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Lords of the Fallen is difficult, epic, and a little bit evil – interview

Thursday, 23 January 2014 08:15 GMT By Dave Cook

Lords of the Fallen is the first new RPG project from Witcher 2 producer Tomasz Gop. VG247′s Dave Cook talks with him about the game’s setting, its tough difficulty and how sometimes being an evil sod is actually the best course of action.

“This is a game about you crossing the gap, and the difference and distance between being a random noob at the beginning, and skilled pro player at the end. This crafting of your skill is what this is about, and I thought Dark Souls was exactly about the same thing.”

Tomasz Gop knows a thing or two about crafting a story-rich RPG experience. The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings was top-heavy with narrative, lore and a running tale that branched depending on the player’s actions. During a recent Skype conversation with me the executive producer repeatedly stressed that his new project Lords of the Fallen will focus more on combat than plot, but I suspect he’s being slightly modest because it’s got one of the most intriguing settings I’ve encountered in recent months.

Sure, it’s set in a fantasy world like The Witcher, but in this realm the people take an almost religious attitude to evil and the nature of morality. Thousands of years before the game begins, humanity decided it could no longer follow its god, so whole armies vanquished the entity and imprisoned him below the Earth. With his dying breath he tried to rise up from the rock, tearing his arm through the surface. The god ultimately perished but his hand still towers out of a vast mountain range, serving as a reminder of the old ways. The new era had begun.

Evil was vanquished, but the people decreed that it mustn’t be allowed to return. To that end, humanity started punishing evil misdeeds by coming up with a codex of all the wicked things a person might do, and then tattooing the symbol of each act on the faces of sinners. Lords of the Fallen stars a hero called Harkyn, a man whose body is covered in these marks. He’s as evil as they come, but as luck would have it; he’s the only one capable of stopping the fallen god’s demon horde, which has mysteriously sprung back into life. Fate can be funny like that, you know?

“It so happens that for whatever reasons our hero is a guy who has committed a lot of these bad deeds,” Gop told me. “He has been marked with that all over his face, and not only does everyone know that, it gives him a special kind of character, a personality. On one hand everyone believes evil can be cast away, but on the other hand our hero – this guy – is the personification of everything that is evil in the world. This has to be something weird, especially if, right now, it so happens that those demons are back. No one knows why but they’re back, so what do they do? Fight evil with evil.”

The seeds are there for something quite epic, and if you watch the trailer below you’ll get a glimpse of Harkyn in action, and the fallen god starting too wake from his slumber. This won’t be a game of half-measures; it’s going to challenge you, make you think and bring out great dedication in those who wish to master its precise melee format and punishing enemies. It’s unsurprising then, that many have already likened Lords of the Fallen to Dark Souls.

“I think that it’s important – and this was very well laid out by Dark Souls developers and creators – to lay out the kind of game it was before it reached people and got into their hands,” Gop explained, regarding the alleged similarities. “By the time Dark Souls got out there, people already expected it would be a challenging experience. They were ready to grab it and say, ‘okay, I’m going to have to try a bit harder this time.’ This is my personal opinion of course, but it was a huge factor in the fact that people enjoyed the game a lot.”

“It doesn’t matter if the game is harder or not physically, but if you’re told it’s going to make you sit on the edge of your seat, you’re going to try a little harder. With the right targeting of the experience, you’re going to have more fun with it, because if this is what you think you’re going to get – a challenging experience – then you approach it in the right way and everything clicks. I think this was perfectly done with Dark Souls and I think we’re trying to do the same thing.”

“Technically, in my opinion, this is a very different game to The Witcher, because it’s not an orthodox RPG, which I perceive The Witcher to be. It’s an action RPG.”

It’s refreshing that Gop is keen to avoid selling Lords of the Fallen as something it’s not. This is not trying to be Dark Souls, and there are as many similarities as there are differences between both titles. For one; the narrative will be much deeper, with dialogue, NPCs, side-quests and less of what Gop called “treadmill” grinding you see in the Souls series. It’s an action RPG at its core, where combat and challenging boss battles rule the day. When he described the combat difficulty to me, it sounded more in-line with Bayonetta than anything else.

Harkyn can dip into nine weapon pools, each offering various attack speeds, reach and other variables that promise to influence your approach to each battle in a tangible manner. Gop cited an example that involves a bosses crushing area-of-effect attack. Rather than turn tail and flee the move each time, certain weapons and their combos include a move that creates greater stability, meaning you can withstand the blow. Combine that with a dodge roll and you’ll get a brief window of invulnerability that can prove vital when you’re facing multiple foes.

