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Magicka: Wizard Wars: prepare for more friendly fire

Monday, 8 April 2013 14:26 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Magicka: Wizard Wars is Magicka, but with a twist. How much of one? VG247′s Stephany Nunneley picked the brains of Paradox North EVP John Hargelid and lead designer David Nisshagen to find out what has changed, and what has stayed the same.

Paradox North is a new studio within Paradox, headed up by former-DICE developer John Hargelid which also brought in former Age of Conan designer – and also a former DICE man – David Nisshagen as lead on the new Magicka title, so the team has the proper multiplayer background – and then some- to create a team-based multiplayer game set in the Arrowhead Games franchise.

Wizard Wars is a fast-paced, PvP, four vs four game based on the original game’s PvP add-on only with a better infrastructure straight out of the gate. We all recall the growing pains inherent in the last game at launch, which Hargelid said the team plans to avoid this time out.

“There are over 2 million players who own Magicka and like the PvP experience, so we decided to create a dedicated game for that portion of our community based on the original game created by Arrowhead,” Hargelid explained.

“We try to make sure the game is running in a crash-free state every Friday. We already have it running, and have for around six months now.”

As you already noticed with the live-action trailer, Wizard Wars will contain the same humor and pop culture references Magicka players are used to, but at the same time, it will have a more serious tone to it in the sense that the wizards are embroiled in a civil war. A lurking evil, which was not expanded upon to me, is lurking and pitting the wizards against each other.

Like the previous Magicka, there are eight elements players will use to form different combinations. While the original game had around 40,000 different combinations, these have been scaled down in 1:1 situations in Wizard Wars. Even with less combinations available, there will still be plenty to counter the attacks doled out by your enemies making it more of a fighting game in one-on-one situations.

The game is being developed using a new engine which will also improve on the visual quality and new animations provide for smoother movements and more effects when it comes to attacks and the prerequisite friendly fire, as well as the overall customization of the wizards themselves. So in addition to the color of the wizard’s robe, players can add antlers, necklaces, and all sorts of accessories while still maintaining the overall Magicka wizard look.

It will also contain NPCs, which with the game in pre-Alpha, neither Hargelid or Nisshagen could elaborate much on that aspect, but playtests are run on the game pretty much everyday.

“We try to make sure the game is running in a crash-free state every Friday,” said Nisshagen. “We already have it running and have for around six months now, and with the new engine, we can find and solve any problems rapidly. It’s only been in development for nine months.”

For a game which has only been in development for such a sort amount of time, it’s looking really good, especially from an animation standpoint. All characters can heal, do ranged and close combat damage, and the effects coming out of these moves didn’t seem to slow the game down whatsoever.

With the gameplay, as with any fighting game, remembering the right combinations will be vital to your strategy as there isn’t a pre-selected hero available as in most fighting games. There are no statistics – it’s properly skill-based. No “I do more DPS therefore I win” scenarios.

Movement is also integral to Wizard Wars. In the original game, you moved to a point in the map, stood still, and cast your spell. This time out, you can hunt down your enemy on the run and cast your spells at the same time.

NPCs won’t be mindless drones either. Players will be able to decide whether to use them as support, for healing or as a meat shield. They are there to help the player rather than just running around the game map, and used correctly, will help the teams when taking over the three control points on the map – which once taken over, become a respawn point for the team. A handy thing to have, indeed.

“The goal of the game is really simple: to kill all your enemies, and to do that, you need to take over all the respawn points,” Nisshagen explained. “After this, you need to hunt down the remaining enemies on the map. However, even the last remaining enemy can recapture a respawn point, and bring back his entire team. It’s not over until it’s actually over – unlike other PvP games where you feel as though you lost 10 minutes ago or so, and keep playing just to earn your points.

“We’re also going for shorter rounds, and aiming for something like 5-10 minutes roughly. Again, this helps avoid a 40 minute match where you already know who is going to win. Here you may feel that you are going to lose, but with Magicka, you can at any time turn the game around.”

One of the biggest challenges in getting people to play the original Magicka, was finding people willing to keep track of shift clicks and control clicks – and what’s the difference, right? That was the problem I, personally, had with the original as did Hargelid.

“I said to David, the only thing I want is the main eight elements and I want to be able to use only the mouse if I want to cast all the spells,” he said. “So the solution was to select your combination, and right click. And if you right click on yourself, that means one thing. This makes it context sensitive and you no longer have to keep track of shift and control clicks anymore.”

Now, when you click on yourself, that’s self-cast. Click on an enemy, that’s an attack. Click on the ground in front of you, you will then set up something else.

