Interview: Katauri Interactive On Royal Quest

By John Walker on October 26th, 2010 at 3:35 pm.

We need more screenshots!

It takes something special to get us excited about the announcement of a new MMO, and one coming from the team behind King’s Bounty and Space Rangers is just that. We got hold of Katauri Interactive’s boss, Dmitry Gusarov, to ask about Royal Quest, finding out how they’re making their hobby their business, their plans for payment models, aims for Diablo-style speed, and how they hope their games are all cosy and understandable.

RPS: It’s been a great few years for Katauri games – how has your company changed as a result of the success of King’s Bounty?

Dmitry Gusarov: Due to the fact that our projects managed to become pretty successful we’re doing quite well. Our team is now larger and currently consists of 19 fulltime members, as well as a considerable amount of outsourcers. All our efforts and knowledge are now dedicated to one game, Royal Quest.

RPS: You’ve been very successful with single-player games. Why have you decided to make the move into MMOs at this time?

Dmitry Gusarov: We consider the future of games to be in the MMO genre. Actually, we have played online games a lot during recent years. And now the time has come to combine hobby and business.

RPS: What do you think Royal Quest will bring to MMOs that we haven’t seen before?

Dmitry Gusarov: What we can currently see on the MMO market is stagnation in terms of creativity. For many years people are playing the same games like WoW and Lineage II. As we can see there are no fast paced Diablo-style games at the moment and we want to bring this experience to the audience.

RPS: What plans do you have in mind to keep things fresh, and to avoid grinding?

Dmitry Gusarov: Well, the question is a bit too generic. We do have really vast plans and have some interesting ideas in mind. We will be regulary updating players on our progress and hopefully you will be able to check the Beta in about a year from now.

RPS: Can you explain a bit more about how the Elements system will work? It sounds like it will make PvP a lot more interesting.

Dmitry Gusarov: First of all, that considers of what the monsters are mainly afraid. And there will be many options of how to attack them. We don’t want players to have just one uber-weapon capable of killing anything anywhere. We will push players to adapt their tactics constantly, as every area will feature different challenges.

RPS: King’s Bounty made turn-based combat popular again. What sort of combat can we expect to see in Royal Quest?

Dmitry Gusarov: You will be able to check it all in the gameplay video soon. We will launch it November 3rd at Russian Igromir trade show.

RPS: One of our favourite things about King’s Bounty: The Legend was quite how funny it was. Will you be bringing a similar humour to Royal Quest? Can we expect the equivalent of zombie brides and castles hidden in belts?

Dmitry Gusarov: I doubt that we’ll handle our next game without a good dose of humor. We always try to make our games cosy and understandable.

RPS: What sort of payment model are you looking at for the game? Are you looking to charge a subscription, or perhaps go free-to-play?

Dmitry Gusarov: Different payment systems do not exclude one another. Depending on the market the player will have the option of Free-to-play or Pay-to-play system. It is a bit early to discuss details about financial aspect of the game.

RPS: Thanks for your time.

Royal Quest is due out in 2012.

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61 Comments »

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  1. Heliocentric says:

    I find it hard to care about kingsbounty because its not a very good strategy game, charm aside. But space rangers 2 was a work of art, dynamic world, grand menace to defeat how you want, or not, wrapped around about 5 genres. Beautiful.

    • Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

      Cool! You are the first person i have ever heard say that.
      Its like that one time i met someone who didnt like Firefly. It was amazing. Who knew such people could exist, let alone the fact that they are actually walking this earth.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      To me, King’s Bounty is a grandiose strategy… well, tactical game. There are more strategies possible than in HOMMV for example. And while I liked Space Rangers 2 very much, the least appealing part of my experience was the RTS segment, i.e. ground battles. However, I don’t know how they are going to implement elements of these two games – in KB you manage both army and hero, but main work is done by army. These guys fight and die for their King (like in real life, in some countries :P). But MMO has to have only hero I suppose, no army? In SR2 you have a hero – but he is a space pilot, not some fantasy grunt, and whole idea revolves around upgrading your ship, weaponry and skills. It’s more like space trader-combatant. I imagine that MMO with that kind of hero would be possible (EVE Online? ;)) but not fantasy game. So I expect another WOW and not King’s Bounty or Space Rangers. I hope I am wrong.

    • Rich says:

      Ah well, I’ve met loads of people who don’t like Firefly. They’re generally people who just don’t like Sci-Fi, of which there are many.

    • Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

      @Rich
      Ask them if they dont like Arrested Development! That would be something, to dislike the two greatest shows ever (cancelled, as well as straight up best).

      Ive shown Firefly to people who dont like Sci-Fi, and they like it. Maybe i just show it to the people i know will like it.

