Reply To: 'The Beast Faction'

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So… I remember early into development you guys had penciled in four enemy factions, the undead, the green skins, the bandits, and the beasts. As of now, we’ve seen some of the first three in action, but the final one has been conspicuously absent.

It’s just by chance that the beast faction hasn’t been featured in any of the newer LPs – packs of werewolves actually roam the forests on the map, proving to be quite a challenge for the player in the beginning. As they terrorize villages, there’s also sometimes a contract offered to take them down.

That being said, it’s quite true that the beast faction is the one that has received the least amount of attention from us so far, for no particular reason other than being short on time. They only have a single entry in their roster, the werewolf. We even decided on a minor rework for the werewolf some time ago but didn’t yet find the time to implement it.

Anyway, I’ll try get to the point. The Witcher games focus a lot on monster hunter (especially the third entry judging from the trailers and previews). I think that the ‘beast faction’ – if it does eventually constitute a faction – would add a lot of variety to game.
I don’t know where these larger fantasy creatures fit into your vision or philosophy – I know the game is very medieval inspired – but with orcs, goblins, vampires, and the undead already on the menu. I very much doubt that trolls, wyverns and other such creatures would feel out of place.

Absolutely! Having beasts roam the lands is something we wanted to do from the beginning. I agree that hunting them could feel quite Witcher-esque, but I think it fits very well into this low power fantasy world where, in the absence of a mutant monster hunter, you’d hire a whole group of grizzled mercenaries to take down those menacing beasts.

When developing any enemy we want both the particular type of enemy (say, a zombie) and the whole of the faction (say, the undead) to have a clear theme and a distinct feel when fighting against. The same would be true for any kind of beast in that they should all feel distinct. Having the odd large beast is something we definately want to do, and I agree that it would provide for an interesting change, but we don’t want to limit the beast faction to only having those towering hulks. Additionally, having enemies occupy more than one hex complicates things a lot on a technical level (pathfinding etc.). We may end up with a few seriously large creatures in one way or another, but most will be limited to one hex, which could still make their figurine like twice the size of a Battle Brother.

I like your idea about having heads as trophies. We added werewolf pelts a while ago and would add similar loot for other beasts as well.

Certain creatures could inhabit certain areas of the map. For example up in the north, the snowy vast landscape could be home to dire wolves and the fabled yeti. In the forests to south packs of wolves could roam, and be particularly active along the roads at night.

Yep. Werewolves already roam the forests of the land, leaving them only to chase prey or to cross into another forest. As we add more types of beasts they should get their own matching habitats and worldmap behavior as well, especially as we also add additional terrain types.

I suggested single four- or seven-hex enemies to the team before. But since you mention the “European” orientation of the game, what would a Yeti (Asian) be doing there? If anything, Norse mythology has Frost giants.
Personally I am against cramming everything into games, all possible manner of monsters and game/movie clichés, but instead prefer when they stick to some concept. Even if it’s a mythological concept, it better be thought out and consistent…

The game has an even narrower orientation than a European one: A German / Scandinavian one. This is mostly reflected in the names of characters and places so far, but we want to also extend this to our bestiary to give the game a bit more ‘cultural identity’ instead of being just another random fantasy world. In this spirit we’re looking into both rebranding some of the enemies already in the game (like Zombies, because of their Voodoo / Carribbean connotations, even though the name has evolved beyond that by now, I suppose) as well as making sure that any future creatures fit in. That doesn’t mean that we’ll now work through a list of mythical scandinavian creatures and check them off, but we’ll think twice before adding creatures which very obviously stem from another cultural background. Finally, while having some popular fantasy creatures star in the game is nice (and gave us a good starting point in the past) we also want to add creations of our own to spice things up. The beast faction is a great place to add creatures that haven’t been featured in other games already but are unique to our world.

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