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Sacred 2: Fallen Angel (Interview)

Sacred 2: Fallen Angel (Interview)

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We sent our guy John Erikson to talk to the Sacred 2 team, one of the most awaited forthcoming games to hit both PC and Xbox 360 platforms.

We would like to thank Hans Arno Wegner and Heiko Tom Felde for their time as well as many of the development team behind Sacred 2.


Gaming Heaven: How many people were involved in the development of Sacred 2?

SC2Team: Ascaron develops Sacred 2: Fallen Angel since 2004 and 94 people at Ascaron are involved. Some of the worlds best graphics and animation studios are working for Sacred2 in special areas on demand too.

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Gaming Heaven: The development of Sacred 2 is tied in closely with Dell and Alienware, can you explain the reasoning behind this and how it all started?

SC2Team: We had always issues with hardware. No STD, various systems and nearly not two same PC´s. This is pretty much the normal situation because hardware grows over the time and ages fast like cheese in the sun. You then start to upgrade and change…and finally the hardware isn’t stable and reliable anymore.

When we started to develop on Xbox360 we realized the advantage of one unique high quality hardware basis. For the GC 2007 we had a booth coop with Dell to demonstrate the XPS 720 and Sacred2 as a joint promotion. To do the adoption for the GC version of Sacred2 and build a network. We got 21 XPS 720 to test the network game.

My developpers first where positively shocked about the size and weight of the XPS but after one week the didn’t want to give them away anymore. In half of the time planned and better quality with less bugs we developed the special GC 2007 code on and for the XPS 720.

I shared this idea of a console like HW basis for the development and the advantages with Georg and Eric from Dell during GamesConvention 2007 and we found an agreement to exclusively use DELL PC´s for Sacred2 and Ascaron development. Because we needed to extend our development and testing beginning this year and needed new PC´s, Dell suggested to also speak with Alienware and integrate this PC´s into our dev park.

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Gaming Heaven: Do you develop on both Nvidia and ATI Hardware? What are the companies like to work with ? How much support did they offer (if any)?

SC2Team:  High profile games like Sacred2 are leading in GFX and technology. Its not possible to create games without the support for testing, performance analysis or newest GFX cards before launch from both…ATI and N-Vidia. We frequently discuss issues and both companies have a lot of engeneers to look for solutions. Without this developer support we could not integrate the new HW features into our games. The best GFX cards is of no use if no software is there to be played on!

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Gaming Heaven: Sacred 2 supports Light FX, can you explain what this does and how exactly will this benefit the gamer?

SC2Team: Eric from Dell has shown us the LightFX feature during GDC this year and I thought its a cool feature to build into the game. We use LightFX to support the gamer as a feedback system. Example…hitpoints are red flashing, if healthpotion is needed the Dell starts flashing, special achievements and the Dell starts applauding in rainbow colors. There are a few more functions to be built and connect the game with the LightFX from Dell and Alienware. The good thing : It just took us 30 minutes to build a first sample. We also can use the LightFX for other gimmicks like the Xbox 360 controller vibration on a PC.

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Gaming Heaven: What is the ideal system specification to run Sacred 2? Does the game support SLI and Crossfire? What is the minimum specification you would recommend.

SC2Team: The ideal system to run all GFX features we have created is a XPS 720 H2C…but, we have created 3 GFX sets from uncompressed data to also cover lower specs PC´s. There is one top secret project we are working on and we lift the surprise at the end of June ­čÖé

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Gaming Heaven: Is the game developed to run perfectly on both Vista 32bit and 64bit?

SC2Team: We developed S2 on 32 bit but it will also run on 64 bit.

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Gaming Heaven: One of the key points of Sacred 2 is the fact that the game does not require reloading and uses a clever caching system, obviously you don’t want to give away your secrets, but how much ram would a user need to fully avail of this feature? Would it work better on a system with 4 gig of ram when compared with 1 or 2 gig for example?

SC2Team:  The view distance is higher on a high memory PC and 1 GIG will be enough to play Sacred2 smoothly. Sacred2 scales to any available GFX.

