Exclusive Interview: World Of Warriors Studio Director Mark Knowles-Lee

 

In The Life Of Reason: Reason In Common Sense, philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Which is good news for the kids at Mind Candy, who’ve just released the history-based strategic combat game World Of Warriors on iOS devices, with Android to follow. But in talking to Mind Candy’s studio director, Mark Knowles-Lee, it seems there’s more to World Of Warriors than just repeatedly beating the snot out of someone.

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Let’s start at the beginning: What kind of game is World Of Warriors?

World Of Warriors is an epic combat strategy game for tablets and smart phones. Designed with core console gamers in mind, it combines action, role-playing, and strategy, taking players to stunning locations where they’ll collect and battle with hundreds of warriors from history, including Romans, Vikings, Saxons, Egyptians, samurai, Mongols, ninjas, Celts, Shaolin monks, Aztecs, Trojans, Byzantines, Apaches, and many, many more. Every one of the warriors comes with their own back stories and special moves.

How do you play it?

You can recruit an incredible team of warriors, then train and evolve them to reach the highest heights and unlock the potential and power of your team. Every warrior has its own incredible special attack. Warriors can collect materials and craft powerful Talismans to tip the tides of battle in your favor. You can also compete against others for rare and exclusive prizes. There are daily rewards and weekly events to take part it. There’s also Facebook interaction, where you can compare your progress to your friends against the leader board, though you don’t have to connect to Facebook to play World Of Warriors. You can also unlock epic rewards such as Honor Stones and other special materials for free. As the game unfolds, battles become more complex with new special move types and Talismans affecting battles. We’ve tried to design a combat system that is easy to pick up and play, but that has many layers of depth and strategy.

Where did the original idea for World Of Warriors come from?

Mind Candy’s Johnny Taylor, art director on the game, came up with an initial concept thanks to inspiration from his son, Leon. Leon loves to play fight using his imagination, and loves the back stories behind history’s greatest fighters. Johnny saw an opportunity to turn this enthusiasm into a game and presented it at Mind Candy’s annual offsite meeting, called Candystock.

Was it hard translating the conventions of a fighting game to touchscreens?

We’ve tried to make a game that is best suited for the device and platform it’s on. Fighting games are often very intense, reaction based, and require tricky inputs and commands. For touch screen devices, we’ve concentrated on the strategic and tactical element of the game, and tried to keep the skill elements appropriate for touch devices.

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So what other games do you think World Of Warriors is similar to, and what makes it different?

Inspiration came from everything from Street Fighter to the Final Fantasy series. But we were also inspired by warriors throughout history, and wanted to capture them in a compelling experience that hadn’t been done on mobile before.

You’ve already announced that World Of Warriors will add PVP matches in early 2015, as well as guilds later on in the year. Why not have them in the game now, or, on the flipside, why not wait until they’re done to release the game?

We wanted to share the game this year, and allow our fans to build up their armies and get under the skin of the game. We think having a few months gap allows us to listen to our user base to ensure PVP is the best experience we can offer our fans. But there will be a constant stream of updates in the game, including new characters.

World Of Warriors is a free-to-play game with microtransactions. Why did you decide to go that route?

Digital games are moving towards a free-to-play model with in-app purchases, and we are no different from other games companies in that respect. Mobile is a fast-changing medium, as it evolves, so too will our policies, as we make the right cultural adjustments and understand what our audience wants.

World Of Warriors offers entirely optional “in-app purchases” paid for with real money. These purchases are never required to play the game, but can be used to enhance some elements of gameplay. We’ve been careful to ensure that there’s a good slew of starting warriors, so you can have a really good play through for free.

A lot of games that are free-to-play game with microtransactions have irritated fans by being too aggressive about microtransactions. What have you guys done to make sure World Of Warriors isn’t annoying?

Players have the option to spend real money on additional content to help you progress through the game, but it’s not required and you’ll still have a compelling experience.

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Finally, if someone really liked World Of Warriors, what would you recommend they should play next?

Pokémon, any version, one of the godfather games of RPGs, and a timeless classic with deceptively simple gameplay and lots of cool monsters to collect, or Street Fighter IV, which is the best 1-on-1 fighting game on consoles, and is an amazing characters and is oozing with distinct personality and fun.

 

 

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