
GK: Next, we have – pardon me. "Will Nosgoth be released / be supported on other languages than English?" This is from The Reaver.
BB: Not right now, but, as you probably gathered, we have a massive amount of content that we still add to the game as we go forward. It's English for now, but watch this space.
GK: Chaz wants to know, “are there any chance of having some mods in the Twitch chat.” I'm afraid not, but you all seem to be amusing yourselves nevertheless. We're not taking your questions from the Twitch chat. “Do I know what Hylden are?” Yes I know what Hylden are. Even if I didn't know what Hylden are I could Google it. In fact if you want me to give you a potted history of what Hylden are, I might as well...
BB: ...no! Come on.
GK: Okay, fine, okay. Right. Next we have, "will there be hub areas to just hang out as vamp or human?" No. The game doesn't work like that. It is PvP. Benjamin McGinn wanted to know, "will this be a true MMO or just a PVP Platform?" It's PvP.
BB: It's not an MMO.
GK: "Has anyone that worked on any of the previous LoK games working on Nosgoth?"
BB: No. This is a very, very different type of game. We have an immense amount of respect for the original developers. Most of them are no longer part of our company. They've moved on. They're doing great things in their new roles, but in making this game we wanted to make sure that we could find the best dev team to make this kind of game, and with Psyonix we're immensely lucky. They're amongst the best multiplayer developers in the world. They've worked on multiplayer gaming for ten years I think, going back to Onslaught Mode in Unreal Tournament, which I still have fond memories of. They've worked on some massive games. They've worked on Gears of War. They've worked on Unreal Tournament. They've worked on Mass Effect in the multiplayer space. Literally we couldn't choose a better development partner for this. We're very, very pleased to be working with them. Their skill set matches the type of game we're making now which is why we went to those guys.
GK: Next we have: “will people be allowed to stream or record the closed beta test or is that not allowed?” I think that's currently TBC. The honest to God answer is that we're still a little way away from...
BB: ...we haven't announced exactly when that's going to happen. We'll provide more details at the time.
GK: It's something that we're discussing. I've got a vague idea, but I don't really want to say... OK, fine. “Why are the Pillars on Nosgoth's logo, but they don't appear in the game?” The Pillars are central to Nosgoth. They are the beating heart, and force, that determines the health of Nosgoth. However, in this particular era, the Pillars are completely decimated; destroyed; and just because they haven't been in the announcement trailer doesn't necessarily mean that you'll never ever see them, but that's not necessarily to say that you are going to see them either.
GK: That was as much of a non-answer as I could possibly give. Okay. We have some more Tweets here. "Will there be a single-player campaign to explain the story?" This is from Justin Stalmach. No. There won't be a single-player campaign to explain the story. No. "Are you going to include old familiar characters like Janos Audron and Moebius?" Janos Audron and Moebius aren't around in this era. "Will you bring back the stellar voice actors of the originals? If Kain were to make an appearance would Simon Templeman voice him?" Possibly, but we've no plans at all for Kain to make an appearance in this game, because he's not around during this era, and if we were going to work with Simon Templeman I think we'd want to work with him in a credible way, and not as...
BB: ...not some kind of gimmick.
GK: Not some kind of throwaway thing. Right. I'm going to take a few more questions from the forum. We had a couple of really good gameplay questions here. "My questions are all gameplay related." This is from WrecktalDefiler.
"Will spell casting and auto attacks be targeted or used as skill shots, like the difference between World of Warcraft and Smite?" As we've already explained, it's more action-heavy than that. However, I can say that we do have certain attacks that do auto-target, and some certain...
BB: ...we do, but we don't do a World of Warcraft targeting system. It's a skill-based game, and it's been developed like that from day one.
GK: "What kind of an item system can we expect to see in the game, if there even is one?"
BB: There is. It's not like your League of Legends. It's not a MOBA item system. They're not disposable items. The humans obviously have access to a range of items, and equipment. The vampires similarly have variant powers, and abilities, but those are optional. There's unlocks. They're optional choices for your loadout. As we said, it's not a MOBA. It's not an MMO. It is a class based PvP game and the item system reflects that.
