GamesBeat: Do you think it’s more fun to have a focused game, a game that’s more limited in scope?
Nikolaev: Right. There are many factors, many reasons.
GamesBeat: The point of view of a submarine seems like a hard thing to figure out. If you give that player too much control and information, it’s less realistic, because in a way a submarine has very little information coming in.
Nikolaev: A submarine will primarily rely on spotting and visibility provided by their teammates. Their own visibility will be very limited, though, especially if they’re submerged. They can either rely on the team, or they have to surface.
GamesBeat: Did you feel like you had to widen the play area at all to allow for submarines to maneuver more?
Nikolaev: We don’t have plans to widen the area. Right now, on top tiers, the area is already wide enough. Many players already complain that they have to sail a long time to meet their opponents before they have any action. They want to get straight into the action as soon as possible. When we introduce submarines, they’ll probably spawn closer to the middle of the battlefield, rather than somewhere in the back row.
GamesBeat: They don’t move that fast, right?
Nikolaev: Yes. Historically, submarines, especially when submerged, were rather slow. Not super slow, but about the speed of a carrier. When surfaced a submarine will be pretty fast, though. It’ll be 20 to 25 knots when surfaced.
GamesBeat: You mentioned how much work goes into each ship earlier. Can you outline that again?
Nikolaev: The work actually starts when we do our historical research. We try to find references. In order to build the models accurately, we need to have blueprints and photos from the era. We need to have commentary. Once we establish some contact with the archives and they provide the materials we need, then the actual production starts.
The production takes about six months. The first four months of the timeline is building the model. Then, after the model is complete, all of the artwork, we need to work on balancing. Another two months go into balancing a ship to make sure it’s fun to play and it doesn’t break any gameplay balance.
GamesBeat: I thought it was interesting that you designed the inside of the ships as well. A lot of parts that players might never see.
Nikolaev: Sometimes we do that, yeah. Sometimes we even place easter eggs inside. Sometimes we actually use the inside of the ship, though, when it’s destroyed and breaks apart. Then we can show what’s inside, as it’s falling apart. We want to make that interesting.
GamesBeat: Does that hold you up sometimes, when you want to release things?
Nikolaev: On the one hand, it holds us up. But on the other hand, there aren’t too many historical ships for us to model. It’s better for us to make them beautiful and accurate, to do the best we can to perfect them in that aspect, instead of rushing into a faster cycle with lower quality. Then we’d run out of historical artifacts to model.
GamesBeat: Why did you pick the Nautilus for Halloween?
Nikolaev: We looked at what kind of fantasy settings would be potentially interesting for our audience, and we came up with a list of setting expansions, brand expansions. We looked at steampunk ships, sci-fi ships, or ships from anime series. Looking at the steampunk setting, we also decided to introduce some zombie ships, the forces of evil fighting against the forces of light. [laughs]
GamesBeat: If you can turn to fantasy ships, you’ll never run out.
Nikolaev: It’s an opportunity. But we don’t think it can take over the original setting, the historically accurate naval warfare. That’s our core player base, the naval history enthusiasts.
GamesBeat: As you take this big chance with carriers and submarines, you’ve said you’re offering players a chance at a rebate, a refund.
Nikolaev: Yeah, that’s the plan. We haven’t announced the specifics of the refunds yet, because we first want to concentrate on getting the job done. Once we do that, we’ll sit down and analyze the business case. Who’s affected? What’s a fair way to compensate them? Once we come up with a solution we’ll announce it.