Gop explained that having nine sets of weapons, spread across Harkyn’s three starting classes – each with their own unique supernatural and magical abilities – will give players great freedom of expression. As I type this I’m reminded of games like Shinjia Mikami’s insane brawler God Hand, which enables players to create custom combos, complete with little guard-breakers, evasive manoeuvres and stun blows thrown in at different beats. Add to this the fact that Harkyn’s weapons aren’t class-bound and you have a huge melee and projectile tool-set to play with.

“This is a game about you crossing the gap,” Gop stressed, “and the difference and distance between being a random noob at the beginning, and skilled pro player at the end. This crafting of your skill is what this is about, and I thought Dark Souls was exactly about the same thing. For me personally – and it was one of the biggest take-aways from Dark Souls – I could honestly say, that I was on the other side of the experience that people beginning the game have. At the end of the day I could honestly say, ‘I owned the game.’ This is exactly what you’re trying to get with the right mind-set with games like Dark Souls, and I believe Lords is going to do the same thing.”

Lords of the Fallen is out this year and has been in co-development for over two years at CI Games and Deck 13. If there’s one thing Gop’s time on The Witcher franchise has taught him; it’s that carefully propositioning your players is the key to making a good first impression. There’s no advantage to dressing mutton as lamb, and that’s why we haven’t seen a gameplay trailer yet. Gop admitted he is stressing out a little about that first footage, as it has to perfectly explain what kind of game Lords is.

It’s not Dark Souls, it’s not The Witcher 2; it’s something that spans both games and more. That it can’t be so readily pigeon-holed in its entirety is surely a major plus-point for Gop and his team. “Technically,” he concluded, “in my opinion, this is a very different game to The Witcher, because it’s not an orthodox RPG, which I perceive The Witcher to be.

“It’s an action RPG. We have not released any gameplay trailers yet. There is one trailer that is out, but we’re working very hard to deliver the gameplay trailer soon. I don’t know when that’s going to be yet, but you can be sure that the kind of depicting and the picturing of the user experience in all the trailers that we’re going to do is going to be a bit more like an action movie, rather than telling the story, which is probably what CD Projekt is trying to do.”

“I don’t think you can stick similarities between the games, but the way that we work; the way that we message the game, and the way that you’re going to be ready to experience what you’re getting in the box the day that you buy it is important.”

Lords of the Fallen is coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox One in 2014.

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5 Comments

  1. Maria R. Lane

    Brody. if you think Doris`s bl0g is good… last tuesday I bought a new Toyota since I been making $5534 this last five weeks and-a little over, ten k last-munth. without a question it is the best-work Ive ever done. I began this four months/ago and almost straight away was earning at least $80.. per hour. I went to this web-site,… WWW.T­E­C­8­­0.C­O­M

    #1 1 year ago
  2. Edo

    The story sounds interesting enough and if they can deliver what they are promising with the combat then I am all up for it.Patiently waiting for that gameplay trailer…

    #2 1 year ago
  3. Pytox

    wow thtat screenshot o_O

    #3 1 year ago
  4. freedoms_stain

    Slap a jetpack on that dude in the trailer and he’s a Spacemarine.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Diunedall

    @Edo I agree with you Edo. Certainly at the June E3 Expo will see extended trailer, the trade can not take place without the promotion of the game, it was not possible. a lot of work, you will see progress, great graphics, a whole seems to also be well implemented. you can see every detail of the game compatibility. also waiting for more information!

    #5 11 months ago

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  • FIFA Ultimate Team celebrates sixth year in existence with giveaways

    FIFA Ultimate Team is celebrating its sixth year in existence with special events running from today until March 29. According to EA, every FUT fan will be handed one free pack every day, and those who play at least one match in the FUT Birthday Cup will have a chance to win rare “tradable In-Forms” […]

  • Halo Online is a F2P PC game in development exclusively for Russia – video

    Halo Online is a free-to-play game which will launch this spring in Russia, and is in development with Saber Interactive. According the reveal event attended by IGN Russia, the game was designed to run well on lower-end PCs and runs on a modified Halo 3 engine. The game is set on a secret UNSC space […]

  • SteamWorld Dig Xbox One release expected in late May

    SteamWorld Dig is coming to Xbox One, developer Image & Form has announced. A firm release date hasn’t been announced, but the studio expects the title to arrive on the system in late May. “We’re preparing quite an elaborate Easter egg for the Xbox One version – a gaming thing that we really wanted to […]

