Loki - Interview @ GameSpot
Cyanide's Thomas Veauclin has been interviewed at GameSpot about Loki in a conversation that again stresses the hack'n'slash over story or other elements, which I guess is refreshingly realistic:
GS: We understand that Loki is being billed as an "open-ended role-playing game." Most action RPGs are very linear in nature, so what does the open-ended gameplay let players do? How does this translate into a better gameplay experience?
TV: We would not compare Loki to a classic role-playing game. The game is pure hack-and-slash.
Loki is a mixture of linear and nonlinear. The "linear" comes from the fact that there is a framework to each chapter with quests that have to be completed. It's "nonlinear" because the four chapters (mythologies) can be played in any order. Once the player gets through the opening chapter (the mythology of the chosen hero) he ends up at a place called the Thresholds of Time. From there he can go in and out of any mythology. That means he could do a few Aztec levels, then return to the Thresholds of Time and pass into the Norse world. There are no constraints, save that all levels must be completed before the final outcome can be played out. And even at the end there are several possible outcomes.
SP/MP: Single + MP