“I think I cried myself to sleep at night due to trying to reduce the complexity of Magicka’s numerous spells down to the ones which were actually relevant,” said Nisshagen. “Once I started removing redundancies, I was able to shrink things down to something more manageable, and and with balance. So where there were over 40,000 spells in the original game, there were many that players didn’t use – they continued to use just the ones that won them the game.

“So when we streamlined the control scheme, we ended up landing on around 300-400 spells without losing any of the complexity. Just making it more accessible, and more relevant. Some may be a bit wonky, like I can combine fire and life and heal you while I set fire to you – but you may be frozen so there is a purpose with it.”

Hargelid expanded upon the combinations, but saying that he himself had found issues with remembering certain combinations in the original game – a problem I had with it as well. Now, if you see a player charging up ice, you won’t need to decide if you should counter with four fire and one stone. Instead you just choose your element and counter.

“When I played the first game, I thought I was fighting the controls as much as I was the enemy,” Nisshagen said. “I loved the depth and complexity of the system, and I think we’ve been able to keep that, maybe even increase the depth, while giving the player more viable options.”

This has not only made things easier for new players, but veteran player will be able to match up with players of their same skill level, so as not to be bothered playing with those less skilled, helping build a nicer community where players can play with others in the same skillset. Counter to this, the plan is also to put more skilled players with ones not as familiar with the game, so as to help lift them up and teach them rather than harass them – because that is a lose/lose.

“Right now we’re staying on PC where Paradox is strong. It will be on Steam, and the enginewill allow us to bring it to other platforms if we feel it is the right thing to do.”

The team also wants the current community involved in the process, which is why the game was announced as early as it was, so that fans of the original can voice their opinion or tell the team what they want as far as PvP is concerned, and respond to what players want to see going forward with development.

So far, development is only on PC, but the possibility of other platforms isn’t off the table for the future.

“Right now we’re staying on PC where Paradox is strong,” said Hargelid. “It will be on Steam, and the engine the game uses will allow us to bring it to other platforms if we feel it is the right thing to do and to also go where I players want us to go.”

He did say, though, that he has given Nisshagen the challenge of making the game’s controls work on a controller – but at present, he only has ideas for it in his head and maybe on a piece of paper.

“The controls would just need to be streamlined for a console controller – it’s not impossible, and it won’t be up to the same speed, that you can have with PC, because there’s just not enough buttons, but I think we’d have a good shot of making it playable on a console,” said Nisshagen.

While this doesn’t necessarily mean the team is looking to bring the game to consoles, it’s just prudent to contemplate how this would be accomplished, especially with Steam boxes looming on the horizon.

“It is really exciting where everything is heading,” said Nisshagen. “Not only because of being able to appreciate all the pretty graphics which come with PC gaming, and bypassing all the complexities of console updating, but we haven’t seen [the Steam boxes] yet.”

A release date hasn’t been set, but once the online infrastructure is up to the team’s standard, a release date should come not long after, and both Nisshagen and Hargelid seem really excited with not only the studio’s first game, but Paradox North in general.

“I worked at Funcom for three years on Age of Conan and was one of the first designers on the project,” said Nisshagen. “Then I went to DICE and spent a long time working on Battlefield Online, so I spent six years of my life working on projects where I wasn’t able to be there from start to finish. With Paradox North, I am here from the start of the game, and I can actually interact with the community and get it involved.

“With triple-A, it sometimes takes three years to create a game, so from a designer’s standpoint, you are creating a game where you have to imagine what you are creating will be fun to play three years from now. So, what do you do when one day you are like ‘oh, sorry, I had the wrong idea two years ago -oops.’ The duration time on ideas is just too slow.

“So it is much nicer to be working with a smaller team where when the community decides its wants something, we can do it. It really feels fantastic.”

“For me it was just a great opportunity to start something from scratch,” added Hargelid. “We are at 14 people now who are a great mix of great new talent as well as industry vets and Stockholm is a hotbed for new studios and talent at the moment, so it’s all really exciting for me.”

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1 Comments

  1. TheWulf

    I may be interested in this, but I’d be more interested in more proper Magicka. A sequel, maybe.

    I loved Magicka because it stepped away from troped, tired fantasy. As I’ve pointed out before, there was some point around the ’70s or ’80s when fantasy became a thing. There was only sci-fi before that. I blame Tolkien, Dungeons & Dragons, and lots of influences.

    But writers forgot how to have fun with it, they forgot that people could laugh or be charismatic, they forgot that there were stories to be told other than melancholy, black & white, depressing tales about the end of the world and whatnot. That people could LAUGH. They forgot how to not take themselves seriously. I miss those times, times when a Dragonrider could find a spork and be utterly confused by it.

