Robot Entertainment CEO Patrick Hudson speaks with GamingBolt about the upcoming Stadia exclusive.
Orcs Must Die! has garnered a strong fanbase over the years, thanks to the series’ enjoyable core loop of fighting against ever-growing hordes of orcs. Though for a while the future of the franchise was a little murky, soon, Robot Entertainment will be bringing it back with Orcs Must Die! 3– and as a timed Stadia exclusive, no less. With bigger hordes to fight and improvements made to mechanics of previous titles, the upcoming sequel is looking to be the franchise’s best outing yet. We recently got the chance to send across some of our questions about the nature of these improvements and the game’s Stadia exclusivity to its developers. You can read our interview with Robot Entertainment CEO Patrick Hudson below.
"Eventually, we will bring the game to other platforms, but for now we are working hard to deliver a fantastic experience on Stadia."
Why did you decide to launch Orcs Must Die! 3 as a Stadia exclusive?
We were asked this question a lot when the game was first announced.
We would have waited longer to make a decision on developing Orcs Must Die 3. Google was extremely supportive and anxious to get Orcs Must Die 3 on Stadia early.
Eventually, we will bring the game to other platforms, but for now we are working hard to deliver a fantastic experience on Stadia.
Is the Stadia’s cloud-powered nature something Orcs Must Die! 3 uses to its advantage from a game design perspective?
Making sure everyone gets to experience the war scenarios the same way regardless of their machine is the advantage here. As soon as we decided how much we could push the enemy army size it was nice to know that everyone would get to fight the same army. It’s pretty cool to think that as long as you have an internet connection you can play any of the games on Stadia exactly as they are intended to be seen and played.
It’s been a while since Orcs Must Die! 2 came out- given the gap between it and the upcoming sequel, what are the biggest leaps the game has made in terms of not only visuals, but also gameplay mechanics?
War scenarios & war machines are a pretty big leap in gameplay since OMD 2. The look & feel of the war scenarios is different as soon as it starts. Noticing you are outside of an Order fortress and on a giant battlefield will instantly let players know that the scale is amped up in a war scenario. The UI will change a bit at the start of a war scenario to allow players to use the war machine loadout bar.
The story and storytelling have moved forward quite a bit too. We have fully animated, in game cinematics in OMD 3. The story jumps ahead 20+ years after OMD 2 and our story fans are always happy to see how things are progressing or changing in our world.
On the art side, it’s obviously a brand-new engine. Orcs Must Die! and Orcs Must Die! 2 were developed on a now defunct game engine. Orcs Must Die! 3 is developed in Unreal Engine 4. So everything graphically is modern: higher fidelity characters, larger and more detailed textures, etc. We hope players agree that it’s a more vibrant and richer look.
"It’s pretty cool to think that as long as you have an internet connection you can play any of the games on Stadia exactly as they are intended to be seen and played."
Can you talk about the new War Machines, and how they change the flow of battles?
As for the war machines, in almost all cases they are much bigger than traps OMD2 players will remember. Players will also be able to mount some of them and control them during the battles. They are meant to control larger armies which is what you will be facing. In war scenarios, a single wave might pit the player against as many enemy’s as an entire scenario of waves from OMD 2.
To answer the “flow” of battles question I would say players need to balance a couple different things in war scenarios pertaining to war machines.
One is just the economy between spending money on war machines versus “regular” traps. Regular traps can be placed inside fortresses and outside on the battlefields. War machines can only be placed outside of the Order fortresses. The war machines can be fairly expensive.
Not all war machines are mountable but there is a little bit of a balancing act when comes to how much time to spend in a mountable war machine versus running around on the battlefield (or inside the fortress) fighting hand-to-hand or ranged. In other words, staying mounted in a powerful war machine might seem like a good idea but you have to know when to get out and take care of other “problems”. The opposite is true as well. Leaving your war machines too soon can be equally as detrimental.
At some point the army is going to threaten the gates that keep the bad guys outside of the fortress. The balance between moving inside the fortress and setting up in preparation for losing your gates is also crucial.
War Scenarios seem like the biggest and most exciting new addition in Orcs Must Die! 3, and so far, it definitely seems like they’re going to be highlights of the game. Can you tell our readers a bit more about what these are and what role they will play in the game?
Well, I sort of look at the war scenarios as “Boss Scenarios”. Not because there is some traditional “Boss-fight” in them (although there are named enemies in the war scenarios to deal with) but because the war scenarios feel like special milestones to reach and conquer as you play through the campaign. They are also a big part of the story. As players go through the story/campaign they will learn more about why they are dealing with armies they have never dealt with before.
Enemy variety is something Orcs Must Die games always excel in. With that in mind, what can players from new types of orcs being introduced in Orcs Must Die! 3?
Well, fans can always count on the fact the orcs will be orcs when it comes to OMD games. They have not gotten any smarter over the years. That said, there is a big variety of enemies new and old. That includes some new “named” enemies as well as a new race (not in OMD 1 or 2) that provide slightly different challenges when trying to beat scenarios.
"Fans can always count on the fact the orcs will be orcs when it comes to OMD games. They have not gotten any smarter over the years. That said, there is a big variety of enemies new and old."
Roughly how long will an average playthrough of Orcs Must Die! 3 be?
For the campaign alone I would say the average player will need 10 to 12 hours to knock it out. That can vary based on difficulty setting and skill level of course.
As seasoned OMD fans know we have a 1 to 5-skull rating system for scenarios. The time it takes players to 5-skull the entire campaign can vary a lot. Traditionally players like to 5-skull all the levels. The playtime can increase a lot if you are a completionist at heart.
There is also an Endless mode so in the end, amount of playtime you are able to experience in OMD games can technically go from 10 to 1000 hours.
What are your plans for the game’s post-launch support as far as new content or updates are concerned?
I can’t give away too many details here, but Robot is committed to OMD3 in the form of releasing updates and future content.
Stadia’s promise of massive, large-scale games driven by the cloud is an exciting one, but how long do you think it will be before that promise is fully realized? Are we going to see that manifest in Orcs Must Die! 3 itself as well?
Terms like massive and large scale can mean different things to players. When it comes to OMD 3, I think we are definitely going to scratch the surface with the large-scale army sizes in our war scenarios. That said, OMD 3 is primarily a single player or coop experience.
Not sure I can speculate on how long it might take to fully realize the potential of cloud gaming. I am sure Stadia has a few things up their sleeves and the game industry can move pretty fast.