It's the year 475 after the fall of the Cassadian Empire in the Young Kingdoms. The focus of our story is the Principality of Koth, a small realm ruled by an imperious aristocracy and the unforgiving clergy of St.Kaer. Conservative and stiff, Koth has spent decades nurturing grudges with its neighbour, the industrialized Kingdom of Krovan. The Western Marches of Koth, the almost lawless region bordering the Krovans is seething. After years of being exploited, abused and taxed, the folks finally rebelled. Armed gangs of farmers, thugs and former soldiers are taking over the guards, burning the villages and hanging the governors.
1. Sergeant Hans Heimer and Corporal Frederick Turg
All control from the Kothian Crown and the Prince is lost in the Marches, and while the rebellion explodes, even scarier news reach the Capital. After decades of grudges, Krovan soldiers have been spotted in the Western Marches for the first time. Is this the beginning not only of a civil war, but also of a full fledged invasion? And in such a sensitive unstable situation, who to send in order to quell the rebellion and chase the Krovans back to their polluted gray cities? The reasonable answers to that would be many and varied, but the right one is certainly not one of them. The orders are given, there is no discussing them.
The man in charge is Sergeant Hans Heimer, First Sergeant of the 5th Infantry company; a brilliant curriculum including eight assault charges, seven insubordination charges, one dependance from cheap brandy, bad cigars and an awful service roster. Only a fistful of men have been assigned to Heimer. Picked among the worst elements of several companies.
Why this choice? Why such an unexpected pick in such a problematic time. Who did it, and why? All these questions and more will be unveiled (maybe) as the campaign progresses and new players show up for the big show, all handled by Sarge with his legendary tact. What is going to happen, is there going to be a winner at all or the best outcome is simply to avoid disaster?
2. The full cast of Empires in Ruins
Now a few words about why and how are probably due. Going back in time to the original design, we did bind even more tightly the plot and the campaign. More tightly in the sense that we made a crazy choice of allowing the player far more freedom in order to branch the outcome of the campaign, in order to pick a lot more answers and decisions.
While fascinating and interesting, a beta round in january/february 2017 spoke clearly about the feeling of approximately 40 Anonymous testers: plot is nice, settings is interesting, but strategy players want to talk less and fight more. Lesson learned, and after a bit of re-designing, we picked a new path. The campaign is still fully infused with the plot and the corrupted flavour of the Kothian intrigue and the seething rebellion, but the focus of the game moved further towards management and strategy and a tad away from campaign role playing.
3. Heimer's hiring Officers to take to battle
And the feedback this far about it has been really good. Player loves memorable characters and a more organic feeling (visiting a research tree with just a UI or visiting a lab where a grumpy chief engineers insults you before you can tell him where to focus his research, is in my opinion quite different, and I obviously like the latter more). So here we are now, getting the dialogs and interactions with other characters in game, through dialogs and UIs. When will you see that at work? Pretty soon, don't worry about it!
4. Chief Engineer Megler tells Sarge what he thinks about him
So, this was for today, looking forward to update you on the new beta round soon (even though this one will be focused on the battle maps and not much on the story and settings yet)!
Cheers, Emiliano, @DokHgn Lead Dev and Designer