  • SMITE celebrating first anniversary with a sale on skins, Ultimate God Pack

    Hi-Rez Studios is celebrating the first anniversary of SMITE with a sale. From today through Friday, March 27, the Ultimate God Pack, which includes all current and future Gods, will run you $19.99. Alll individual pre-launch skins are 50% off, and all Gem Packs will award bonus gems. In addition, from March 27-29, all SMITE […]

  • Borderlands 2 has sold around 12 million copies, says Gearbox

    Speaking with Microsoft’s Major Nelson in his podcast, Gearbox Software boss Randy Pitchford stated Borderlands 2 has sold somewhere around the 12 million mark. As of August 2014, it was announced by Take-Two in its financial report the 2012 game had sold-in 10 million units. Pitchford noted in the podcast he learned of the figures […]

  • Broken Age releasing on PS4 and Vita same day as Act 2 on PC

    Double Fine Productions has announced it will release Broken Age on the PlayStation Store next month. Act 2 will also be released on PC. The full Broken Age adventure will release on PlayStation 4 and Vita on April 28 in North America and April 29 in Europe. It features cross-buy and cross-save. Broken Age Act […]

  • Star Citizen earned another $1 million within two weeks – total hits $76 million

    Star Citizen continues its funding streak with backers pumping another $1 million into the game’s development in the last two weeks. The total earned for the space sim has now reached $76 million ($76,015,532 to be exact) with 851,395 backers contributing to the staggering figure. Star Citizen’s latest update was version 1.1 which included two […]

  • Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline top Media Create charts

    Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline were the big ticket debuts during the March 16-2 period in Japan, with each game claiming the top three slots on the Media Create charts, respectively. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD moved 92,094 on PlayStation 4, while Resident Evil Revelations 2 moved 73,373 units on […]

  • You can now learn English or Spanish on Xbox One with the Rosetta App

    Want to learn English or Spanish? Rosetta Stone has an App for that on Xbox One. According to the language teaching firm, Rosetta Stone’s Discover Languages, the new application teaches English and Spanish by way of immersive simulation. Users will virtually travel to learn vocabulary and grammar “necessary for real-world interactions.” Here’s how it works: […]

  • PayDay 2 and PayDay: The Heist have sold over 9 million units combined

    The PayDay franchise is a lucrative IP for Starbreeze and Overkill, as both games combined have sold over 9 million copies as of November 2014. The company has also sold over 8 million paid DLC packages since PayDay 2 was released in 2013 (via NeoGAF). In its Q2 half year report issued in February, net […]

  • Nintendo wants to “surprise” customers with NX, not expand upon existing hardware

    Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has firm wants to “surprise” players with its new NX system. Speaking in an interview with Nikkei, translated by Kotaku, Iwata wouldn’t go into details on the new system, but stated expanding on a current gaming system would be “dull.” “In the past few years, the idea of what [encompasses] a […]

  • Kojima Station show suspended

    In another episode in the the ongoing kerfuffle between Hideo Kojima and Konami, the publisher has suspended the Kojima Station web show. Recent tweets from the newly created Japanese Metal Gear Solid account confirm that Kojima Station will not be broadcast tomorrow, but would not provide a date for the next episode. The Tweets were […]

  • Watch Battle Royale for free this weekend on Xbox Live

    Square Enix is celebrating the launch of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD by offering Xbox Live members in the UK a free rental of Battle Royale. Starting Saturday, March 28 and through Sunday, March 29, Xbox Live members in the UK will be able to rent Battle Royale through the Xbox Video Store, for free. The […]

  • Bloodborne journal, part 1: managing anxiety on the path to the Cleric Beast

    Bloodborne is both like and unlike the Souls games. Brenna descends into Yharnam with reluctance and trepidation. Need help succeeding in Bloodborne? You need our Bloodborne walkthrough and boss guide. Bloodborne isn’t Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls. Let’s get that out of the way right off. I enjoyed both Dark Souls games, but it was […]

  • PS Store Easter sale discounts MGS: Ground Zeroes, Far Cry 4, more

    The Easter Sale is live on the EU PS Store, with Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes for less than £10, FIFA 15 Deluxe Edition for £30 and other savings. Some of the PlayStation 3, PS4 and Vita discounts are valid through April 8, other through April 15. PlayStation Plus members can also take an […]

  • Bloodborne video: how to unlock the first shortcut in Old Yharnam

    Here’s a video for Bloodborne players showing a quick way to unlock the first shortcut in Old Yharnam. It also provides a look at things you may have missed in Central Yharnam and The Sewers, courtesy of VaatiVidya. Don’t forget, we have guides posted for the game with more updates coming soon. Bloodborne released in […]

