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Rune II Interview – Choosing Epic Games Store to Deliver a Bigger, Better Game to Everyone

Rune II is the lengthy-awaited sequel to the motion/journey/RPG Human Head Studios launched just about nineteen years in the past for laptop.

First introduced two years ago as Rune: Ragnarok, Rune II is now approaching its debut time due to the fact that it’s scheduled to launch this summer on the Epic games store. earlier this week we hopped on a convention call with Human Head Co-Founder and venture Lead Chris Rhinehart for a veritable deep dive that begun with the trade selection to be given Epic’s deal but went so much extra, detailing close to every part of the game itself. We additionally discovered that Human Head is presently experimenting with ray tracing, so there’s a danger it’ll be added to Rune II later on.
with out further ado, right here’s the full transcript. Brace your self.
Of direction, the gigantic elephant within the room is your determination to make Rune II an Epic games store exclusive at launch. i do know some persons aren’t that thinking about Rune II anymore considering that of that choice. whilst, might be you might want to provide an explanation for how this opportunity came to be for Human Head and what type of advantages you’re getting.

As we had been working on the game, we in the beginning planned to have the sport out a bit of bit sooner, however we did a quantity of Closed Beta deathmatch checks before that. They originally began as testing out fight, to get a sense of how it worked in multiplayer and so on. So we wrote a kind of simple type of deathmatch at that point and we have been checking out it. As we had been going by way of that, we, collectively, us and our funding accomplice as much as this point (ESDF), determined that the game needed just a little bit extra time to cook dinner. We have been getting various pleasant feedback from our lovers and from the individuals within the deathmatch experiment and we simply needed extra time. and frankly, we would have liked more funding, so we went out and did a variety of conferences with unique publishers and specific abilities companions, just making an attempt to determine who often is the nice persons to accomplice with on this. one among them was Epic and it was once a gorgeous good deal they supplied us. It’s now not Ferrari money or something like that, as all of the money we bought, we’re striking into the development of the undertaking.

I don’t recognize if quite a few persons comprehend this, but Human Head and Epic have acquired a really good relationship that goes means again to our first sport, or really once we were engaged on one more sport. We were utilizing the Unreal Engine at that point, the common Unreal Engine. That sport ended up going away,
but we fairly liked the engine quite a bit and we favored working with Epic, so we talked to them asking if we might preserve making use of their engine they usually said ‘sure!’ in fact, we confirmed them the sport that we had been engaged on,
Rune. and so they were like, that’s first-class clearly, we want to put up that. Epic was once for a even as, unless Gathering of builders got here into the snapshot, the common publisher of Rune, though it was known as Ragnar on the time. So we’ve stayed pals with Epic, we’ve stayed good business companions with Epic. It just type of made feel. There used to be sort of this poetic facet to it because the common Rune started with Epic, after which Rune II can also be going with Epic as good.
i know that you just also had a generous application for many who had previously pre-ordered the sport, you gave out extra keys for associates, proper?

We gave out additional keys, indeed. We realise that some humans, they only don’t want to be on the Epic video games store. They don’t want a sport that’s on the Epic games store. We appreciate that. We furnished refunds to those individuals, a number of them took us up on that present however for the most phase, quite a lot of them notion that was nice, liked it they usually’re sticking with the game. and then a number of individuals are simply, you understand, they’re now not going to get Rune II on the Epic video games retailer, they’re going to wait unless it’s out on different platforms.

Epic video games store will likely be a excellent thing for us as developers, it’ll be a just right factor for the gaming public as good. but you recognize, we utterly realise and appreciate that individuals might now not wish to get a recreation on that store. they may be able to wait or simply come to a decision what they want to do.

are you able to expose whilst you started speaking with Epic about becoming a member of their retailer as an special?

end of last 12 months. That’s around the time we began speaking to different publishers as well, just sort of looking around and seeing what our options have been.

With this additional funding, you had been competent to toughen the game, I take it.

not only that, but in addition we at the start had plans to have the sport come out and then we had been going to position Deathmatch PvP out a bit bit later, you recognize, perhaps a month or two after, possibly a bit of longer. however seeing that we bought this additional funding, we’re ready to maneuver that up. Now we’re launching with single participant, co-op in the campaign and Deathmatch PvP.

I used to be wondering if which you could inform me roughly what number of developers you could have correct now at Human Head Studios.

About 55.

adequate. You’re also engaged on some other projects, I think. at least the clicking releases say as a lot.