    Magicka was reminiscent of those times. I’d love to see more of it.

    #1 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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  • Why King of Fighters 13 isn’t coming back to Evo

    Evo, the premiere western fighting game tournament, has dropped support for a few previously favoured titles. King of Fighters 13 had a loyal following, but isn’t featured in the Evo 2015 line-up. “Many things go into what games makes it to Evo, but the most obvious one is, ‘Is the community playing this game?’” Evo […]

  • An average Evolve match takes less than ten minutes

    Evolve players are pretty quick at hunting each other down. Evolve developer Turtle Rock has released an infographic brimming with statistics garnered from its recent beta test. One of the key takeaways is that all three monsters, and all four classes, are working as intended – their performance in game matches Turtle Rock’s designs. If […]

  • Super Mario Amiibo can be pre-ordered on Nintendo UK, Mario and Peach sold out

    The latest set of Amiibo in the Super Mario series is now available for pre-purchase through the Nintendo UK Store. Each of the following sports a red base and will run you £10.99: Bowser, Luigi, Mario, Peach, Toad and Yoshi. It looks like Peach and Mario are both sold out, though. All six can be […]

  • The Music of League of Legends Vol. 1 free to download now

    League of Legends has excellent music, and now you can have it too. The Music of League of Legends Vol. 1 collects 15 tracks from the MOBA’s history, and is available for free. You can grab the music from iTunes, Google Play or via direct download. Tere’s an example track below to get you in […]

  • Super Bowl 49 update arrives on Madden NFL Mobile

    With Super Bowl 49 occurring this coming Sunday, February 1, EA Sports has updated Madden NFL Mobile with new feature enhancements and Super Bowl-themed Live Events. Updates include: League vs League Tournaments Obstacle Course Super Bowl Bonus Players Tom Brady and Richard Sherman Super Bowl Legends Super Bowl Moments Upgraded Auction House The Super Bowl […]

  • See Super Smash Bros.’ unused custom moves

    Super Smash Bros. was originally intended to have 16 custom moves per character. The final version of Super Smash Bros. only features 12 custom moves per fighter, but Nintendo left animations for some of the cut moves in place. A Youtuber called RED has dug these cut mvoes out of the brawler’s code, and displayed […]

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt contains 16 hours of sex scene mo-cap data

    Sex is nothing new to the The Witcher games, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is no exception. In fact, it contains 16 hours of sex scene motion capture data. Giggity. There’s a reason for the bedroom dalliances though, as Geralt is a flesh and blood human, or a modified human at any rate, with […]

  • Here’s the launch trailer for Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered

    A launch trailer for Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered has been released after an Amazon listing was revealed for it over the weekend. Key upgrades include: High-definition Graphics — All of the in-game textures have been meticulously recreated in HD for mobile and desktop. Widescreen Support – A true widescreen (not cropped) view strengthens the game’s […]

  • The open beta for Battlefield Hardline will be dated tomorrow

    The exact dates as well as more information on the Battlefield Hardline open beta will be shared tomorrow. This is according to the latest blog post from developer Visceral Games. “We’ll share the exact dates and info on the Battlefield Hardline open beta tomorrow,” wrote Visceral boss Steve Papoutsis. “Stay tuned, thanks again, and keep […]

  • Upcoming Hearthstone patch to apply balance change to Undertaker

    An upcoming Hearthstone patch will apply a balance change to the Undertaker card, Blizzard has announced. After the release of Goblins vs Gnomes, Blizzard said it kept an “eye on the state of game balance” as more matches were played using the additional cards. Released with The Curse of Naxxramas, Undertaker is considered an overly […]

  • February Games with Gold offers up Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

    The free games on offer in February via Xbox Live Games with Gold have been announced. Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox One can download #IDARB during February. Xbox 360 users can grab Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons from February 1-15, when it will be replaced by Sniper Elite V2 from February 16 -28. […]

  • Kinguin blames unidentified Russian for deactivated Far Cry 4 keys

    Third-party game key seller Kinguin is issuing refunds to those who found their games deactivated through Ubisoft’s Uplay service. Customers which purchased keys for Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Far Cry 4, The Crew and Watch Dogs are affected. Kinguin said 4,600 customer tickets were submitted over the last 72 hours and 35 out of 3,400 of […]

