Dungeons & Dragons Daggerdale is a hack-and-slash action game coming out for Xbox, Playstation and PC in late May. This visit to the Forgotten Realms is the first time console players have been able to play a D&D videogame in several years. Atari Producer Michael Fahrny answered a few of our questions about designing a video game based on D&D Fourth Edition, and shared some brand-new screenshots.
What lead to the choice of Forgotten Realms as a setting, as opposed to some of the other settings currently supported by 4th Edition D&D, like Eberron or Dark Sun?
MF: Forgotten Realms is arguably the most popular setting in the D&D universe and with the backing of successful novels and other video games, we felt it was the right choice to go back for Daggerdale.
The mechanics of Daggerdale have been described as a limited version of 4E. Can you elaborate on how the characters function? Do they use powers like in 4th Edition D&D?
I wouldn't exactly describe it as a limited version, but what works on paper does not always translate well into the digital space and the team at Wizards has been great about working with us to make sure Daggerdale is an accurate representation of the 4th Edition rules while not taking away from the video game experience. The key factor is that the game needs to be fun, and I think we've achieved that with Daggerdale. You have a full set of powers, spells, etc. to take down your foes in Daggerdale.
For a lot of players, character creation is a huge part of the appeal of D&D, while Daggerdale seems to have limited character creation options. I can imagine that game balance and other issues could make that necessary, but I was wondering if you could talk a bit about character creation and limiting some of the open-endedness of a traditional RPG.
For a smaller digital download game like Daggerdale, it just didn't make sense to have a robust and open character creation system. By choosing to go this direction, it has allowed us to spend more time on polishing the overall look, feel, and gameplay for Daggerdale and has allowed us to give people a much more robust world to play in. I do love to give players as many options as possible in a RPG, but for this game, it just didn't make sense.
How will the different character classes fit together and allow for teamwork in multiplayer cooperative games?
Going from the 4th Edition rules, each class in Daggerdale is designed to stand on its own as well as with other players. Each class has their own strategy elements and they are all designed to play well with the other classes. The game is fun playing through alone, but it really shines when you get into with four players.
It looks like Daggerdale characters will be facing the Zhentarim, a classic Forgotten Realms villain group. Will they be running into any specific familiar faces from Forgotten Realms lore?
I can't give everything away, you'll just have to play thorough the game to find out!
Two cornerstones of any D&D experience are monsters and magic items. Can you describe how the loot system will work, and maybe let us know if the devs have a favorite monster they can't wait to unleash?
The loot system is designed to be simple for Daggerdale. We did not want to bog players down with too much inventory management so as items are purchased or dropped, they will be easily comparable to equipped items to determine what the better gear is. Gold is shared among players in multiplayer and other loot items are first come, first serve, but players can drop anything to trade with other players. As for the monsters/enemies, I'm really happy where we went with the Zhentarim for Daggerdale.
Will players be able to customize character appearance as the game progresses?
Players will be able to customize their characters through the gear they find or buy as they play. The main characters themselves will not change, but they will certainly start looking more and more formidable as you gear them up and learn new powers and spells.