We do have a few matters that the other inside groups are engaged on correct now, yes.

what number of are working on Rune II, then?

It style of varies just a little bit. It’s sort of long gone up and down a little bit, but it averages round 15 to twenty.

obtained it. final year you had been purported to launch on Steam Early entry, I consider it was in September. I was wondering which areas of Rune II you reckon had been elevated essentially the most, , between the extra funding and the extra progress time.

definite, combat has been increased. That’s the core of the sport, it’s the core of what you do. There’s been much more polish, a lot more moves you are able to do with the one-of-a-kind weapons, much more weapons themselves, and the overall pacing of the game has increased. Rune II is quite a intricate game, intentionally, however it’s very beneficial. The narrative has been generally elevated as well in terms of just how the overall story is advised and how it’s offered to the participant. the world has additionally gotten rather a lot larger, I consider we in actual fact doubled the dimensions of the world in terms of the quantity of content that you may explore and the number of islands. This world has been littered with Ragnarok, so there’s quite a few islands for the duration of the arena, from very tiny ones which have cool little secrets or a designated recipe you might gain knowledge of to so much larger islands the place there’s much more field to explore and much more matters to come across. the opposite significant thing that we’ve expanded for the reason that then is we’ve added the a while method. And what that is story sensible….Loki freed himself from his shackles, then he’s variety of taken over the whole world of Midgard. He doesn’t need to die considering the fact that in the Ragnarok story Loki dies at the finish, however he located a strategy to keep away from that and he’s basically resetting time. after I say that, Rune II isn’t a roguelike, meaning the whole thing isn’t reset, you don’t lose your whole apparatus, you don’t lose all your progression. however at any time when you are trying to encounter and take a look at to kill Loki, given that that’s the best intention, at any time when you attempt to kill him, when you fail, the arena will reset and a new Age starts. These a long time have unique attributes to them, both positive and terrible.

The Age of poison is a really excellent instance. Story-intelligent, the arena Serpent has belched up a whole bunch of venom and it’s floating around the world. There are poison clouds throughout the sector and enemies had been corrupted by means of this poison, there’s a lot more undead around. everything around this Age is focused round poison, so it’s more detrimental. however the positives are that there’s designated weapons you can get in this Age that really aid you in other a long time. all of the specific a while are interlinked in style of one gigantic puzzle and the equipment that you simply get in a given Age will aid you in different ages. So you wish to have to be interested by being in an Age of poison, for the reason that you need to get poisoned weapons that work higher within the Age of chaos, for example.

I see, exciting. what number of a while are there at launch?

There are six unique core ages.

ok, so these a long time will clearly cycle except you kill Loki, right?

some thing like that.

It’s a ordinary setup for a narrative crusade, which means that it’s most likely particularly difficult so that you can say how long it is going to tackle natural, proper? considering that it depends on the ability of the participant as good, how rapidly they may be able to kill Loki.

I imply, we’re targeting 15 to 20 hours for the traditional participant. however when it comes out, there can be speedrunners so one can to find approaches to get round and traditionally do it approach faster than we will even assume. but I think that’s lovely cool. I believe it’s rather cool that people wish to do this.

right. The crusade is also co-op enabled, proper?

undoubtedly, it’s concentrating on 4 player co-op.

So clearly, if you happen to go with three different neighbors, is it simply simpler to kill Loki? Or do you buff his stats to make it balanced founded on the participant quantity?

Yeah, he is buffed so it is more elaborate. He’s bought a couple of extraordinary skills and a few attacks that he does that are rather challenging while you’re on my own, however they’re truely designed for multiplayer, they’re designed for co-op.

past the campaign in opposition to Loki are there side quests, side studies, to be found even as exploring the world in Rune II?

There are, there’s like little experiences you will find during the world within the form of lore stones, which have understanding about hobbies that occurred for the period of Ragnarok or in regards to the characters which can be there. and they also’re little reviews you in finding around the world, however you recognize, there are some gamers who are quite into story and want to realize and study the entire viable lore. One thing that we’ve executed with these lore stones is that there’s also mostly a recipe hooked up to it, this means that that when you read the lore stone, you’ll be taught methods to build whatever or craft a exact weapon or a unique piece of equipment. So there’s a reward for doing that should you’re more of a completionist kind of participant that just wants to seek out the best loot and the good gear.

speakme of loot, I suppose some fans from the community have been wondering how loot will probably be dispensed in co-op.

the best way it really works correct now’s that it’s essentially social splitting, meaning it’s up to you and your buddies to speak about and decide who will get what.

okay. Can you love turn on your friends and kill them for the loot?