  • Video Unlimited to be re-branded as PlayStation Video starting in February

    Like Music Unlimited, Sony’s Video Unlimited service is being replaced and re-branded PlayStation Video. PlayStation Video will become part of PlayStation Network to streamline digital services for the over 64 million PSN users. PlayStation Video and PlayStation Music will be added to PSN which is already a destination point for the PlayStation Store, PlayStation Plus, […]

  • Spotify arrives on PlayStation Music this spring, Music Unlimited closing

    Spotify will launch on PlayStation Network this spring as part of a new music destination called PlayStation Music. PlayStation Music is a replacement for Music Unlimited, and those with a PSN account can link to Spotify which can be used just for music, or when playing games on PlayStation 4. Existing playlists from current Spotify […]

  • Closed beta for Alone in the Dark: Illumination starts tomorrow

    The private beta period for Alone in the Dark: Illumination starts on January 29. Those who pre-order the game via Steam, will automatically be included in the beta, enabling them to provide feedback on the first campaign in single-player mode. An additional beta period will be announced in the weeks leading up to launch. The […]

  • Majora’s Mask Special Edition New 3DS XL available once more on UK store

    UK residents who want to get their hands on the shiny Majora’s Mask Special Edition New 3DS XL can once again pre-purchase it through the Nintendo UK Store. If you want one, you better hurry because units will likely go rather fast. Only one per customer is allowed, and once you drop £209.99 on it, […]

  • Nintendo Q3: 1.9M New 3DS models sold, Wii U lifetime sales hit 9.2M

    New 3DS XL has sold 1.3 million units as of December 31, 2014, Nintendo announced in its Q3 financial results today. New 3DS moved 580,000 units by the end of the same period. Lifetime sales of both systems combined total a little under 1.9 million. Combined global sales for current 3DS models available in Europe […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s exo zombies reanimate a familiar format

    Advanced Warfare’s exo suits manage to bring an undead format back to life. Dave Cook welcomes zombies back to Call of Duty. “The challenges start to spike early so seasoned zombie slayers needn’t worry about being coddled.” Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s first DLC went live this week, dropping four very solid maps for multiplayer […]

  • YouTube app and Maps will be removed from PS Vita

    Sony said that it will end support for the YouTube and Maps apps, as well as remove the “near” feature in an upcoming firmware update. Sony has revealed that a system update releasing in March will remove the Maps app and prevent the “near” feature from obtaining location address or display maps, making it redundant. […]

  • There is a Destiny loot cave Easter egg in Dying Light

    Dying Light is the latest game to take a jab at Destiny by having its own loot cave. Destiny’s infamous loot cave has been recreated in Dying Light, sort of. Of course the loot cave in Dying Light is only an Easter egg and doesn’t actually net you any loot. Instead, upon entering it, you […]

  • Resident Evil: Revelations 2 supports co-op in story mode, but only offline

    You can play the campaign of Resident Evil: Revelations 2 in co-op, but not online. 4gamer spoke to producers of Resident Evil: Revelations 2 and made out with a few details concerning story, setting and more. The site confirmed that while you will be able to switch between characters in the single player, and have […]

  • The Witcher 3 may have a permadeath “Insanity” mode

    Although not yet confirmed, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt developer CD Projekt RED is working on a difficulty mode dubbed “Insanity” that will delete your save if you die. During Monday’s Twitch stream, the developer took a few questions from the chat and we’ve got a bunch of answers. There are many interesting little bits […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition is the most successful launch for BioWare, based on sales

    Dragon Age: Inquisition is responsible for the most successful launch in developer BioWare’s history, according to EA. During last night’s EA Q3 2015 earnings call, the publisher said that Dragon Age: Inquisition was the most successful launch for developer BioWare. Today, we get a bit more detail. “In particular, Dragon Age: Inquisition had by far […]

  • Here’s a walkthrough of one mission from Far Cry 4 Hurk Deluxe DLC

    Far Cry 4′s latest DLC pack, Hurk Deluxe, seems like good fun, judging from this video. The Hurk Deluxe Pack was released today on all platforms. It comes with five new missions. The video below takes a look at the “Call of the Wild” mission. In the walkthrough you’ll get to see some of the […]

  • Battlefield Hardline beta date confirmed on Xbox Store

    The beta date for Battlefield Hardline has popped up on the Xbox Store, confirming the rumoured date. The listing for the Battlefield Hardline beta is available for anyone to see right now on the Xbox Store. Granted, it’s for Xbox 360, but unless EA is starting this beta early on Xbox 360, this will pretty […]

  • GTA player flies jets backwards in impressive stunts

    Doing stunts with jets in GTA 5 can be impressive, but it’s nothing like flying them backwards. Making videos of your jet stunts has become too mainstream. Which is why the latest video from YouTube channel GTA5Videos is all about defying that. The video below features some insane stunts mostly done by flying jets backwards, […]