      Kings Bounty is like that, to me.
      Everyone ive gotten to play it for a bit loves it. Its just that sort of game.

    • Hodag says:

      I despise Arrested Development, but then I can’t stand any sitcom really. I do like Firefly though.

    • Xercies says:

      I like sci-fi but I didn’t like Firefly, I liked the film Serenity though so maybe i’m a little weird.

      Having said that I don’t get the fanfare for Joss Wheadon, I haven’t really liked any of his stuff: Buffy, Firefly and the god awful Dollhouse. I really don’t get why fans are so enmoured by him.

    • Danarchist says:

      Tastes differ, one mans trash is another mans treasure etc etc

      I have spent the first half of my life vilified because I hate Led Zeppelin, and brits forgive me, am bored to death by the Beatles. In recent years the fact that watching lost makes me feel like im trying to read 5 books at the exact same time and all five suck has made me a pariah at home. Just because the masses love something doesn’t make it perfect, just appealing to the masses, like Justin Bieber.
      Firefly was a “Space Western” so it is appealing as hell to me. It was like Louis Lamoure does sci fi. Buffy was watching the one “cool chearleader” every small town American high school has kick the crap out of the other 8 annoying bitchy ones, and stabbing vampires in between. Whats not to like?
      Josh has the ability to span large groups of viewers but still be focused enough to fire up his true fanbois. That’s talented writing, much like Kings Bounty ;)

    • Vinraith says:

      Personally I’ve always thought of King’s Bounty as an RPG where “armies” are just like equipment and stats and the combat engine is resolved on a turn based grid. I think as a strategy game it probably is a bit lacking, but looked at as an RPG I think it works rather well, I know I enjoy the hell out of it.

    • Wipa says:

      Both of the aforementioned television shows are terrible.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      It also depends on where you’re coming from. I was already a big fan of Cowboy Bebop when I saw Firefly, so it wasn’t as revolutionary to me as it might have been for other people.

    • Dave says:

      I think I played King’s Bounty for about 20 minutes and was too annoyed by it to continue.

      Firefly though… don’t knock Firefly. I still haven’t forgiven Fox.

    • Fumarole says:

      Well I haven’t seen Firefly, but I thought Serenity was very much meh. German World War 2 anti-aircraft artillery mounted on your spaceship? Really?

  2. erik says:

    “Well, the question is a bit too generic.”

    I suspect the game will be, too.

  3. RollsEyes says:

    “We consider the future of games to be in the MMO genre.”

    Well, consider again.

  4. John Walker says:

    You negative nellies. These are the King’s Bounty people!

    You lot have lost your joy.

    • Rich says:

      It was washed away by the waves of mediocre, derivative MMOs and micro-payment systems.

    • Premium User Badge

      AndrewC says:

      I sacrificed all my joy to the ‘trying to upgrade my computer myself’ gods.

      Bitchin computer though.

    • Bullwinkle says:

      That’s right, they are the King’s Bounty people. And they’ve abandoned the brilliant King’s Bounty for another fucking MMO. What’s more, they’ve dedicated their entire team to it. So no other projects from them until at least 2012, and if we take them at their word about the future of gaming, no more King’s Bounty-type games ever.

      I didn’t ‘lose’ my joy. They knocked it out of my hands and stomped on it.

    • Collic says:

      It’s really hard to get excited by MMOs regardless of who happens to be making them. Cautiously optimistic for something different, though.

    • qrter says:

      Sorry, John. MMOs as we know them just don’t appeal to me.

      It’s certainly true that Katauri have made some brilliant games, so hopefully they do something really new with the genre, but seeing how MMOs seem to be tied even more to conventions than other genres (and the KB games humour and story getting more convential and watered down as the series went on), you can’t blame us for feeling a bit hesitant, I think.

    • Dave says:

      Personally, I avoid sucking on metaphorical lemons.

      “An MMO from a company I admire? How could I possibly enjoy that? MMO != Fun. That’s just math.”

    • Vinraith says:

      @John Walker

      I refer you to yourself, circa a couple of years ago:

      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2008/10/23/the-trouble-with-other-people/#comment-104827

      That piece is so good I still have it bookmarked.

    • Temple to Tei says:

      Thanks for the link Vin, so much rings true.
      I actually like MMO, I would say I am addicted but then someone would tell me that I am not really addicted (I haven’t had to stab anyone to pay for it I guess).
      Just trialled City of Heroes and it persuaded me to put the cash down.
      I am enjoying playing my way, but… but …. but… I wish I was in a team of like minded people who wanted to take it slow and explore the world.
      Endgames do not interest me, playing for fun is what it is about in my world.

    • cs says:

      I wouldn’t say they’ve abandoned King’s Bounty. The game had two expansions. Tons of content. I guess they could continue to make endless KB sequels and be like every other developer on the planet with their established titles. But where’s the fun in that?