That’s simply a server setting. I mean, it defaults to no, that you can’t kill your pals. but when folks want to set up their possess server and they wish to have friendly fireplace enabled, yeah, they may be able to absolutely do that.

We’re exposing various server settings to the avid gamers in order that they may be able to spin up their possess servers if they want to make the sport easier. For instance, they can dial down enemy trouble or they are able to dial up XP progress, or they are able to change like, you already know, the forms of runes that spaw, that style of thing. but they are able to additionally set friendly fireplace on, they are able to trade the climate and more. We’re focusing on four participant Co-Op, but when any one needs to spin up a server and try to do sixteen participant Co-Op, we’re now not stopping you. you already know, it’s restricted by means of the computing device, the server that you’re going for walks it on relatively, however nothing within the sport prevents tweaking and everything will scale properly up to in phrases of drawback.

intriguing. with regards to loot, will there be many specific object rarity tiers equivalent to infrequent, Epic, Legendary, and many others. in Rune II?

There are different rarity tiers for things like swords, axes, hammers, greatswords, spears, bows. There’s additionally a mod approach on top of those, which means you would get a weapon that has a hearth mod on it, or it has an fascinating one like a sailing mod for a nautical helmet. whilst you get that helmet, possibly it’s acquired slash durability or the injury isn’t fairly as just right as an additional helmet however in the event you’re carrying it, that you would be able to sail turbo. so that maybe valuable to you when you’re going to move discover together with your boat and sail around a bit bit faster to find these areas. specific equipment will of direction have one-of-a-kind elemental resistances so whatever could work higher in in frost environment versus fire atmosphere, and that definitely matches well with the one of a kind a long time too.

Loki is naturally the main foe in Rune II given the setup, however are there other bosses, for example tied to a targeted Age?

There’s no specified boss of the hearth Age, for example, no. however what there’s, is in any given age you’re going after artifacts, mystical relics from Norse mythology. There’s a narrative in the back of all of these, they’re all linked to Ragnarok in a special way. There’s a mistletoe dart and that’s the dart that killed Baldur, which truly was one of the crucial commencing features of Ragnarok, or it’s part of Heimdall’s horn that you’re looking to recover. each of these artifacts is included via this sort of minions, there’s variety of a mini-boss or a mini clan oftentimes when you consider that it might be a much larger group of enemies protecting this thing. You need to get better these artifacts and take them to Heimdall with a purpose to get the capability to move to try to take down Loki. through collecting adequate these artifacts, you’re tearing the veil into this alternate dimension the place Loki is hiding from the opposite gods. but the interesting factor also with these artifacts is they’ve obtained distinctive competencies and powers on them. For example we have now one that permits you to run faster, and your punch injury is much higher. So which you can be this crazy punching dude at the same time you’re having this artifact.

There are downsides to artifacts as well. some of them will have negatives, for example decreasing your wellness. So whilst you’re tremendous punching man, you perhaps extra more likely to get killed, that type of factor. And whilst you’ve gotten a quantity of the artifacts, Loki is extra aware of you, which means he is going to take a look at to kill you. despite the fact that he’s in one more dimension, he’s acquired the ability to reach into Midgard and say drop meteors for your head.

great. What are you able to inform us concerning the crafting process?

Crafting is a relatively essential a part of Rune II. It’s an motion RPG, or alternatively action/adventure game with RPG elements, however there are some crafting and survival elements to it. It’s no longer quite a survival game however crafting is a fairly principal part of Rune II. you may also kill an enemy and it could now not drop a given weapon, however it could drop a recipe for a weapon. the opposite intriguing thing we have now happening with the weapons too is should you find a weapon and you need to make more of this given a weapon, for those who salvage it, damage it down for its component portions, you’ll additionally be trained the recipe.

got it. Is there dynamic climate in Rune II, possibly relying on the present Age as well?

there may be, yep, there’s dynamic weather in Rune II, there’s a day/night procedure too. In a pleasant age, let’s say the place it’s not poison or frost, it’ll cycle by means of rain, it’ll cycle through snow, cloudy, overcast, that form of thing, by means of day and night. however in anything just like the Age of poison, it’s going to cycle through extraordinary climate stipulations where there’s more poison within the air or it’s rather a lot darker, that form of factor. and i should mention this, in one of the crucial a long time when it’s middle of the night it gets loads darker. within the night time Age it’s actually simply nighttime always. in the mythology, wolves ate the sun, so it’s night time at all times and it gets quite darkish. so you’re going to need torches, you’re going to want to craft campfires, you’re going to want to build longhouses in Rune II, go within the condominium the place you are a little safer from enemies or that you could craft or repair gadgets there.

correct, I desired to ask about building longhouses as well.

