The decision to meld third-person action and large-scale strategy is a welcome break from RTS tradition. How are you making sure both elements work well together?
We have done extensive development to ensure that going from RTS mode to Hero is as seamless as possible. Also, we've been playing, balancing and polishing Hero and RTS modes for quite some time and are really happy with their current states.
Will you be controlling an overall force during the single-player campaign, or will the game use a more Command & Conquer style of building up a force with each new scenario before assaulting the enemy stronghold?
You will start as Alexander of Greece and move through the story in a progressive manner. Along the way you will build up your civilisation and hero abilities.
Our campaigns are compelling and tell a great historical story, but also provide great incremental information which will help the player dive immediately into multiplayer and kick some butt.
Above: Good use of your hero can turn the tide of a battle
The game features both land and sea battles. How are you transferring the intensity of a battlefield to the restrictions of the open water?
We have such a great naval system that intensity on the open water is a given. I was playing a game with friends in the office and I was getting bombarded by a ship, just off shore. Basically my town was all but devastated and I was in retreat mode.
I noticed that he was docking and taking his troops off his ship, so I jumped into Hero mode, made a beeline to his ship and managed to board and capture it by killing the stragglers. I immediately debarked and proceeded to bombard him. Intense is barely good enough to cover the sweat poring down my face as I cheated death and managed to turn the game around and finally win.
How many hero characters are there, who are they and what skills do they have?
There are four civilisations (Rome, Egypt, Greece and Persia) and each civ has two well-known heroes to choose from. Alexander and Achilles from Greece, Nebuchadnezzar and Sargon from Persia, Cleopatra and Ramses from Egypt and Germanicus Caesar and Julius Caesar from Rome. Abilities vary from hero to hero and civ to civ and, while I'd love to go into details, suffice to say that we will be bringing out details on each hero in the strategy guide to come.