  • CoD: Advanced Warfare balance patch out, System Hack nerfed, HBRa3 buffed

    The latest patch to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is here with some major changes to game balance. Making good on the promise to nerf System Hack, developer Sledgehammer Games has released the latest patch to Advanced Warfare to do just that, and much more. The patch is out now on Xbox platforms, with PlayStation […]

  • Grinding three purples in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel may crash your game [UPDATE]

    Update: Gearbox Software has announced there’s currently a hot-fix in place for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel as a temporary solution to crashes caused with the DLC update. Until a permanent fix can be made, the hotfix should correct crashing issues. All will be fixed in the next major game update. Original Story A bug that snuck […]

  • Havoc maps up the tempo for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

    Dave Cook dons his Exo suit to find the new Havok DLC maps a great change of pace for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Given that Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare places great emphasis on verticality, it’s little wonder that Sledgehammer Games has designed the first of its four DLC map packs with elevation and […]

  • G2A responds to deactivated Far Cry 4 keys debacle

    G2A, one of the third-party sellers that were named in the ongoing episode of deactivated Far Cry 4 keys has decided to release a statement. G2A is a well known third-party key sellers online. Most users know it through its sponsorship deals with many YouTube and Twitch channels. The service sells keys both through its […]

  • Petroglyph’s Victory resurfaces with Korean co-developer

    End of Nations, Mytheon and Grey Goo developer Petroglyph Games seems to have salvaged a stalled project. Victory popped up back in early 2013 after Trion Worlds took End of Nations in-house. Petroglyph’s attempt to crowdfund the unusual strategy title ended in iniquity, but it vowed to do whatever it could to bring the game […]

  • Far Cry 4 Hurk Deluxe DLC now available

    Far Cry 4′s latest DLC pack adds new story missions and a pile of new weapons. Far Cry 4: Hurk Deluxe is now available on PC and Xbox platforms, and is rolling out to the PSN in line with local network updates. The pack bundles five story missions, including Yak Farm, Blood Ruby and Hurk’s […]

  • Yes, Resident Evil: Revelations 2 has microtransactions

    Resident Evil: Revelations 2 has microtransactions, but thankfully they’re not as outrageous as initial reports suggested. The subject of Resident Evil: Revelations 2′s microtransactions arose earlier today with reports filtering out of a European press event that you’ll be able to pay to keep playing after your character dies. The ramifications of this are pretty […]

  • Play mini-games to unlock Magicka 2 content

    Magicka 2 publisher Paradox Interactive has invited fans to earn in-game rewards by playing other games. The Magicka website will host various mini-games in the build up to Magicka 2′s launch later this year on PC and PS4. Playing these games controbutes to a community score total which will eventually unlock in-game content as well […]

  • Deactivated Far Cry 4 keys were purchased through Origin

    Far Cry 4 owners who found their games deactivated without warning may be surprised to learn where they came from. Many copies of Far Cry 4 purchased through third-party re-sellers have been deactivated without notice. Although resellers affected by the deactivations argued that they had made authorised purchases, Ubisoft has denied this. The publisher told […]

  • Will Assassin’s Creed visit Japan in 2016?

    The next Assassin’s Creed game after Victory may finally bring ninja and assassins together. An Assassin’s Creed fan has spotted what certainly looks like a heavy hint that the next game after Victory will be set in Japan. Ubisoft forums member Cornik22 was looking through the Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag official art book when […]

  • Resident Evil HD modder aims to restore original, terrible voice acting

    Resident Evil and its early sequels are justifiably famous for their simply dire voice acting. Some Resident Evil fans feel they just can’t enjoy the experience of exploring Umbrella facilities if someone isn’t talking at them with absolutely no regard for pacing, content or tone. As a result, modder Bunny has stepped up to the […]

  • Record iPhone sales drive Apple to revenue spike

    The iPhone is still going strong – in fact, it’s selling better than ever. Apple has announced its financial results for the quarter ending December 27 2014, exceeding expectations with a 29.5% increase in revenues to $74.6 billion. This was a new record for the company. One of the key factors in this spike is […]

  • HoloLens has “mind-blowing” potential for games, says Microsoft CEO

    Microsoft’s VR wearable HoloLens is going to be great for games, according to CEO Satya Nadella. Speaking to investors, Nadella made Microsoft’s entertainment plans for the device explicit. “It’s also getting clearer how the games people love today will evolve to mind-blowing experiences in the future when designed for the mixed reality that Windows 10 […]