Yeah, that you can reconstruct longhouses in the recreation. They had been destroyed at some point for the duration of Ragnarok, which you could come across these and you can rebuild them. to do this you have got to chop down timber and accumulate wooden. once more, it’s now not a survival sport so it doesn’t take forever to chop down a tree, but that you could chop down a quantity of bushes, take that wood and then use it to assemble a new longhouse. Now, in case you construct the longhouse, that’s style of a base for you. And you could go inside, that you can craft new matters, there’s a cooking hearth where that you would be able to cook meat so they can provide you with food to regain well being. you can also build an anvil, you can build a whetstone for repairing your equipment, that you would be able to build a Runeforge so to craft your possess runes as well. Runes provide you with one of a kind God powers, virtually. There’s form of the usual stuff like Runes of stamina to expand your stamina, however we’ve other things like a short-variety teleport which is particularly useful for getting out of damaging instances if you happen to’re surrounded by means of enemies. Or if there’s a fight, you wish to have to that fight, that you would be able to teleport, you realize, up just about the enemies and shock them. There are Runes of Berserk from the long-established game, where you possibly can use the Rune of Berserk and you’d be rather strong for a brief period of time and might’t be killed. particularly, relatively useful rune if the combat is a little bit overwhelming for you. And now we have different matters like a time skip, which quick forwards time, so if it’s the core of the night and you want to head to daytime once more, you can quick ahead there.

Some lovers wish to know if they may be able to turn off the injury numbers seen within the movies you’ve launched.

Yep, and we can have that in for launch. men and women have been asking about that. There’s additionally slightly pop up that occurs whilst you block that says ‘Blocked’, and they’ll be competent to show that off.

Is it possible to parry or do you might have simply block?

There’s just block.

Do you have to have a defend to dam?

that you may block together with your weapon or when you don’t have a weapon, that you may block together with your arm as well, though I wouldn’t endorse blockading with your arm. but you can do that, it’ll mitigate some of the damage, but you’re going to nonetheless take a unique amount of harm and get knocked back. but it surely’s better to do this than to do nothing. Yeah, but which you can block along with your weapons. blocking off with a weapon will minimize the weapon’s durability. Weapons don’t break when the durability is exhausted, what is going to happen is their effectiveness just goes down.

so that you ought to repair them.

correct.

can you crouch? Is there stealth in any respect within the recreation?

It’s most often combating, there isn’t crouch within the sport. We took a appear at if we wanted to add that or not and we decided not to. There isn’t relatively stealth in the recreation, which means there isn’t usual stealth. Enemies undoubtedly have perceptions to them, so if you see a bunch of enemies across the campfire, that you could sneak round them and no longer alert them. Or that you would be able to form of sneak up on them and throw a spear into considered one of their heads to provoke the fight. That’s without doubt an alternative. So however there’s variety of a light type of stuff. earlier I used to be taking part in and there used to be a large that laid down and took a nap. He used to be dozing and that i snuck up and stole his treasure chest that used to be close him and he didn’t wake up. There are some mild elements like that, however it isn’t a real stealth system. Rune II is more about killing and slicing humans up.

I consider the long-established sport had rather the modding scene over time, proper? Is modding anything you might permit one day for Rune II?

We most likely plan for that at some point. That’s truly some of the prime matters that our fanatics have been inquiring for, the ability to mod and either make their possess weapons or make their possess stages or make their own game modes. That was a significant facet within the long-established, the place we added a quantity of recreation modes after which men and women made their possess versions. men and women had been soliciting for that a lot, so it’s planned down the line.

You acknowledged deathmatch, the PvP mode. How does that work? Is it a separate map?

it’s. We investigated the idea of having an field in the open world that you simply might go, an area basically, and fight against different humans there. but it surely just was cleaner to have it as a separate map for typical deathmatch, where humans can leap in and leap out as they wish. we will be launching with each deathmatch and group Deathmatch.

what number of avid gamers are supported in this mode?

I consider it may possibly without problems aid round 24 gamers, that works lovely good in our maps. That’s a further thing the place if any one wishes to spin up their possess server and they want to try to crank it as much as 32 avid gamers in the event that they’ve got a beefy approach, certainly their mileage may differ, however they can are attempting that.