      I personally have faith in their MMO idea. From the artwork alone, you can tell it’s probably going to be something different and special.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      @Vinraith: Thanks for the link. Those words are very fitting for my own experiences. Even with Guild Wars, a game that offers you exactly the mentioned helpful NPCs to fill up your party, sometimes you have to rely on other people, because you either can’t get the henchmen coordinated as well as required by the game (their AI is still faulty in many aspects) or you lack the possibility to tailor your non-human helpers to the tasks at hand (in GW, in addition to NPCs with a static set of skills, you can recruit special NPCs, “heroes”, whose in-game abilities you are able to define, but you can only ever take four of them with you, with some areas requiring a well balanced party of eight to stand a chance).

      This results in some very different experiences with the fellow human players. Some of them are nice experiences, with friendly people tagging along and having fun, but most of the time you end up with a person (or a group of persons) that is just as interested in coordination and commonly shared fun as the AI bots you left at the last town. Nevertheless, the game offers you the choice to play with your own group and exploring the world on your own, or to team up with others.

      Cities and outposts are shared areas, where all the players can mix and blend talking or trading, while explorable areas are instanced, meaning that you get “your own” version of them, without other people interfering with you fun. As far as I know Arenanet is going to change that in GW2 (which looks very promising, even for an MMO) and I hope this won’t mean the end of my single player MMO joy.

  5. The Innocent says:

    I sort of half-agree with the posters above. I don’t think MMOs are really “the future,” since it seems like all the gamers I know are getting away from MMOs and into either single-player or normal-multiplayer games. Certainly they’re here to stay, but I don’t see why they’d supplant sp or multi games.

    On the other hand, I just don’t like MMOs, so I’m biased. But if anyone’s going to create an interesting MMO that’s fresh and filled with inventiveness, it’s these fellows.

    • tomwaitsfornoman says:

      I listened to a podcast recently with Tom Bissell, and he mentioned he didn’t like MMO’s basically because there’s no arc, narrative- or gameplay-wise; there’s really just the slot-machine addictiveness. This is a sentiment I agree with.

      That being said, if someone wants to come along and reinvent the genre, by all means, blow my mind. But if all they have to offer for an MMO is more of their trademark charm and quirky humor, well…

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      I would agree that MMOs are not the future. They are -part- of it. People tend to believe in certain genres, technology, or style of gameplay as being more promising than others; all the while forgetting that there’s a whole slew of genres which draw people in. People’s tastes vary a lot.. and so do their tastes in games.

      In the particular case of the MMO I must say that the genre seems to be in a bit of a rut. Maybe on it’s way out of it, by now, but it remains to be seen if it’ll make its way to new pastures. Which is not to say that all MMOs are terrible or that there is no variety between them. The genre just feels a bit stagnant right now; with a few developers trying (more or less) to push the boundaries of what attracts sufficient people to an/their MMO.

  6. Bob Bobson says:

    I like MMOs. I like King’s Bounty. This project interests me a lot.

    The interview above though reads exactly like a Football Manager 2011 press conference.

  7. Ashen says:

    A team of 19 people. Making their first MMO. In a generic fantasy genre.

    This can only end well.

    • JKjoker says:

      but but, they like… “have played online games a lot during recent years” you know ? im sure nobody tried that before… right ?

      using the always effective “we know better” strategy eh ? effective in putting businesses down that is

  8. spacesubmarine says:

    I look forward to play the Dark Millenium. I miss Unreal Expanded Multiplayer and its rich multiplayer arcadey/action experience. Dark Millenium might have that in my favourite W40K setting.

    I liked King’s Bounty (though mainly because it was one of few decent TBSs – it had SO MANY flaws) and I’d prefer another TBS. However I’m glad they’re at least trying to innovate MMOs.

    That said, I think that with few exceptions, MMOs are like ponzi schemes. Appealing and doomed to collapse.

  9. Namos says:

    MMOs feel like the antithesis of adventurous game design. Is there any bit of gameplay in a MMO which could not be replicated in a more fun manner when you remove the “Massively” part?

    • Bob Bobson says:

      Yes. The bits that involve massive player interaction. Perhaps 80 people in a fight isn’t what you’d call massive (the most WoW gets up to), it is for me in a persistant world. But perhaps it isn’t for you. Eve however works only because it has a massive playerbase. That massiveness leads to varied large factions, alliances, politics and information warfare, to the economy being complex enough to be extremely interesting (if that kind of thing floats your boat), and to the sadly lagtastic 500 a side fights. Some games only work with a persistent state updated by 100s of people.

