When Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War came out in 2007, it gave players a chance to lead groups of swordmen, spearmen, and archers in battles set during the titular European conflict. But when Bladestorm Nightmare comes out March 17th on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and Xbox One, it will not only include the original game, but a entire second one in which those swordmen, spearmen, and archers will battle cylopses, dragons, and other mythical creatures. Bladestorm Nightmare producer Akihiro Suzuki explains how that happened and how it changes (or doesn’t change, as the case may be) how you’ll play this game.
For those unfamiliar with the original Bladestorm, what kind of game was it and how do you play it?
I usually refer to the game as being a “troop command strategy/action” title in which the players take on a role of being a mercenary choosing their desired mission during The Hundred Years War.
So then what is Bladestorm Nightmare?
We refer this title as being a reboot after a seven year break. The overall flow and concept remains as it was originally, but players can now control four units instead of just one. There’s also a new Edit Mode, which allows detailed character customizing, and a new storyline. The graphics have also been enhanced thanks to the hardware capabilities, which has also eliminated what was known as “pop ups” where enemy units suddenly appeared in front of you. This allows for a more realistic battle field recreation in terms of both look and feel.
Bladestorm Nightmare also comes with the original game. Why did you decide to include it?
During the seven year silence, we kept on hearing from our core fans that they were still playing the game. So while we wanted to make sure we came up with something would be appreciated by the returning players, we also wanted to make something for new players, who can now experience the original game from the beginning.
The “Nightmare” part of Bladestorm Nightmare adds a fantasy element to the game. But that fantasy element is decidedly more Western and J.R.R. Tolkien-esque than Japanese. Did you decide to go Tolkien with it because the original game was set during The Hundred Years’ War, which took place in France, England, and Spain?
The process behind in taking this fantasy approach was slightly unique since the storyline was decided after we decided to add monsters and dragons. We wanted to make sure the gameplay itself had added value, which is why we included the additional characters, and it was then that we decided to take the fantasy approach to make sure the new and old storylines were linked in some way.
While the fantasy elements in Bladestorm Nightmare are Tolkien-ish, when it came to deciding how these creatures would look and act, what specific books, movies, comics, and so on did you use for reference and why them?
There were actually no direct referential materials, though we did make sure to pick a fantasy storyline which was interesting yet impactful for both the new and returning players.
In the original game, what kinds of units could you control?
In terms of the available units, some of the basic troop types to name some are Swordmen, Spearmen, Halbert, Longbowmen, Armored Mace, Armored Axe, Lancers, and more.
And what kinds of units can you control in the “Nightmare” part of Bladestorm Nightmare?
The basic gameplay between the two parts is the same, but the additional monsters and dragons will become controllable as you progress through the basic storyline of the Nightmare portion.
Since dragons can fly, does that mean they can do aerial attacks in the game?
It might actually become a debating point if the characters are to be seen as flying, but to say the least, every character has their own unique attack, as well as variations.
Speaking of units you control, in Bladestorm Nightmare you can control four groups of warriors, but only one at a time, though you can switch between them. But what happens when you switch? For instance, if you send Group A to attack some enemy soldiers, then switch to Group B and lead them as they storm a castle, but then decide to switch back to Group A and divert them to help Group B at the castle, will Group A continue heading for the castle when you switch again to Group B, C, or D, or will they go back to attacking the enemy soldiers?
The switching mechanism — which we call “Zapping” — lets you switch between different units under your command on a real time basis during battle. The units you’re not controlling actively will continue to run under your orders which can be changed at any time even when you’re not controlling them.
We decided to take on this “Zapping” mechanism to give the players more command during a given battle which adds to the strategic side to the overall gaming as well.
Lastly, Bladestorm Nightmare is slated to be released on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. But since the original Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War came out on PS3, will that version of Bladestorm Nightmare not include the original game?
All the different platforms will come with identical content, though the hardware capabilities will give it some difference in terms of its appearance.