Dungeon Hunter: Alliance launched on the European PlayStation Store today, and we sat down with the game's product manager Sane Lebrun for a spot of Q&A.
Movemodo: Firstly, please introduce yourself and your role in Dungeon Hunter: Alliance.
Sane Lebrun: My name is Sane Lebrun and I’ve been a Product Manager at Gameloft for the past two years, and I’ve been in charge of Dungeon Hunter: Alliance for the past year and a half.
The role of Product Managers is to develop awareness of our games around the globe before its commercial launch and to generate excitement among gamers. This includes creating the first screenshots and trailers, as well as the timing for their release.
For Dungeon Hunter: Alliance, we chose to announce the game at E3 in June 2010, since then there have been three trailers in all, including the one we’re currently releasing for the games launch.
Product Managers also leverage the existing Gameloft community tools such as our Facebook page (300,000 fans!) and our YouTube channel. With the help of local marketing managers, we also make sure to reach the console gamers audience thanks to specialized media (dedicated sites, blogs and print). Thanks for helping us out with that!
It’s an honour to be the Product Manager for Dungeon Hunter: Alliance. It’s probably one of the most ambitious games we’ve developed to date and we hope our hard work shines through.
MM: It’s been a long time since dungeon crawlers were all the rage – why is the time right to bring a new title to PlayStation Network?
SL: When Gameloft decided to increase its presence in the downloadable console game market, we had a look at our most successful franchises on smartphones and tablets, and Dungeon Hunter was so popular that we thought it deserved an opus on console. We needed the necessary time afterwards to develop an ambitious game for a demanding community such as the PS3 players. We would’ve released it sooner if we could!
Multiplayer action RPGs are huge on PCs, but the genre isn’t as popular on consoles. We think that our Dungeon Hunter brand can fill that void. Of course, the controls are different than in traditional PC games, but players can choose between the classic DualShock controller and the PlayStation Move to get the experience they feel most comfortable with. This is also why we’re releasing Dungeon Hunter: Alliance exclusively on the PlayStation 3.
MM: We’ve been informed that the game is co-op with up to 4 players in local and online game play. Can you explain how this will work?
SL: There is a single-player campaign with a good dozen hours of gameplay. However, you can also complete the adventure by co-operating with other players. They can be right next to you and play on the same console, or they can be halfway around the world with online mode (and you can chat to them with your headset!).
MM: Looting is a key element in dungeon crawlers. How will the loot be divided in co-op play?
SL: We agree, it’s definitely a key element! In Dungeon Hunter: Alliance, loot is surrounded by a halo with the colour of the player for whom the item is intended. This ensures that none of the players will be penalized in terms of equipment. Afterwards, it’s up to players to prove they’re the best warriors and fight off the hordes of enemies (and get the best score).
MM: What are the available character classes to choose from, and can you elaborate on the game play differences between the classes?
SL: You can choose between a mage, warrior and a rogue. Each class compliments one another, and they have a vast library of spells and abilities to choose from as you level up. This means even if you have two mages in your party (for example) they could have two very different sets of spells.
Energy is the mages’ strong point: they draw all of their strength from Fairy magic. They’re powerful damage dealers but they’re fragile and attract attention. For this reason amongst other things they can cast a magnetic shield to protect themselves or repel enemies, but at the sacrifice of their mana pool.
Warriors are better suited for melee combat against multiple foes at once and are good at absorbing plenty of damage. Strength is their forte: they’re the only class that can equip certain weapons and armour.
Finally, we have rogues, who excel at one-on-one combat. They are incredibly agile and are excellent at evasion. Personally, they’re my favourite class: their high dexterity can really make a difference in battle!
MM: Stories are the driving force behind any RPG – what kind of story can be expected in Dungeon Hunter: Alliance?
SL: I’m not sure people buy action RPGs like this one only for the story; rather, I think they’re looking for fun gameplay complimented by a good lifespan and return value. In the case of Dungeon Hunter: Alliance it has those things, but there is also an actual story: the game starts with the resurrection of the games hero so he can save the kingdom from the iron-fisted rule of a tyrannical queen… who happens to be the wife he loved when he was still alive. As for the rest, I’ll let players discover it for themselves!
MM: This will be our first chance to play an action RPG with PlayStation Move. How has Move support been implemented into the game?
SL: We worked closely with Sony Computer Entertainment to ensure the best use possible for the accessory. When we started developing the game, we hadn’t made any plans for that feature (since Sony hadn’t even announced the accessory at the time). When we learned about the accessory, we thought that the PlayStation Move, with its ability to point towards the screen, would allow us to simulate point-and-click controls found in games of the same genre on PCs.
The first trials proved to be very promising, so we decided to include support for the PlayStation Move. It added development time, and that explains why we weren’t able to release the game in time for Christmas as planned, but the whole team agrees it was worth the wait.
MM: The game is playable with both the DualShock controller and PlayStation Move. Are there any significant advantages to Move controls compared to playing with the standard DualShock method?
SL: Personally, I prefer using the PlayStation Move, but of course we all have our preferences at Gameloft. Some say that playing with the PlayStation Move is more precise, while the DualShock controls are more intuitive.
I don’t think that using one or the other gives an advantage to any player. What’s important is choosing the controls that feel most comfortable to you – and we’re pleased to be giving players that option.
When players have had the chance to play the game and try both methods, we’ll be asking which they prefer and why.
MM: Can DualShock and Move players play together in co-op?
SL: Yes, of course!
MM: Are there any plans for future downloadable content? What can you tell us about future DLC?
SL: Who knows? If the game is successful and if enough fans ask for it, we may plan additional downloadable content.
MM: Lastly, is there anything else you would like to tell our readers about Dungeon Hunter: Alliance?
SL: I’m confident that the game will satisfy action RPG fans. We’ve taken all of the fundamental elements of an exceptional game of the genre, mixed it around in a big bowl and baked it – it is a perfect action RPG recipe if one were to exist. For those who play only on consoles and may not be too familiar with the genre, I think it’s a great opportunity for them to discover why it has so many fans on PC. Nothing beats a good hack-n’-slash, so have fun on your PS3!
Thanks to Sane Lebrun for his time.