      Beyond gameplay there’s the whole part of MMOs that make them addictive and, potentially, things of joy: other people. MMOs are full of other people and if there are enough players some of them won’t be idiots. Some of those non-idiots are truely awesome people that you’d love to get to know. And yes, there are a million and one non-gaming ways of getting to meet lots of people, but if you want to compare MMOs to “standard” computer games it’s a mistake not to count the social side of them.

  10. Vinraith says:

    We consider the future of games to be in the MMO genre.

    And another good developer bites the dust. Pity. Hopefully they’ll come back around rather than bankrupt themselves chasing that illusory WoW lottery ticket.

    • Rich says:

      Alas, they’ll probably just blame piracy and the death of the PC market and start making generic man-shooters like everyone else.

    • Rich says:

      …for glorified set-top boxes, I might add.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Rich

      Indeed. Ah well, where one falls another rises to take its place. It’s still a bummer, though.

  11. westyfield says:

    More like ‘Eeeh meh mo’, am I right? On account of how most of the people here seem not to care about MMO games, that is.

  12. tom says:

    DOOOOOOOOOOOM!!
    need moar harbingers!

    • Rich says:

      …and I’ve got this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side.

  13. 0mar says:

    The MMO market is super-saturated. I really don’t see this game succeeding due to that. King’s Bounty is already a niche name. The story to King’s Bounty is quite ridiculous and something that really won’t hook a new player. It’s fun and cute in it’s own way, but it’s nothing really serious. Finally, a Diablo-style MMO will have to face major competition from games that are free (eg Torchlight 2, D3) from developers with a track record of making good Diablo style games.

    I really hope this endeavor doesn’t sink the company. And if it works for them, maybe we’ll see a true KB 2.

  14. Tetragrammaton says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooo…………………..*splash*

  15. Hmm says:

    That’s it, then. No King’s Bounty 2. :(
    These guys are so talented, I almost hoped they would make either KB2 or a new franchise which could rival Heroes of M&M, maybe even with strong multiplayer components if they like MMOs so much, but no… They’re wasting their efforts on an MMO.

    Remember Nival? Awesome studio. Blitkrieg, Silent Storm. Now they’re making MMOs which none cares about. :( I want Silent Storm 2 so badly.

  16. Ziv says:

    I’m not a huge fan of MMOs but being that I really like King’s Bounty I’ll at least give it a shot.

  17. donald duck says:

    Sovjet admits: RPS reporters too generic.

  18. ScubaMonster says:

    Would have much preferred they make a game that is NOT a mmo. Only reason they say mmo’s are the future is because they can be cash cows. IF done properly, which is a big if.

    • JKjoker says:

      being done properly is not enough, timing, marketing strategy, support, constant development and just plain luck are just as, if not more, important

  19. dspair says:

    Ah, Katauri! No wonder the answers are almost shorter than the questions. And no, it’s not the interviewer’s fault.

  20. pupsikaso says:

    WOW. So many people that don’t like MMOs. This is very surprising to me, especially on a PC site. =/

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      The two have never been mutually exclusive. I wouldn’t class the vast majority of WOW players as PC gamers. (Or, at least PC focused gamers) The MMO is a cancerous construct of the modern gaming age. Naught good will come o’ it. Mark my words young scallywags!
      /shakes fist at sky.

  21. Ugluk says:

    So we’re looking at a persistent world Diablo2-style Battle.Net? With more depth in the combat? It’s not a bad place to start if you want to build a non-traditional MMO, really.

  22. Premium User Badge

    Arathain says:

    I like them well enough, as do plenty of folk here.

    However, it has proven to be a space in which it is enormously difficult to innovate, and very difficult indeed to be successful. This has several worrying signs, including a smallish team, an unexciting premise (“…there are no fast paced Diablo-style games at the moment and we want to bring this experience to the audience” doesn’t sound like they’re planning on starting the revolution) and a degree of naivete (“We consider the future of games to be in the MMO genre.”)

    The other thing that’s bringing the cynicism out of the woodwork is seeing this happen to developers whose recent work has been clever and funny and creative.

    On the other hand, clever, funny, creative people are good for the MMO genre. Maybe it’ll work out. Longs odds.

  23. clownst0pper says:

    MMOs truly are an incredible Genre, and one I’ve explored for over 10 years now.

    Sadly, the Genre has stagnated as a result of developer inexperience, incompetence and complacency.

    The potential for greatness: of open ended worlds and freedom is unrivalled yet we are stuck in a WoW time tunnel.

    Guild Wars 2 is the only one on the horizon seeming to shake things up, which is a real shame.

  24. lost-fat-bunny says:

    I was trembling all over for many many said things. I think it gives such confidence to all players, and even developers.

  25. lost-fat-bunny says:

    Royal Quest MMO better than sex. I know.