In every Stardock game ever, from 1993 on, the “flavor text” was done by whoever had a moment to throw something in there.
Often times, it meant I did it since I type 120wpm and could crank out a lot of stuff. The GalCiv technology descriptions are notorious for this.
In War of Magic, we decided that we would keep the tongue in cheek text to a minimum which in reality just made it dry and boring.
Since we didn’t enjoy doing it and our fans really wanted to see our games start having some “soul” to them, we hired Sci-Fi writer, Dave Stern full time. He’s been with us since January and the results will be pretty obvious in Fallen Enchantress.
I’m not a marketing person so these screenshot are taken by me in the debugger so keep that in mind (i.e. all graphical enhancements are turned to min for max performance in the debugger):
So Dave would write up a lengthy story along with something short for the in-game part. We would then be inspired to come up with game mechanics around it.
For example, in WOM, the Urxen were described as “Like Trogs but less warlike but more productive”.
In FE, Dave wrote a story about the history of the Urxen and their lives under Lady Umber. This in turn allowed us to come up with some unique traits that simply didn’t exist in WOM like Wanderlust and Serpent’s pack. Wanderlust lets players have Exploration technology early and Serpent’s pack lets them recruit a special type of unit in game.
Goodbye…”Random” name generator
I am sure people will miss our random name generator. Instead, Dave Stern wrote up hundreds of different names that made sense based on which faction they were for and whether they were male or female.
The creatures of Elemental have also gotten their lore updated.
So for example, Rock Spiders are no longer described as “big tough spiders” but rather:
And of course NPCs now are individually described:
Now, is all this necessary?
We think so because each game plays out very differently and these familiar creatures and characters will provide a general continuity.
A big objective is for the world to seem alive and interesting worth exploring. Each tile should mean something. Every expansion to your empire a victory. Every character important and valuable.
Will it be worth it? That’s hard to say. We think it’s worth it. Our primary objective with Elemental has been to create a brand-new PC fantasy strategy franchise. We learned a lot with War of Magic and have applied those lessons to Fallen Enchantress. And one key lesson was imbuing the world with lore to bring the player to the world and make it theirs.