An interview with the development team of GoldenLand, russian RPG produced by Burut.
Multiplayer.it: Now the development of Goldenland is over and the game is in stores, at least in Russia. A first question could be made: are you happy with what you have achieved?
Sergey Bouravtsov: Due to different reasons which we had encountered during the development, we had done not all that we wanted to do, but we've done our best to make the game maximum close to our ideal. The project has received a lot of positive reactions from the players, and that's the first award for the developer. We really are glad that the player has an opportunity to enjoy good game. But there is always something to change, complete or improve so we still have a lot of work to do.
Multiplayer.it: Do you know anything about English and/or other releases? You may understand that we are extremely interested for a hypothetical English version?:)
Sergey Bouravtsov: The process of English localization is in progress right now. And, the possibility of English release in 2004 is very high.
Multiplayer.it: We "hardcore players" have been very happy reading about the freedom left to the player, who can explore almost the entire world from the beginning, without having to "clean this to go there". We already know that there are four big climatic zones: can you tell us more specifically how big is the game world? How many maps are there? Are they similar in dimension to the ones of Baldur's Gate?
Dmitry Glasnev: The principles of Golden Land gameworld organization is more like in Fallout than in Baldur's Gate. There is, for example, the large map which helps the player to travel between the cities. During these travels, he meets bandits, monsters or peaceful merchants, animals, hunters and so on. There are also a lot of "unique" meetings at the global map which happen only once. These ones are especially interesting and vivid.
Multiplayer.it: Another thing really important for us "hardcore players" is the nature of quests. We really hope that the game will offer something deeper than the traditional "bring this item to me" quest. How many quests, for example, can be solved avoiding combat completely?
Dmitry Glasnev: Almost all tasks are different and have some levels. The quest can start from traditional "bring this item to me", but it is surely to continue in some unusual way. A lot of quests can be solved peacefully by persuading, bribery, etc. And, they have some ways of solving them.
Multiplayer.it: A problem with complex PRGs is that often non-combat actions (like diplomacy or hide in shadows) are present, but not rewarded with experience: so players tend to kill monsters anyway, even if they could have been avoided at all. How have you faced this problem? Is the player rewarded with experience only in combat or also elsewhere?
Dmitry Glasnev: We have tried to make the game that way the player can receive battle experience mostly by travelling over the global map. As far as nobody limits him in this travel, it's not possible to say where he will get more experience by fighting or by completing tasks, but we have balanced this feature.
Multiplayer.it: Is it possible to complete the game as a "pacifist", like in Fallout? What is the real role of combat?
Dmitry Glasnev: I have replied to this question partly before. No, you are not able to complete the game as a true pacifist, at least because of the final battle with your biggest enemy. But, we have tried to increase the number and role of the peaceful tasks (and of the peaceful variants of solving other tasks) in comparison with frankly battle ones. Really, there are almost no simple quests like "go kill that bad guy".
Multiplayer.it: How are the dialogues? Did you prefer an extensive dialogue concept (with ambient descriptions, like in Torment) or a quick one? Are there books to read, like in Morrowind?
Dmitry Glasnev: Second. Maybe it's my own preference, but I am not the fond of Torment dialogues. Actually, I gave up playing this game only because of dialogues, because the search of two valuable words between tons of descriptive text can be really annoying. That's why I counted on the self-descriptiveness and variations while creating dialogues within the reasonable limits of the game, of course. You almost always have from 2 to 6-7 variations of answers to NPC's reply, and NPCs never say the same phrases if you are speaking to them several times! The information about the gameworld is written in the player's "diary" finally he was born in this world, and he is an apprentice of the Temple where the sciences are in favour! So, the user can always read texts about Marvia, Golden Land, etc.
Multiplayer.it: We know that in GoldenLand there is the possibility to hire companions, talk to them and also argue with them. Are there also romances, like in BG2? Are there quests connected with a specific companion or with a specific type of character?
Dmitry Glasnev: Well, there will be no romances in pure form, but the player will be able to flirt with the representatives of the fair sex more than once, and in one case even to ease his own fate with the skilled compliments? Some people will join you only after completing the certain tasks, and some like - crazy miner from Marvia - will leave the party after goal achievement.
Multiplayer.it: Let's talk about the story: does the game deal also with "adult" or important themes? Is the player going to be the common world-saving-hero-without-any-doubt, or can we also face a more complex destiny? Will the game be suited for everyone, or only for a mature audience?
Dmitry Glasnev: In Golden Land, there are some moments that make the game more realistic, but, on the other hand, reduce the target audience. We made this to make the gameworld close to real life. As for the main character, he will have to choose whether he wants to behave good or bad.
Multiplayer.it: We tried many asian RPG in the last year. They all were good but not quite masterpieces as Torment or Morrowind or Baldur's Gate. We think that this is due to a lack of experience of the emergent asian market. Do you think that Goldenland might become the first real masterpiece from the asian market?
Sergey Bouravtsov: Let the players answer to this question by their interest and appreciation to the game. We, from our side, have done and continue doing everything for our project to have its own place between the world leaders and the worthy position in player's hearts.
Goldenland is a RPG from the Russian market that has been developed by Burut CT and currently published only in Russia by Russo-bit.
As the first news appeared on web Goldenland showed up the best rpg features: a fascinating story, a detailed and populated world, a party to manage, lots of dialogues, a chance to solve quests in different ways, a turn based combat system, and so on. Moreover goldenland has fantastic graphics with isometric view and an engine called AGE, created by the developing team itself, that is able to simulate weather effects, night and day, and other realistic elements.
We learnt from the publisher public relations guys that the game is going very well in Russia and that the first expansion set is in development right now. It also was surprisingly nominated as third best rpg game by many sites, following KOTOR and Gothic II (first-person games ). We also learnt that the game is currently being translated and soon an english version will be ready for us to play. Goldenland might prove to be a great game and, maybe, the heir of Baldur's Gate. We will know if our feelings about this game are correct only by playing the translated version which we hope to get in a few months.