Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader - All News
Thursday - January 19, 2017
Lionheart - Ion Hardie Interview @RPGCodex
Ion Hardie, lead designer of Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader, was interviewed by the RPGCodex recently and had some interesting things to say.
Fairfax: Yes, most reviews focus on how the game got worse after Barcelona, and I agree, but the game deserved more credit.
Ion: We should have just made the game shorter, cut out England entirely and focused on the ending scene. We tried to do too much in the time we had. Black Isle was going under and was late with just about every milestone payment...we had to hire people that we didn't have their first paycheck for, which is always fun.
Fairfax: Did you get the milestone payments later?
Ion: We had to withhold the game eventually...at the end, they asked us to trust that they would pay us, but we had too many bad experiences for that. We did get the money, but only because we played hard ball...and Feargus was on our side.
In hindsight, it's one of the better stories of the development of the game, though we didn't think so at the time.
Fairfax: I'd like to ask about the creative aspects of the game.
Two users (RK-47 and Apan) asked something I've always wondered as well: why the decison to go with an Action RPG real-time combat system?
On one hand, with the SPECIAL system and the "Fantasy Fallout" codename, one might've expected turn-based combat. On the other hand, the vast majority of Black Isle games used real-time with pause. Unlike the other Black Isle games, in Lionheart the player cannot issue combat commands while the game is paused, which brings it closer to Diablo and similar games.
Ion: We had just launched Star Trek Away Team, and Black Isle wanted to create something that was an action take, and they thought we could do it, based on our Star Trek game. As we went along, sadly, we actually thought that issuing commands while paused would have been better (much better). However, our programmers had told me we couldn't go back and just "add that" without completely missing our development schedule.
Fairfax: Interesting, I don't think that was public knowledge.
MotherMachinae had another question about the combat system:
"If they went with real time then why they choose so high speed? You had to be under influence of some drugs that make slo-mo effect or something. Even with patch that slide speed it was still unbearable."
Ion: Honestly, I don't remember why we went with the exact speed that we did. The development schedule that we agreed to didn't leave us much time for experimentation, and we really needed it. When you are creating something brand new like that (and not just copying something else verbatim that works) there needs to be time to see what feels good and what doesn't, and then adjust. We really had to just start running pretty quickly.
I do want to be clear that we were still responsible for making a better game than we did. There were plenty of reasons you could point to that provided less than ideal conditions, but that's life. Overcoming obstacles is what it is all about...and if we were so dedicated to quality, we could have chosen another path. It was just tough when that path was probably going to lead us through some even rougher financial hardships.
It's only now, with so much more experience behind me, that I see the probable failure that awaited us. At the time, there was still hope that we would tie it together, somehow, into something fun.
Monday - April 12, 2010
Lionheart - Retro Review @ Netbook Gamer
Remember Lionheart? It often gets pointed out as one of the most disappointing RPGs ever but, nevertheless, Michael J. Anderson takes another look at The Netbook Gamer. Here's a snip:
Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader is an awesome 20 hours of gaming … but unfortunately the game takes more than 40 hours to complete.
In fact, many would suggest you look at Lionheart as two separate games – before and after Barcelona. What happens is that the flow of quests and combat and interesting characters and chatter suddenly changes to almost entirely combat, with a few plot specific quests and characters popping up in each major area. In general, what was once a classic story-driven RPG becomes a combat-centric hack-n-slash game, and what were detailed areas dripping with personality become generic dungeon crawl areas, with some seeming copy-and-pasted to extend the game.
Monday - January 12, 2009
Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader - Review @ Gamebanshee
Gamebanshee posts a retrospective review of the 2003 alternate history RPG from Black Isle and Reflexive Entertainment, Lionheart:Legacy of the Crusader, scoring it 7.4/10:
Despite the limitless nature of imagination, many RPGs are based on a cliché high fantasy setting, usually based on medieval Europe. Of those that aren't, most still find their inspiration in an equally familiar science fiction environment. Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader, released back in 2003 by Interplay, is one of the few titles that try something different - it is based on an alternate history version of Renaissance Europe...
...Played from an isometric perspective, gameplay is perhaps most reminiscent of Diablo. Yes, unfortunately, Lionheart is at its core a hack and slash game. While Barcelona is filled with interesting quests, and important choices are ruthlessly thrown on you (something lacking in many RPGs), most other areas have nothing but enemies. The wilderness around Barcelona maintains some semblance of design, but as soon as you pass the first town in France, it's predominately monsters.
Lionheart is a flawed game, for the most part. It is unsure of its focus, and because of that it fails both as a hack and slash title, and a more traditional RPG. However, the unique setting and compelling design of Barcelona make at least the first several hours worthy of play.