Gothic II: Interview with Mike Hoge (Piranha Bytes)
This interview was first published two days ago by Aasgeier on his Gothic-Fanpage. He talked with Mike Hoge, game designer and Piranha Bytes founding member, about Gothic II, the release dates of game and demo, system reqirements, character classes, skills, cheats and many other interesting details.
After the translation I edited out a few questions focussed solely on the German market. Follow this link to find the original German language interview with all 33 questions. The screenshots are also from Aasgeier´s page. I added a few short [comments] to make things clearer for Gothic newbies.
Aasgeier: Gothic has been on the market for 15 months now and the fans are still enthusiastic. What about you [Piranha Bytes; ed.] ? Have your expectations regarding Gothic been fulfilled?
Mike Hoge: More than that. We came off well even in the US. Moreover Gothic has been translated to every possible language for a computer game (Korean, Chinese, Italian, French, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, etc. ).
Aasgeier: How are things going? When will we get to play Gothic II? Is it still October 2002 or do you even have a fixed date now?
Mike Hoge: Right now it looks as if it will remain October 2002.
[Update: The publisher JoWooD mentions a release of the English version in Q4/02. ;ed.]
Aasgeier: Will the three planned character classes (mage, dragon slayer, paladin) have completely different quests and their own endings? Are changes between the classes possible?
Mike Hoge: No. The main plot must be identical, to maintain the logical advancement of the storyline (also later in Gothic III). BUT: There will be different dialogs and side quests for the different classes AND not every class can learn everything (resp. you have to invest twice as many skillpoints sometimes). Class changes aren´t planned yet – well, we´ll see … J
Aasgeier: How many chapters are there, or is the game no longer that linear?
Mike Hoge: Six chapters, again. And: This time it depends on the player how linear the game is. If you want to hack yourself straight through the main plot … be our guest. – But Gothic II will definitely be a SUBSTANTIALLY more versatile game than Gothic I.
Aasgeier: Will we see well known characters like Diego, Milten, Gorn, Lester, Ur-Shak, Velaya, etc. ?
Mike Hoge: You CAN meet almost all mentioned characters.
Aasgeier: Mud is of course unique, will there once again be such a clingy fellow?
Mike Hoge: No comment. J
Aasgeier: We saw helmets on some screenshots and artworks. Are they part of the armor or can they be equipped additionally? Will there be shields?
Mike Hoge: Helmets are part of the armor. There won´t be shields. Gothic doesn´t try to become a paper doll game. We only have a small team and have to concentrate on the most important things (for us): story and atmosphere.
Aasgeier: The PC will have the ability to forge weapons, brew potions und create runes. Sneaking and thievery are better implemented. Will there be any other new skills?
Mike Hoge: We´re thinking about this right now – but only things that make a real difference will make it into the game. Gothic doesn´t need fake-skills or skills most players don´t give a damn about. So it´s better to improve the implementation of the EXISTING skills. For example: as a pickpocket you can play story elements unaccessible to others.
Aasgeier: Can we import our character into Gothic II ?
Mike Hoge: You will play the same character as in part one but there won´t be an export/import. We thought it a pretty stupid idea to add two zeros to every value. It´s the same thing after all.
Aasgeier: Is the hero´s name once again only ‚Me‘ or will he have a real one? Can we name him as we see fit?
Mike Hoge: No. The hero has a fixed background – which will partly be revealed in Gothic II …
Aasgeier: How many new characters, animals, weapons, armors have been added?
Mike Hoge: Twice as many. Monsters and armors will be approximately the same.
Aasgeier: Will we get to meet King Rhobar?
Mike Hoge: Who knows….
Aasgeier: Do the Orcs once again play important roles in quests, like Tarrok and Ur-Shak, or are they only rambling hordes you have to battle?
Mike Hoge: Both.
Aasgeier: Can we travel as a party, like during the focus search, but with more characters?
Mike Hoge: Let us surprise you.
Aasgeier: Can we control more than one character or only the hero?
Mike Hoge: Only the hero – and that’s quite good I think.
[Mike´s political reference turned out to be untranslatable. Sorry for the clumsy try. ; ed.]
Aasgeier: Will there be surprises like highwaymen or robbers?
Mike Hoge: Sure.
Aasgeier: Will the hero have his own home? Is there more sense in it now than in Gothic, where you really didn’t need to sleep?
Mike Hoge: Who wants to sleep can do it but we won´t force anybody. You can choose your hut. All you have to do is get rid of the guy living there … (and DON´T get caught, you will not get away with murder so easily this time!)
Aasgeier: What about children and pets (cats, dogs)?
Mike Hoge: Naw. Children are problematic. You might massacre them – and I think some people (not only in this country) have a serious problem with this. Understandably, I think …
Aasgeier: Gothic II´s world is far bigger. Will it be completely loaded, or will only small areas load? What will the transitions look like?
Mike Hoge: The world is now so big that we had to split it in two halves, so you won´t need 512 MB RAM to play Gothic II.
Aasgeier: There will be a harbor. Will we be able to board a ship and travel to another island?
Mike Hoge: Let us surprise you …
Aasgeier: Are there more dungeons than in Gothic?
Mike Hoge: No, but more levels.
Aasgeier: Will you include more secondary quests in later chapters this time?
Mike Hoge: Definitely so!
Aasgeier: What about trading? Coins are the currency now. Is it still possible to use goods and ore as a currency? Is it more balanced now so that you’ll still need coins or ore later in the game?
Mike Hoge: Yes, no and yes.
Aasgeier: How long will it take the player to finish Gothic II the first time?
Mike Hoge: No idea – we´ll see it when it´s done. Right now it grows a bit every day – and we still have time …
Aasgeier: Will there be another guest appearance by In Extremo [a famous German middle ages metal band; ed.] or something like that?
Mike Hoge: No.
Aasgeier: The possibilities for fanwork in Gothic are enormous, primarily due to the powerful cheat system [=’Marvin Mode‘]. Will it be like this in Gothic II?
Mike Hoge: Marvin lives!
Aasgeier: Will all dialogs be voice-acted? By the same speakers?
Mike Hoge: Yes – plus some new speakers.
Aasgeier: I read on a forum the minimum requirements were 800 MHz, 256 MB RAM and a 64 MB graphics card. Is this correct and what kind of machine do we need to enjoy all the effects?
Mike Hoge: Yes, it will end up somewhere around this.
Aasgeier: When will the Gothic II demo be released?
Mike Hoge: After we´ve delivered the gold master – but before the game is in stores.