GK: Al wanted to know, "why are the Turelim no longer psykers with large ears, and now big brutes?" The Turelim are so large in Soul Reaver 1, as well. They're the biggest, most hulking class you come across.
BB: They're the physically strongest.
GK: They've always been the biggest, physically most impressive. If you take a look at the unused models from Soul Reaver, between Turel and Dumah, Turel was massive. He completely towered over Dumah. Equally, when you come across Turel in Defiance he's huge. He's still much bigger than Dumah as you see him in Soul Reaver. It only makes sense for the Turelim to be bigger than the Dumahim. They're bigger in Soul Reaver. Back to the forum. "Will there be different scenarios to play, such as a capture the flag or king of the hill? And if so, how do you intend to incorporate them into the game without taking away from the authenticity of the experience?"
BB: We're not ready to talk about different game modes yet. When we do we're going to be very conscious that they need to fit within the franchise as it is. We wouldn't have a vampire grabbing a flag, and running to a glowy capture point. That just wouldn't work. Whatever we do will need to fit within the world, and the game that we've built. We are exploring lots of possibilities, and we'll talk more about them when we are ready.
GK: "Will we be seeing any other type of faction, other than humans and vampires?" I think we're going to be only seeing humans and vampires in this game. These are the two factions that are around in this era. The Hylden aren't there in this particular timeline. Somebody asked on a forum; I can't remember which one; "which of Soul Reaver's timelines does this take place on?" This takes place on the second timeline. We're exploring this era as it would've been experienced chronologically by the characters that have lived through it. This is prior to Raziel and Kain going back through time. We're not making any strong statements on whether or not the ramifications of what happened in the third and fourth timelines has any effect on the second timeline; whether or not this particular chunk of future actually comes to exist...
BB: Short answer; it's...
BB: ...humans and vampires.
GK: Vampires. Yes, and lastly, and I'm really happy to close on this question; "you seem to have put a lot of emphasis on how you have made the melee v. ranged balanced." This is as much a question for Psyonix as it is for us, and as I said at the start we'll be doing a live stream hopefully again in the future with Psyonix present where we'll be talking more about the individual gameplay details.
BB: I will say, though, that has been, from day one; that was always the intention. It's been one of the biggest challenges. It's also what makes the game really exciting for us. Humans need to feel scared. If a vampire gets up close they need to be worried. At the same time they need to be able to actually have a fighting chance. Thing with a vampire; a vampire needs to know that they're exposed. They're caught in the open. They can get killed before they get to close with their target, but again it can't be that binary. There always needs to be shades of gray, and areas where smart players; clever players; can overcome that inherent balance and use the environment; use their skills; play tactically; get the drop on their enemies; engage them cleverly. That has been probably the thing we've worked most on and it's something that we're really happy with where it is. It will keep evolving over time as new character classes get added; as we get more users in the game; more feedback. From day one it's been a massive priority, and we're very happy with how the game's playing right now.
GK: I think that just about wraps things up. This is an ongoing, continuing conversation, and I know that a lot of you want to carry on speaking right now. I can tell by checking out the Twitch.tv chat.
BB: We should talk about the website. Just make sure people...
GK: I will. If you want to reach out to me directly, send me a private message via the forums, www.nosgoth.com ...
See, this is what happens when you have a live stream.
BB: You didn't turn it off. Are you...
GK: ...no. I'm deeply unprofessional right now.
GK: And then you can go to the forums. You can private message me there. You can also reach out to me directly on Twitter. You can reach out to me directly on Facebook. I'm also going to be keeping an eye on NeoGAF, and probably Giant Bomb, and the Penny Arcade forums, as well. As many places as you can possibly reach me online I will probably be.
BB: And we want you in the beta.
GK: Yes. Absolutely.
BB: Go to the website, register, and we'll see you in the game, because that's going to be the ultimate test. We're really proud of it. We're really happy with where it's at. We've got really exciting plans for the future, and we want you guys to be part of those as soon as possible. Do please sign up. Okay?
GK: That's cool. Well, thank you very much. It's been an awful lot of fun. It's been incredibly nerve-wracking, but also a lot of fun, as well, and as we've said look forward to doing this again in the future.
BB: Okay. Awesome. Thanks guys.
GK: Cool. Thanks very much.