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July 25, 2011
Interview With Rusty Hearts' Mark Hill
 

By Jason Van Horn

I'm always impressed when it comes to Perfect World Entertainment's catalogue of games. The company already has a solid line-up, but they keep finding more and more worthwhile games to bring to the masses. As I said, I'm always impressed whenever they reveal a new game, but perhaps never more so than when Rusty Hearts was unveiled not too long ago. The trailer blew me away with its approach to storytelling, its art style, and what looked to be some wild dynamic action. I needed to know more about the game, so I lucked up when Mark Hill - Game Producer for Rusty Hearts - agreed to sit down and answer some questions I had about the upcoming game.



What's the overall story/setting of Rusty Hearts and where does the name come from and how does it apply to the game?

The story of Rusty Hearts takes place in a dark, Gothic-inspired town and revolves around a group of mercenaries. These mercenaries become caught up in the eternal war between Vampires, humans, and other deadly creatures, and are quickly forced to choose a path between good and evil.

The name Rusty Hearts is inspired by the characters evolution from unaligned mercenaries to unexpected heroes. As the story progresses, players will witness the transformation in the dialogue and beautifully animated cut scenes as the characters grow both physically and spiritually.

Most people are used to games that feature a story that every character they create shares, but Rusty Hearts is actually supposed to feature unique stories for each of the game's three main characters. Is there anything you can share about these individual character stories and an idea as to how in-depth they are? For example, one announcement about the game mentioned cut scenes - are these tied to the individual story and will they be voiced?

All of the characters share a role in unfolding the main Rusty Hearts storyline and experience the story as a group; however, each character has its own back story and will have its own individual set of skills, gear, costumes, as well as other elements that will make them all unique. There are also NPCs that only specific characters will be able to interact with. For example, Angela has her own Skill Master, whom she visits to learn new skills, that none of the other characters will be able to use.

Weve already begun to work on selected voiced cut scenes, which will be experienced the same way for each character.



Rusty Hearts features three different characters and each has their own unique abilities and combat styles. Who are the main characters players can choose to play as and what types of roles do they fill in the game/how do they play combat wise?

Angela is an apprentice witch that utilizes powerful long-range attacks and possesses team buff and healing skills. Her primary weapon is a huge, magic sword which can deal large amounts of damage.

Tude demonstrates his wild nature in his fighting ability. Given his fast-paced, close-quarters style combat, he is dangerous, yet exciting. The massive claw on his left hand is the source of his raw power.

Frantz is a deadly half-vampire trapped in limbo between human and monstrosity. His intense thirst for blood makes him a massive force to reckon with, as he fights using mid-range melee weapons and dark, magical powers.

Looking at the gameplay trailer on the official site, Rusty Hearts looks like an amazing amalgamation of many different games and styles. It at times looks like an old school side-scrolling arcade game, a Diablo-esque dungeon crawler another, and a third-person action adventure game as well. On top of all that the combat has been referenced as to not just being a hack-and-slash button mashers, but one akin to fighting games such as Super Street Fighter 4 and Marvel Vs Capcom 3 where combos are very important and skill is actually needed to handle the challenges within the game. Can you talk a little about the feel and flow of the game in terms of not only its look and style but gameplay too? I'm especially quite curious about the combat after reading that it won't be a simple button masher.

Absolutely! You have definitely touched on some of the main points of inspiration for Rusty Hearts. The main goal of the game was to combine the classic dungeon crawling and loot collecting elements with much more fast-paced and stylized gameplay. Mastering your skills and knowing what works best against certain enemies is essential to defeating the hordes of enemies you will face. Being able to rack up massive combos increases your Exp, which helps you level up faster, so being able to effectively combine normal melee attacks with special skills will provide players with a huge advantage.



From watching the trailer, another thing I was blown away by was the visuals. Can you talk about the game's graphical style and what you think the cel-shading brings to the game and genre?

Im glad you mentioned that because I absolutely love the look of the game too. The Gothic anime style visuals are something that anime fans can really appreciate. Players get to be part of a fully developed, anime inspired world where they get to become part of almost a living comic.

Ive always been a big fan of cel-shaded animation, and the way it is presented in Rusty Hearts is beautiful. Combined with combat, it really makes the characters stand out and displays all of their movements crisply and cleanly. Bright characters, sharp movements, and stunning environment!

