Cultures 2: A new hope for strategy genre?

Everybody knows the Settlers series as one of the oldest, prettiest and most complex building strategies of the gaming industry. But a game called Cultures by Funatics Development showed that not only Blue Byte has the neccessary experience to create unique strategy games. What will Cultures 2 look like? We`ve asked the Funatics themselves!
Everybody knows the Settlers series as one of the oldest, prettiest and most complex building strategies of the gaming industry. But a game called Cultures by Funatics Development showed that not only Blue Byte has the neccessary experience to create unique strategy games. What will Cultures 2 look like? We`ve asked the Funatics themselves!

Doupě: First of all, could you please introduce your company to our readers?

Thomas Friedmann: Funatics Development was founded in 1998 by Thomas Häuser, Thorsten Knop and me. Meanwhile about 30 people are producing great computer games here, currently "Zanzarah - The Hidden Portal" and "Cultures 2" are in development and will be released in the next few weeks. More information about the games and our team can be found at http://www.funatics.de/.

Cultures Cultures

Doupě: And now straight to Cultures 2. What are the main new features compared to the first instalment?

TF: There are many. The military system is strongly improved, we have now buildings that can be upgraded for a higher-value production, lots of new jobs and goods, trading ships, lead characters, chests and secret things that can be found and used (eg. a scroll that allows you to build any building at once and for free...), special potions to strengthen the characters and a much stronger and complex AI.

Doupě: Will Cultures 2 contain some new RPG features? For example some expanded statistics for each character?

TF: We expanded the former system with new features. For example from now the experience level of a character has much more impact on his productivity output, he can now produce more than one good in his job if he`s experienced enough, he can be equieded with special potions to heal his needs and, as another example, you can equip them more directly now.

Doupě: And what about the famous reproduction system, that will remain completely the same?

TF: Not exactly. Like I wrote we have many new jobs and we also changed the existing ones. As an example - we now have collectors that can collect different things like wood or stone, but they don`t need a working house as it was in Cultures 1. And the buildings can now be upgraded. That`s perhaps

one of the strongest features in Cultures 2. In Cultures 1 when you had a wooden toolmaker that gained enough experience to produce now furniture, you`d first need a new building - the furniture workshop. For that you needed free space that sometimes was rare. In Cultures 2 you now can upgrade the workshop to the next stage where new goods can be produced. That makes the set up of your village much more effective and after a while you`ll find your village center as a pretty cool and highly developed area. Well, one thing should be mentined here - to upgrade a building you`ll need of course the building materials for that. An example? Ok - while the early buildings have roofs made of straw, better buildings will need a tiled roof made of roofing tiles. Tiles can be traded or produced - by a pottery with a kiln. In that way we have several other goods that you need to get the prettiest and most productive village in the world ;o).

Cultures Cultures

Doupě: Could you please tell us something more about the background story?

TF: Bjarni, the young viking and narrator of Cultures, is now a young adult hero. Once a day he`s overwhelmed by a strange vision that shows him fighting together with three unknown fighters against an awfull snake monster. Hes no idea what this vision coould means and starts a journey to solve this secret. His way guids him through Europe. There he meets the Franconiens, the Bycantnes and the Saracens. He also meets the other heroes of his vision and they join the party. At the end the secret will be solved. But more in the game ;o).

Doupě: What kind of games do you play in your company most often? Personally I bet on the RPG and RTS genres, am I right?

TF: Not really :) Beside the well known MP-shooters we currently slip a bit to console games. When you are in the master stage of a project, you almost don`t have any time to play by yourself, so we look for "quick and dirty" entertainment ;o)

Doupě: How many civilizations altogether will there be in Cultures 2?

TF: Four, while the player plays only the vikings. For that the campaign is VERY veried and eventful. Far away from beeing a typical world sim like Cultures 1 was.

Doupě: What about some new items, like special magical weapons/armors, and so on?

TF: See above. We have them in many variations. Especially for Multiplayer games it`s a very strong feature! Now we can set some scrolls (like "build a building for free" or "get some new people") at the starting positions that allow the player to build his village and infrastructure within some few clicks. The long lasting build-up phase that you normally have in such kind of games is reduced to a few minutes. After that the fight is the dominating element of the game.

Doupě: What is the size of the technological tree in Cultures 2?

TF: We have more than 40 buildings, more than 25 different jobs and over 50 goods and items.

Doupě: And finally, when should the game come out?

TF: We are targeting end of Q1 2002. It will be published by JoWooD.

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