When LucasArts began to diversify again by publishing a slate of non-Star Wars titles, Gladius was at the top of the lineup. No expense was spared in the creation of books and materials to let people and the press know about the game during its creation.
Now that it has been released, the turn-based gladiator combat game has been winning both accolades and a huge base of players.
GiN challenged Robert Blackadder of LucasArts to field questions about how Gladius came into being, and of LucasArts' new diverse portfolio.
GiN: How did the idea for Gladius come about?
Blackadder: I wanted to do an original title after several years doing Star Wars. Turned based combat with squads of warriors was the initial thought, from there the concept of gladiators was just a good fit.
GiN: Tell us about the storyline for the game.
Blackadder: We have two storylines in our game, one for each main hero. For each story the world events are the same but take on a different slant depending on your hero choice. The high concept is a cyclical war between the powers of light and dark with man playing the role of pawn.
GiN: How do players create their fighters in the game?
Blackadder: Adding to your school of gladiators is done entirely through recruitment. You can hire them at the arenas scattered around the world or you might pick them up as the result of a quest. Once in your school you can outfit and train them as you like.
GiN: What different types of gladiators are available in Gladius?
Blackadder: The historical classes we used are: Secutor, Samnite, Legionnaire and Peltast. We made many variations of those base classes as well. All told with all the beast and sub-humans you can recruit close to 100 types of warriors.
GiN: What kinds of weapons and items are featured in the game?
Blackadder: We based our world on 3rd century earth, just about any weapon from that time you can think of is in our game. We also added a bunch of more fantasy style weapons to keep it interesting.
GiN: How is combat handled in the game?
Blackadder: Combat is turn-based with some arcade style elements thrown in to let the player effect the outcome of some attacks. We think we’ve pushed what it means to be turn-based to a new level.
GiN: How do the gladiators gain skills in Gladius?
Blackadder: Victory in battle! When you defeat opponents you’ll gain experience points which in turn increase your warriors level. At each level you will earn more Job Points to spend on skills. Each class has a suite of skills, the tough part is picking which ones to buy, you’ll never have enough Job Points to buy every skill with one character.
GiN: What can you tell us about the arenas in the game?
Blackadder: The arenas are the "civilized" centers for battle in our world. The sport originated in the central region of Imperia and has over the years spread to all the lands. There are 50 locations to explore about half are arenas. Arenas take on the flavor if the host region and range from the tiny and bloody "Pit" in Nordagh to the mammoth Caltha Arena in the center of Imperia.
GiN: Finally, is there anything else you wish to say about Gladius?
Blackadder: Gladius has been a huge undertaking for the team and our company. We’re really excited to let everyone see what we’ve created.