  • Bloodborne issue prevents summons at Vicar Amelia fight

    A Bloodborne bug has prevented players calling on help to take on one of the nasty early bosses. Bloodborne bosses are significantly easier to take down in co-op. Unfortunately, at least one of them is proving difficult to find help for – and not just because not many players have obtained the Small Resonant Bell […]

  • Mass Effect 3 on sale on EU PSN, but not free

    Mass Effect 3 is discounted on the European PSN, but it’s not free. Update 2: The option to add to cart now lets you choose between the free trial or full version. The full version is on sale for £6.49 or £5.84 for PlayStation Plus members. The free trial is of course is still available, […]

  • Elite: Dangerous Race to Elite winners announced, one player makes £10,000

    The winners of Elite: Dangerous’ Race To Elite competition have been announced, with one player receiving the grand prize of £10,000. Back when Elite: Dangerous launched, developer Frontier announced a competition that would award players to first reach Elite rank in trading, exploration, or combat, a prize of £1,000 each. The grand prize – £10,000 […]

  • GTA 5 Online Heists guide: How to make the most money with Special Bonuses and Elite Challenges

    You’re not hitting heists for the good of your health. Here’s how to max cash rewards. Money. GTA Online players love it. Greenbacks are the core of the entire experience, allowing you to buy the best weapons, vehicles and stupid haircuts. Heists, as promised, gives more opportunities than ever to earn serious cash, but once […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 coming tomorrow

    PlayStation 4 firmware 2.50, codenamed Yukimura, is due for release tomorrow, March 26. Firmware update 2.50 for PlayStation 4 will be launching tomorrow, March 26, Sony has announced. Codenamed Yukimura, the system update is promised to bring suspend/resume feature, trophy sync improvements, accessibility options, and much more. 2.50 has been in beta testing a while […]

  • GTA 5 Online Heists guide: adversary modes, daily objectives, free roam challenges and more

    Heists aren’t the only addition in GTA Online’s latest DLC – there’s a lot of content that can earn you big RP and cash payouts. GTA 5 Online Heists guide: adversary modes, daily objectives, free roam challenges While heists are the talking point and big payoff after more than a year of waiting, there’s a […]

  • Battlefield Hardline: what’s the best Police sniper rifle?

    What’s the best bolt-action, Police sniper rifle for the Professional class in Battlefield Hardline? Let us help you answer that question. As you’re probably aware, Battlefield Hardline weapons are class specific and faction specific. This makes deciding on a good weapon and loadout much harder than it was in Battlefield 4. Which is where Westie […]

  • Evolve 1.3 patch nerfs Wraith, adjusts Kraken

    Evolve is receiving a new patch that aims to put an end to the Wraith’s dominance. Evolve developer Turtle Rock outlined a few of the changes coming in patch 1.3. The patch brings balance changes to the monsters – mainly the Wraith – as well as other various changes to Hunters’ tools based on player […]

  • Bloodborne: watch the opening 40 minutes

    The opening minutes of Bloodborne really do set the stage for what’s to come. They’ll also help you decide if this game is for you. Arekkz Gaming has captured the first 40 minutes of Bloodborne. Complete with the opening cutscene, and the first few obstacles you’ll face. The video is commentary free, so wear headphones […]

  • YouTube will relaunch livestreaming service with focus on eSports and gaming – report

    According to industry sources, Google is preparing to relaunch YouTube’s livestreaming service with a focus on eSports and gaming. According to anonymous sources speaking to TheDailyDot, Google is planning to bring back YouTube’s livestreaming service. The company is said to have started recruiting around 50 engineers with experience in the field, “a pretty big statement […]

  • I think I’m too old for Final Fantasy 15

    Final Fantasy 15 was nine years in the making – and counting. Are we the same people we were in 2006? Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae A demo available for PS4 and Xbox One. Offers a couple of hours of gameplay. More if you jump over the borders. Bundled with Final Fantasy 15 Type-0 and […]

  • New multiplayer mode for Splatoon announced

    Nintendo has sent over three screenshots for Splatoon along with information on the Wii U another of the title’s multiplayer modes. Called Ranked Battle, it keeps track of each player’s online ranking. Splat Zones is one of the additional ways to play online in this mode. It differs from Turf War, which is the main […]

  • 2015 WoW Arena World Championship has a $250,000 prize pool

    Blizzard has announced the WoW Arena World Championship will culminate at BlizzCon 2015. World of Warcraft 3v3 Arena teams from around the globe will compete for spot at the 2015 WoW Arena World Championship and for a share in the $250,000 prize pool. Online qualifiers will be held for North America, Southeast Asia, Australia, New […]