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Big Huge Games MS Game Studios devbox

Interview with Rodney Summo
Assistant Producer for Rise of Legends

By Big Huge Games
Jan 27, 2006

Q. How did you come to work for Big Huge Games?
[RS]: A friend of mine had spent a lot of time and effort trying to get himself an internship at BHG a few years ago. His persistence paid off, and he was finally taken on as BHG's first intern. He always talked about how cool and laid back the office was, and when another intern spot opened up, I put in my application and was deemed worthy. I actually only lasted a few months as a tester. I was working multiple jobs at the time, and the job that was truly paying my rent began to become more demanding, so I had to leave the testing gig behind. A few years later, the same friend let me know that a production internship was opening up, and that it would be more in line with my actual skill set. Again I applied, and again I was deemed worthy. I've been here ever since.

Q. Which is your favorite race to play in RoL, and why?
[RS]: I am a hardcore Vinci Fan. I think they are the most adaptable to any play style. With the Vinci it's easy to switch gears (no pun intended) to accomodate what your opponent is throwing at you. They are a versatile race, and they have an incredibly cool set of end-game options.

Q. Why do you feel Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends stands out from other RTSs out there today?
[RS]: Tight Rise of Nations style gameplay mixed with original and incredibly cool looking visuals. The environments in the game are really cool, especially the sequoia-like jungle forests. The maps are way cooler than most other RTS games I've played, they really feel like their own little section of a much larger and fascinating world.

Q. What has been your favorite part of building Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends?
[RS]: This is the first game I've worked on, and my favorite part has been the entirety of watching the idea turn into reality. I love the debates that take place within the creative process, hearing the ideas getting tossed around, shot down, talked up, etc. We've tried out a lot of things that I thought were incredible, but for some reason or another they just don't fit right and therefore they had to be cut. If time allows, I'd love to put together a DVD-like "deleted scenes" compilation to show everyone the kind of things I'm talking about.

Q. What new feature do you feel affects gameplay the most?
[RS]: I'm getting a lot of mileage out of the Dominances and the National Spell. If you use the dominances correctly, you can end up winning battles that you probably wouldn't otherwise. They are also great for generally throwing monkey-wrenches into your opponent's plans. My favorite tactic is this - get a telescope up early and find your opponents mine. Summon in some allies to start raiding off their miners. When they send in some foot soldiers to take out your pesky raiders, use the Army Dominance and create an even bigger problem for your opponent.

Q. Who is your favorite hero, and how come?
[RS]: Giacomo is my go-to hero. I like using him early on to take on Neutrals. Whatever small army I can amass in the first minute of the game is very precious for being able to quickly expand my territory, and being able to heal my guys up with Giacomo's Augmentation spell allows me to keep my army alive as I march them across the map. His Sonic boom spell is also very useful for buying your army the few seconds it needs to draw first blood and turn the battle in your favor.

Q. Are there any plans for an expansion pack?
[RS]: But of course, though I'm going to leave the revealing of any details up to the Marketing guys.

Copyright 2001 - 2006 Big Huge Games, Inc. All rights reserved
Interview is reproduced by permission from BHG's Clockwork Times Issue #1.