(PF) What is your personal background in the industry?
(RG) I started working in the games industry at LucasArts back in 1993. They hired me to create 3D art for games which at the time, were still all 2D. I stayed 6 years, learned a ton and made contributions to some classic Star Wars and adventure games. Then in 2000 I moved to Europe to work for a Swedish developer UDS. There I led a team of talented artist making a Futurama console game. Unfortunately the company went out of business after 3 years. I returned to the US to take a position as the Art Director of Muzzy Lane Software, the original developers of the Making History series. My role eventually evolved and I became the designer on all the Making History commercial games.
(PF) How did you go about acquiring Factus Games?
(RG) I founded Factus Games in 2017 when Muzzy Lane became interested in selling the publishing and development rights to the Making History games. As an educational focused business, Muzzy Lane was never fully committed to commercial gaming and that’s what I wanted to return to. It was an amicable split.
(PF) Compared to contemporary World-War-era, Grand Strategy games, what sets Making History: The Second World War apart?
(RG) The original Making History game began as an educational product designed for classroom use. In that environment, the game needed to deliver a true historical experience for a wide range of users - most with no strategy gaming background. From that initial effort we created the commercial version of Making History. As the lead designer, my goal was to retain the simplicity of the original gameplay while adding systems to increase the entertainment value. Namely, I wanted the game to be unrestrained by strict historical paths and allow users to carve out their own narratives. History is the theme and the setting. Players navigate the world and change outcomes based on how they behave against a collection of AI nations that also react to the varying activity. Two games will never be the same. As long as the AI makes believable choices, the diversion away from actual history is accepted by the player. With Making History: The Second World War we’ve added many historical events but at each juncture, the player can choose an alternative historical option.
(PF) How does Making History: The Second World War differ from Making History: The Great War?
(RG) The Second World War was built on the same engine as The Great War so the game will feel familiar to TGW users. We retained the basic structure and gameplay style but most of the AI and systems code was either rewritten or improved. There are also some key strategic and political differences between the two wars that we needed to differentiate in the AI and game systems. For instance in SWW, ideology has greater influence on AI decisions and the combat is more offensive minded. On the graphics side, we’ve doubled the detail level for the hundreds of new WW2 era unit models. Our aesthetic aim is still to present a simple, uncluttered gameboard experience. The game map has been regenerated and improved over the TGW version. There are a lot of new features and loads of historical and alternative historical events.
(PF) What do Factus Games have planned following its third World War 2 game?
(RG) Our main focus will be on creating a new engine for our future Strategy Games. It’s possible we'll produce a DLC for The Second World War focused on the Korean War, but that has not been officially decided. I’ve also been thinking about ways to make Multiplayer more accessible and easier to play. We'd like to produce some scenarios dedicated to MP play. And after release the game will continue to receive updates and new free content.
(PF) What effort is given to exploring alternate history in Making History: The Second World War?
(RG) Alternative history as gameplay is a core element to the Making history game design. Not only do we allow players to diverge from the path, we encourage it and craft the content and AI to expect it. In The Second World War, Germany left alone will usually go about their business attacking their neighbors as the Germans did in WW2. But the results will never be the same.
(PF) What support for the modding community can we expect going forward?
(RG) Making History: The Second World War will launch with Steam Workshop and a full-featured editor. Beyond that I feel it will be up to the community to let us know what they need. Modding is obviously a good way to extend the viability of a product and expand the user base. So it will be in our interests to continue supporting the modding and the game itself long after release.
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