Do you’ve plans for additional PvP modes put up-free up?

We do. I recounted earlier that mods were some of the tremendous things individuals are requesting, I believe one of the crucial biggest ones is persons asking for the world mode from the long-established Rune, in order that’s surely on our radar. enviornment mode was once practically a structured 1v1 or XvX PvP combat that had form of close to a King of the Hill side to it the place if you received the combat, you would keep within the arena and then new challengers would are available in to battle. It’s quite relatively enjoyable, you might choose your gear, go in and also you would watch the combat happening at the same time within the queue. you then get called up and you possibly can go in to combat, it’s a really excellent loop. That’s something really high on our record.

beyond mods and other PvP modes coming after the discharge, what about matters like new PvE bosses, new storylines and quests?

We’ve got a number of suggestions about additional things that we’d like to develop in the single player and co-op world in terms of extra islands or extra gods which you can come upon, that sort of thing. however relatively, what we wish to do when the sport comes out is taking note of the enthusiasts. If individuals are really wanting extra Deathmatch modes or an enviornment mode sooner, probably we’ll focus a bit bit extra on that first, however we obviously have some strategies for expansions and updates for the single participant part.

Did you think about including dungeons or raids, similar to different on-line RPGs, to Rune II?

There’s reasonably of an facet of that right now, when you go after the artifacts. The clan or the wielder will doubtless have more rare loot on them.
I imply, it’s no longer as formalized as like a dungeon or raid. That’s absolutely anything that we might take a appear at. I consider an extra facet that we’re watching at to in terms of future expansion potentialities is, in the Norse mythology there are the 9 nation-states. With Rune II we’re ordinarily in Midgard, so there may be quite a lot of enlargement possibility there on the subject of going into the other nation-states. And that’s been pretty interesting to us as good.

Rune II is popping out for home windows computer, but what about Mac and Linux ports?

That’s not high on our radar proper now however it is some thing that we will take a seem at. firstly we’re focusing on home windows pc and really, we’re watching at consoles as well. We’re no longer going to launch Rune II proper away on consoles, but we’re looking at our console options in view that we’ve had a number of humans ask about console help.

given that you are working intently with Epic and the sport is powered by the Unreal Engine four, they’ve recently brought aid for ray tracing. Is that some thing you’re watching to add to Rune II?

Yeah. Our programmers are experimenting with that more often than not right now. I believe there’s a quantity of shader tweaks that we have to do to get it thoroughly operational. but final I heard it was getting shut.

Is there something you want so as to add peculiarly to the neighborhood?

A at the same time again we introduced the title to be Rune II to as opposed to simply Rune or Rune: Ragnarok. We made that resolution considering the fact that we felt that it’s a true sequel to the usual story-sensible, it was opting for up years after the fashioned ends. you understand, Loki used to be – spoiler – trapped and loses in the long-established, but in this one, he’s damaged free. And it’s type of a typical extension of that, whilst you don’t play the identical persona,
there are nods to the common personality, to Ragnar from the common Rune. We’re relatively desirous about how the game is shaping up. Given the further time for polish that we acquired, the sport is much more brutal. just smacking men and women with their own limbs after you’ve reduce them off is so fun.
We had been enjoying prior and reducing someone’s head off and chasing and throwing it at their friend! It’s darkish, nevertheless it’s hilarious. the best way the ages system has formed up is fairly enjoyable and really cool, it’s interesting to enter exclusive ages and no longer knowing exactly what’s coming subsequent. although after you’ve played the game for a whilst you appreciate what the Age of poison particularly method and you’re prepared to deal with it.

We spent a lot more time, I didn’t talk about this before, with the actual God interaction. Aligning to a god is an essential a part of the sport. Early in the game, you try to take on Loki and there’s no means that you’ll be able to be triumphant, so that you must try to align to a God to support, comparable to Thor or Odin, you get distinctive God powers from them. That changes your persona growth course as good, in terms of what knowledge you’ll gain over time, what type of resistances and so forth you’ll get over time. and then, of course, the story is a bit bit one-of-a-kind with each and every God, they each and every have an additional motive for looking to end Ragnarok.

Can you switch your chosen God at some point?

whenever you’ve determined, that’s it. that you can select not to align. That’s more like, , difficult mode. in the event you make a decision to just thoroughly ignore them and not align with a further God, the game fully helps that.

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