How is questing and dungeon crawling handled in Rusty Hearts? Is it like somewhat similar games where you have a HUB area and then warp into maps/dungeons/instances? Also, will players need to be grouped up at all times, or are there parts of the game that can be handled solo? For that matter, what kind of system is Rusty Hearts using or how easy will it be for people to group with each other?

Players will go to a central hub area to accept and complete quests, speak with NPCs, buy and sell gear, learn skills, and everything else to progress in the game. From the hub, players can access the dungeons, which is where all of the action takes place.

The friend and party system is optimized to allow players to quickly and easily group up with other players from anywhere outside of a dungeon, create their own party, or search for available parties based on area or difficulty. A full guild system will also allow players to party up with their guild mates.



Dungeons and bosses are going to have four different difficulty levels. People always bump up the difficulty when they want something that's more challenging, but how tied into the game is the difficulty level? In some games, for instance, quests often force players to engage in higher difficulty levels. Also, what separates one difficulty level from the next - are there more enemies, hit harder, more dungeon areas, etc. - and are there any extra benefits to completing a certain difficulty such as increased experience or loot that can only be obtained on that specific difficulty level?

Level of difficulty is tied very closely to the game. When players challenge dungeons on a higher difficulty level, they will be rewarded with better loot and more Exp. There will be quests that require players to complete dungeons on various difficulties, which will provide a great challenge to players.

Harder dungeons dont just mean more enemies either. It means that the enemies will hit harder and faster, and their AI will actually be increased. There will also be secret rooms to explore and a better chance to win epic gear at the end of the dungeon with the Loot Card system.

Rusty Hearts is also going to feature a few different PVP modes, which seem to range from the smaller scale and more intimate battles to larger and more epic ones. What different PVP modes will the game feature? What will be the driving factor behind PVP besides wanting to beat someone up? Will records be kept? Is there gear or items you can get from doing PVP?

Players are going to love the variety in PvP modes including the Survival mode, which is kind of a King of the Ring-style brawl, VIP mode, solo and team death match, as well as tag-team battles. PvP modes can range from two to ten players, and will have full ladder and ranking systems. Players will also earn PvP points which can in turn be traded to an NPC for potions and items in the campaign.

The game's site mentions that there will be both crafting and item upgrading systems within the game. What information can you share about those two systems in regards to things like what the professions are, how players go about crafting or upgrading items, how players get the material needed for these two systems, etc.?

The crafting system will involve collecting items in dungeons and bringing them to certain NPCs that will create various potions, gear, and costumes. Finding the right crafting recipes can really help out in the game.

Forging will allow players to strengthen and add new abilities to their weapons. There are items that players can drop onto gear in their inventory, as well as items that can be given to an NPC to upgrade your gear even further.



Players will also be able to get their own player housing - in a manner of speaking - by way of personal rooms that are tied to the player. The site mentions you can decorate your room, but how do you go about acquiring the items to decorate it? Also, besides being your own personal place to relax and showoff your interior decorating skills, will these rooms serve any purpose in terms of actual gameplay?

Players always start from their individual room. Each player will also have their own unique room which can be customized to their liking. The room also features a warehouse, where players can store all of their gear, weapons, and items for later use. Some community and decorating features will also be available and revealed as we continue to work on the game and get nearer to closed beta.

Given how the game was described earlier, the game at time sounds more like a console release than one for the computer, and that kind of goes hand-in-hand with the fact that the game supports any PC gamepad while you're playing. Is a pad the preferred way of playing or is there any info (from those who have played the game) about whether keyboard or gamepad controls are being used the most? For those who play keyboard, what kind of controls are we looking at in terms of movement and attacks?

It all comes down to what each player is more comfortable with using. The keyboard option is definitely not the traditional mouse and keyboard setup. While the mouse will be used for a small amount of menu navigation, all of the main commands will be conducted on the keyboard itself, which will offer players a very fast effective control option. The controller will let players sit back and relax a little more, as well as allow console players a more comfortable way to experience the game.

I'd like to thank you for your time to do - really looking forward to being able to play the game hopefully soon. Before we go, is there anything we didn't talk about that you'd like to mention or either some parting words to leave us with about Rusty Hearts?

These were great questions. Closed beta will be launching on July 27 and open beta will be launched shortly after that. Players can register for the closed beta at http://rustyhearts.perfectworld.com/, as well as watch the new trailer, view screenshots, and join the official Rusty Hearts Facebook page. Check the website often as we continue to reveal more details on what players can expect from the game and closed beta. Thanks and we look forward to seeing you in Rusty Hearts!

 
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