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Gaming Heaven: Sacred 2 has an innovative emotional system, how exactly does this work?

SC2Team:  All enemies have their own animations for emotional expression. Enemies will also react to the strength of the Hero. E.g They will show reverence to very high level characters. The most emotions are shown by the NPCs. They will react to the Hero’s progress in game. E.g. Farmers will flee if the hero is part of the Shadow side and has done some very dark things. On the other hand, if the hero helps villagers then he or she will be admired by them, especially if the hero plays on the Light side. We also have in mind, but have not implemented yet, NPCs showing their emotions with their comments to the hero.

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Gaming Heaven: Gore Feedback is another buzz word around the game. How is this different to anything else we have seen before?

SC2Team: Honestly things have changed, so we will have gore feedback in the way most players know it from Sacred 1. We will not have cut off arms, heads or legs as this would automatically give us an adult rating. But in Sacred 2 we have ragdoll physics, as well as some splatter effects which the player can activate through the options. We cannot guarantee that this can stay in the game though, it will depend on the age certification through the different countries.

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Gaming Heaven: Many gamers are complaining that games today are very short, How long will the average game take to complete Sacred 2?

SC2Team: We need to differentiate this a little bit. To play one Char one campaign you will probably play 30-40 hours. we have 4x shadow and light campaign chars, 1x light and 1x shadow campaign char = 10x 30-40 hours for the campaign mode. This means not looking around and not going into the non linear gameplay and do the hundrets of sidequests and not having played a minute the many online gaming modes or instant coop :=) Sacred1 is still played by thousands of people everyday on our servers…for 4 years now.

We try to make every minute and hour fun to play. It doesnt make sense to create boring 200 hour gameplay..

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Gaming Heaven: Does the game support DX10? will it ever? What are your views on DX10 and any possible overheads?

SC2Team: DX 10 is extra work. We will support it but maybe no fully at release.

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Gaming Heaven: What does the world of Ancaria promise for PC gamers? Anything you would like to address?

SC2Team: We are promising interesting weeks or even months of fun when playing in the seamless world of Ancaria. Players can look forward to developing totally unique heroes. Heroes can be developed with different playing styles, especially by using the large amount of combat arts which are as unique as the equipment of your hero.

Sacred2 will also have a huge Online mode. People can even play a single player game, and invite their friends to join it. We will have the Open and Closed Nets, as well as LAN. This will allow players the choice of setting up a game server of their own for their friends, or connecting to an existing one. Servers will support up to 16 players depending on which Game mode is selected. LAN, Open and Closed Net will have all Game modes available, these modes include campaign, PVP and PVE. Just like in Sacred 1, you will also be able to choose which difficulty level you want when setting up or joining a server. What could be more fun than fighting in campaign mode with your friends against one of our cool end bosses and getting the reward for it? Sacred 2 is not limited to Online gaming either. As we had in Sacred 1, players will also be able to play Single player Offline.

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Gaming Heaven: Sacred 2 is also going to be available on the Xbox 360. What compromises had to be made for the console? Was this a hard challenge?

SC2Team: We don’t do any compromise for the console version of Sacred2. There are some natural given restrictions for the online gaming = 4 people via Xbox Live for the online mode but some advantages like playing instant 2 player on one Xbox 360.

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Gaming Heaven: It is pretty much common knowledge that the Playstation 3 is much more difficult to code for than the 360. What are your views on this? Will Sacred 2 be made available to PS3 owners?

SC2Team: I can not comment anything on PS3 for the moment…

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Gaming Heaven: Thanks for your time, is there anything you would like to say to our audience before we go?

SC2Team: Sacred2 is our biggest ever undertaking at Ascaron. 94 people now are working on Sacred2 in our company and we do our best to make it a milestone. I hope our customers will love it and our developing colleagues are doing everything to make it a fun and entertaining game. Visit Sacred2.com and stay tuned for the 29th of September… thats the release date WorldWide.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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