Were there a lot of restrictions that came from working with the Lord of the Rings property?
Tomandl: Any time you're working with an existing IP, there are restrictions, because, you know, obviously the owners of that IP really want to make sure that it stays respected, and, you know, they're always concerned that what we do with it is what they want us to do with their IP. But I think that our goals have been similar. I mean, you know, we are huge fans. We definitely respect the lore. And we want to make sure that, you know, the game really feels authentic. And that's what the license holders want as well. So I think that it's actually been beneficial to us to have them there kind of pointing out things that they don't feel are authentic, because it, you know, just helps us make it more authentic, which is what we want to do.
You've mentioned before that the classes will be complimentary to one another, and players will really need to work together to succeed. How will the game facilitate that? Will it be easy to form and maintain parties?
Tomandl: Yeah, we have a system that uses the first-party invite system on both Xbox and PSN so that you can create a party in the game up to five—really up to ten, if you want to create a custom game with all of your friends—but normally up to five…and yeah, you can play a string of games as long as you want with those groups of people. Or a smaller party if you want. And then the party goes into matchmaking like a single player would.
What about clan support or anything like that?
Tomandl: We're not announcing any clan support right now.
It sounds like a lot of time has been spent ensuring that all the classes, abilities and items are extremely well-balanced. Within that ecosystem, would it be possible to add DLC in the future?
Tomandl: It's certainly possible to do. Yeah. And the other thing we have is—so not only could we add characters, we could also balance the game on the fly. So we've got a system where we can balance any existing stats within the game, so if it turns out that, you know, Galadriel's completely overpowered because her health is too high, we could adjust that after the game ships kind of in reaction to the data that we collect on the back end or you know, players are just in an uproar over how awful Galadriel is.
Compton: Yeah. I mean, from the design angle we have so many knobs that obviously can be turned. We're tracking every single knob on every single Guardian extensively…the designers go through giant passes even three times a week with our QA [Quality Assurance] balance team to really, like, pull in everything to make sure everything is really tuned nice and solidly. That's been an ongoing process for over a year.
Tomandl: Yeah, and anything that we would release as DLC would go through that same process to make sure it's balanced against anything that's already out, and, you know, each other, and that we could also tune those guys after they shipped as well.