Swords and Soldiers was one of the most underrated WiiWare games, and with Swords and Soldiers II coming out this week, we here at Middle of Nowhere Gaming decided to catch up with Dutch developer Ronimo Games.
MONG: So, Robin could you please introduce yourself?
Robin: Hey there! I’m Robin, and I’m a producer at Ronimo Games! We’re located in the Netherlands and have a team of about 15 people. We make 2D games 🙂
MONG: Could you give the readers, who haven’t played Swords and Soldiers, a brief overview of the Swords and Soldiers games?
Robin: Swords & Soldiers was the very first game we released and it’s a 2D Sidescrolling Strategy game. You build units and cast spells to defeat your opponents – pretty simple, right? The difference with ‘3D Strategy’ games is that your units actually walk on their own and will start fighting with the first unit they come into range with, and that eliminates a lot of the ‘less fun’ bits you usually find in strategy games. It also adds a really cool tactical layer to the game that’s unique to the RTS genre. It’s strategy with all the depth, but a lot less of the hassle!
MONG: In hindsight, is there anything you would change in the original Swords and Soldiers?
Robin: Looking back at the original game, which came out in 2009, I must say that we’re really happy with the way the game turned out. We played through it a while back, and it held up quite well. One of the biggest issues we had with it, in retrospect, was that the game didn’t encourage the player to experiment all that much. Once you’ve unlocked a unit it stays available for the rest of that campaign, so players would often find a combination of units and spells that they really like and then just didn’t experiment with any of the new stuff we’d give them. We really wanted to address that in the sequel.
Another thing we struggled with was the fact that it was possible to stalemate in the original. If two experienced players would fight each other it was pretty easy to just have an endless tug-of-war in the middle of the map. In the sequel, we’ve added small treasure chests containing gold and mana, which will randomly spawn on the map. If you can bring those crates back to your base you’ll get additional resources, so you will want to try and get control of the map as soon as possible. If you keep bringing in those creates, you’ll be able to overwhelm your opponent simply because you have more resources available.
MONG: Could you describe some of the changes between the original Swords and Soldiers and Swords and Soldiers II?
Robin: Well, one of the big changes is that every story mission now has a unique tech tree. The units and spells available to you are different every mission, so you can’t use the same combination of units every time. As a result, we’ve been able to make every mission even more unique, and we encourage players to explore new combinations of units and spells that they might not have tried before.
We also decided to create one big campaign, rather than split the game into three campaigns. You now follow Chief Redbeard from start to finish, and gain access to all units from the three different playable races as you play through the campaign.
MONG: What is your favorite part of Swords and Soldiers II?
Robin: My favorite part of Swords & Soldiers II is probably the fact that you can use the touchscreen of the Wii U GamePad to cast spells on your opponents. It just feels amazing to zap guys with lightning by touching them. The touch controls work well, and it’s definitely the most laid-back way to play strategy games… ever.
MONG: Are we looking at a similar amount of content to the original Swords and Soldiers (30 campaign missions split between 3 factions, skirmish mode, split screen multiplayer, minigames etc.)?
Robin: Swords & Soldiers II has a really cool campaign, and a pretty awesome customizable local multiplayer / skirmish mode. The campaign has about 16 story missions, as well as a couple of optional missions and challenges. All missions have certain challenges as well, so if you’re up for a challenge you can try beating the par time or completing the optional objectives. Though there aren’t quite as many missions as in the original, it will actually take you a lot longer to complete the campaign just because the missions are more unique and have more complex objectives.
Skirmish and local multiplayer are also available, and you can decide to play with either preset Viking / Persian / Demon armies or create your own custom army consisting of units you’ve unlocked in the campaign. My personal favorite is facing off against another player with randomized loadouts. You never know what you’ll get, and it really forces you to creatively use all the spells and units the game makes available to you.
MONG: Why did you decide to make Swords and Soldiers II a Wii U exclusive?
Robin: We think the Wii U is awesome, and we felt like we could turn Swords & Soldiers II into a really awesome game for the platform. The GamePad is a really unique piece of hardware, and it just allows you to do really cool things you can’t do on another platform. For instance, in multiplayer each of the players have their own screen and that just makes local skirmishes awesome.
MONG: The original Swords and Soldiers was originally released on WiiWare and then went to other platforms (PC, Mac, Linux, PS3, Wii U, 3DS, Android, iOS), so do you see Swords and Soldiers II going multi-platform?
MONG: After Swords and Soldiers II do you think you’ll be finished with the Swords and Soldiers series and will move onto an Awesomenauts sequel or a new franchise entirely?
Robin: Swords & Soldiers was the very first game, so the franchise will always have a special place in our hearts. While making the sequel we also came up with a lot of other cool ideas we couldn’t fit into this game, so there is definitely enough to do if we ever decide to make another sequel! We are planning to focus on creating more content for Awesomenauts for the foreseeable future though, so our entire team will be working on that. No plans for an Awesomenauts sequel – just making the original game even bigger and more awesome than it already is!
MONG: Finally, do you think after the Swords and Soldiers II development process you’ll make another Wii U exclusive game or another game on a Nintendo platform?
Robin: We don’t have any plans for another project after this, and will really just focus on Awesomenauts. Never say never though!
MONG: Finally how would you describe Swords and Soldiers II in three words?
Robin: Serious strategic fun. That actually covers it pretty well!
Swords and Soldiers II will be coming out exclusively on the Wii U on May 22, 2015. If you would like to find out more about the game, you can check out Ronimo Games’ website or find them on Facebook or Twitter.
Lucy Pallent is a Senior Writer at MONG. She is a girl gamer from a rock in the middle of nowhere and is the world’s biggest n00b. She likes Nintendo, JRPGs and food. Feel free to follow her random ramblings on Twitter.