There are few franchises as deeply etched into the gaming conscience as Dungeons & Dragons. Whether you’re a pen-and-paper purist or a console convert, D&D has distinguished itself as a best-selling roleplaying originator.
Console gamers have been itching for almost seven years for another excursion to the Forgotten Realms, and that drought is about to end with Dungeons & Dragons Daggerdale: a PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, or direct PC download. Daggerdale takes the best of questing, along with a healthy dose of hack-n-slash, and immerses you and up to three friends in local and online multi-player combat.
Faithful & Fun
Everything in the Bedlam-developed game stays true to D&D. Wizards of the Coast has worked closely with both the developer, Bedlam, and publisher, Atari, to ensure that all of the characters, special abilities and gameplay elements are authentic and faithful to the original world of Dungeons & Dragons.
With that in mind, we headed over to game publisher Atari, and sat down with Producer Michael Fahrny to chat a bit about one gamer-turn-producer's labor of love, and what we can all expect from the newest entry into the world of D&D.
Merrel Davis: Michael what exactly do you do, and what is your involvement with Dungeons & Dragons Daggerdale?
Michael Fahrny: My primary role here at Atari, as producer, is to oversee any development of 3rd party content. This is a big honor for me to be a part of the D&D family; I'm an RPGer in my pastime and my personal time. My primary goal, really, is to make sure the game is fun. I interface daily with the developer, Bedlam. I live and breathe the game with them—I work with Bedlam very closely, they've got very talented designers, and I usually let them run with it; then we'll talk it over and make sure that whatever we're going to do in the game makes sense from a Dungeons & Dragons perspective and a gameplay perspective. And we make a happy D&D lovechild. (laughs)
MD: Tell us a little bit about the style of gameplay we can expect from Daggerdale.
Daggerdale actually harkens back to the good old hack-n-slash days of Baldur's Gate, specifically with Dark Alliance I and II. You have a full single-player campaign if you want to play by yourself, but it's highly recommended that you play with at least one other friend. It really lends itself, both tactically and gameplay-wise, to playing with other people. You can have 2 players locally or 4 players online.
MD: Split screen or shared screen?
MF: It's all shared screen for local campaigns. We actually give you two in-game camera angles to switch back from.
MD: Is this game a finite journey?
MF: There is definitely a finite story to be had here. The way we approached it was to “think of it as a module you can play and finish in an afternoon.” If you really want to sit down and get everything, we're looking at about 6-10 hours of gameplay depending on your playing style.
MD: What about customization?
MF: There is customization, not hardcore. Your characters are pre-rolled, but you can customize powers, feats, weapons and armor, and loot, and all that good stuff that as you go through the game, you’ll want to equip or unequip, sell or not sell.
MD: Do you think somebody who’s not familiar with the D&D franchise would have a difficult time picking up Daggerdale?
MF: It's really easy for anyone out there to pick up and play; you can know very little about the core mechanics of the game and do just fine.
From the get-go we wanted to make something that people familiar with the pen-and-paper game can immediately go in and understand and recognize, but also something that is not so hardcore for people unfamiliar with the RPG. It's been a while since a game like this has arrived on console, and we wanted to make sure that we accomplished what we set out to do the first time around.
Enough talk! Michael fired up the Xbox 360 version of Daggerdale and showed us the ropes. It was easy for me to pick up and go, and the gameplay felt right at home with a near fully customizable button set-up. We played through an early mission, taking out multiple mine shafts while fending off an unending slew of goblins.
Take a peek:
Look for Dungeons & Dragons Daggerdale Spring 2011 for XBLA, PSN, and PC. Bring your friends along for the ride, and check out the D&D experience you've been waiting for!