BioWare gilt als Garant für erstklassige Rollenspiel-Unterhaltung: Blockbuster wie Baldur's Gate 2 oder Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic sprechen für sich. Aber was wird aus dem asiatisch angehauchten Jade Empire? Nahkampfaction mit Story oder ein Martial Arts-Epos mit Tiefgang? Wir haben bei Lead Designer Kevin Martens nachgefragt.
4Players: Could you introduce yourself?
Kevin Martens: My name is Kevin Martens. I am the Lead Designer of Jade Empire. I previously worked on the Baldur’s Gate series and the Neverwinter Nights series.
4Players: The world of Jade Empire is based on ancient China and Asian myths. What kind of sources did your team use to get inspired?
Kevin Martens: Not only is Jade Empire a game with a very different setting for us, but it’s also BioWare’s first new intellectual property. Before we began to actually design and write the levels and plots, we spent a lot of time researching and developing the setting in an effort to make the experience as rich as possible. We’ve read at least a metric ton of books—everything from comic books and novels to histories and memoirs. Three of the great Chinese novels were a huge influence on us: Outlaws of the Marsh is an excellent series that tells the stories of a group of 108 noble outlaws, Journey to the West is the classic story of the Monkey King, and The Three Kingdoms is an epic tale of a massive civil war in Chinese history. The novels of Louis Cha, a hugely popular modern Chinese author, are some more modern works of interest. Of course, we watched virtually every martial arts movie that we could find. I highly recommend Hero and Fist of Legend to anyone interested in the genre.
4Players: Aside from the scenario and the visuals: What would you say sets Jade Empire apart from KotOR?
Kevin Martens: I think I can best illustrate the differences if I briefly cover the elements that remain the same. Like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire is an epic role-playing game with rich character interaction, a huge world to explore, and an excellent and accessible rules system to back it all up. We’ve worked hard on all of these elements, using what we’ve learned from making Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Neverwinter Nights, and the Baldur’s Gate series, to make this the best roleplaying game that we’ve ever made.
What really sets us apart from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic are our cool new action-combat system and our brand new rules system. The combat system is fully real-time martial arts action. We have over 30 fighting styles, including martial styles, weapon styles, magic styles, and even transformation styles, with which you can turn into massive monsters and utterly destroy your enemies. __NEWCOL__The new rules system was specially designed for Jade Empire and offers a rich yet accessible character system with a lot of options and paths for a player to take.
4Players: What kind of characters are available at the beginning of the game? And can you create a character from scratch or are they prebuild?
Kevin Martens: We provide you with 7 archetype characters to choose from at the beginning of the game. You can choose one of these characters as is, or you can simply choose your appearance and customize everything else about your character.
Wu, die kämpfende Lotus-Blüte, streift durch ein Dorf. Unten rechts steht übrigens keine gehörnte Statue, sondern euer Begleiter Chai Ka. Er soll recht aufbrausend sein...
The purpose of the archetype characters is to give the player a great starting point that fits their individual play style, but playing an archetype does not mean that you are picking a specific character and must role-play as him or her. Whether you play as an archetype or as a character that you’ve created, the world and the people within it react according to the role-playing choices that you make in the game.
4Players: What about party interaction in Jade Empire? Can you invite comrades and do they support your adventure?
Kevin Martens: Ever since Baldur’s Gate, followers and party members have been a very important part of the BioWare roleplaying experience. With Jade Empire we’re trying a lot of new things to try to make your followers the most fully realized characters that we’ve made yet. This isn’t a party-based game in which you control a small group of people and choose their every move; rather, your followers fight and adventure with you, but they have their own reasons and actions.
Interaction with the NPCs that join you is very rich, and you’ll always find that these people have strong opinions and emotions that play a big part in the game. The followers take a great interest in what you do, and they’ll speak up both when you do something that they like and when you do something that they don’t. During combat, all of the combat-ready followers have abilities that compliment your character, and they use them to great effect on your many enemies.