In the world of game-development, innovation in real-time strategy games has been stagnant. I’m the few titles still developed, the games usually try to replicate the success of before. The developers at Pineleaf Studios have set out to bring fresh ideas to the table in their new game DwarfHeim. EsportsHeaven got the opportunity to talk with Pineleaf’s chief operating officer Marianne Austvik about the developing title.
Let’s start off talking about your guys’ background. How did you studio come to be?
Our studio started way back when at an event for something called Norwegian Game Awards. A group of 8 developers got together to start making a tower defense/Dwarf sim. After tweaking the idea and changing some things we came up with a concept that ended up winning the Concept of the Year award, and so we decided to continue the development for real.
There’s an unfortunate perception that RTS games are a dying genre. What made you guys want to take the risk of developing an RTS?
We have always loved playing RTS-games, and it was our go-to-game when we grew up. Since we grew older our focus shifted towards online co-op games, and it seems it did the same on a global scale. So we decided to make an RTS that had real asymmetrical co-op, so that we could play our favorite genre with our friends!
It’s really exciting to see a studio attempting to push the envelope for RTS games, what makes DwarfHeim unique compared to other games in the genre?
DwarfHeim is unique because of its multiplayer setup with the Conquest game mode being a 3v3 mode where the players work in teams to achieve the same goal, but doing different tasks, AKA asymmetrical co-op. It’s something we were missing from a lot of our favorite RTS games.
There seems to be a potential renaissance of interest in RTS, with the popularity of StarCraft: Remastered and Age of Empires II: Definitive edition. What game would you say you’re most inspired from?
I'm sure our different game modes will make players reminisce about both WarCraft III, Dungeon Keeper II, Factorio, Age of Empires and probably others as well. The different classes in DwarfHeim have gathered inspiration from some of our favorite games.
The previously mentioned titles are rich in their lore and world building, as DwarfHeim continues development, will we see something similar?
DwarfHeim has a lot of deep lore and we cannot wait to get to show more of it to our players. We have plans for a campaign and more goodies!
DwarfHeim is a pretty interesting name, where does it come from?
The DwarfHeim name comes from the Dwarves in the game and the city where it is made; Trondheim. So it literally means "Home of the Dwarves"
The art style of the game is so unique! What inspired it?
The art style is inspired by some of our favorite games and some old Nordic culture and dwarves.
Coming from EsportsHeaven, we need to talk about esports! Obviously it’s difficult for an indie studio to fund such an endeavor, but depending on the game’s success, do you guys see yourself supporting a potential competitive scene?
We want to support the competitive scene and hope to facilitate any interest there might be in DwarHeim as an esport.
As a genre, a problem RTS games have had recently is accessibility. What’s your goal in terms of barrier of entry?
We are continuously working on making the game more accessible for people. We realize the magnitude of an RTS, and with the help of our truly wonderful community we are hoping to make it mare accessible with every hotfix and patch!
How would you like to build off this game? Will there be expansions in the future?
We have a lot of things we would like to do with DwarfHeim, and that includes DLCs, but first and foremost our focus right now is to make DwarfHeim as good as we can!
Any final messages you’d like to share?
We also have some awesome single-player features in the Survival mode, Skirmish-mode and Sandbox! We really appreciate all of the feedback that we get from our players, and our Discord-community is so awesome! I cannot tell you how much I recommend new players to check out our Discord community for other players or just hanging out!
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