DRAKAN ORDER OF THE FLAME article by Al Giovetti


By Al Giovetti
Lead Artist:
Website: www.psygnosis.com/drakan



Company Line


Heralded by the media as one of the most innovative and stunning action adventure titles on the post holiday sales horizon, Psygnosis’ PC CD-ROM title, DRAKAN Order of the Flame™, continues its solid march toward the industry’s hall of fame while grabbing a sure slot as the hottest new PC game for the new year. Slated for release in late January 1999, DRAKAN Order of the Flame was first sighted at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in May. Since then, the media has continuously praised the title as a showcase for good game design that maximizes the power of today’s PCs. The game’s unique engine allows seamless exploration of 3D indoor and outdoor environments, an unusual combination of air and ground combat and unmatched graphical beauty.

At the recent ECTS show in London Next Generation Online called DRAKAN "to die for… the backgrounds and character animations are excellent, both clearly defined and imaginatively drawn." Ziff-Davis’ GameSpot also pointed out the game’s popularity at ECTS; "Drakan’s variety of gameplay and fantasy storyline mark it as one of the most original and exciting third-person action games currently in development."

Developed for Psygnosis by Surreal Software (Seattle, Washington), DRAKAN takes PC gaming technology to new heights, letting players freely explore vast, unrestricted worlds and enjoy exciting, continuous action without the inconvenience of constantly loading levels. In the adventure there are four huge worlds to investigate; Mountain, Tropical, Volcanic and a still secret world, each featuring hours of gameplay. Rynn (the athletic heroine) and Arokh (her dragon partner) are inadvertently drawn together to team up and eliminate an evil sorcerer, named Narvros, who is attempting to re-enter and terrorize their world. Together the two face dozens of monstrous characters and solve puzzles in RPG style while venturing to save their world from the plunder of this evil being. There’s plenty of heroic action in the skies, on land and underground for an unmatched gaming experience.

"Action and adventure game enthusiasts can now fulfill their dreams of jumping on a powerful, fire-breathing flying beast and picking battles with grotesque creatures while fulfilling quests," comments Beth Doherty, vice president of sales for Psygnosis. "DRAKAN Order of the Flame’s powerful new technology brings life to the often static gaming environment and offers an engrossing approach to playing games. Retailers are already very pumped up about the game."

More on Technology
The primary human character and heroine in DRAKAN is Rynn, an acrobatic wonder who, with her approximately 150 individual animations, can do multiple combination moves – such as running and attacking simultaneously or jumping and turning while slashing at enemies. She also swims, climbs ladders and slides down treacherous hills. Rynn’s skin is smooth and her joints are connected, far from the choppy polygonal skins that most game characters must wear. Surreal Software’s "single-skin technology" uses a skeletal animation system to create the fluid look. This technology is also passed on to the many monster characters in the game.

The DRAKAN game engine is unique to Surreal Software. The engine renders tight indoor and outdoor environments using layers to help make objects look very smooth and "organic" and allowing uninterrupted flow in the action. Layers are then combined to create the fully detailed environments while objects are morphed and shaped for a one of-a-kind look. Because the engine allows such organic landscapes, it’s possible to have up to 100,000 polygons rendered at 30 frames per second. Real-time object lighting overlays the skeletal and layer technologies, graphically embellishing DRAKAN far beyond the established standards of 3D PC gaming. Psygnosis’ DRAKAN Order of the Flame Heralded as Hottest PC Title of 1999

Wartoks and Giants and Goblins – A.I.
From ice dragons dueling it out in mid-air with Arokh, to the lumbering Wartoks that can turn on each other if provoked, there is certainly no lack of aerial action and ground combat to keep the player busy. Line of sight enemy A.I. makes the gameplay even more interesting. Rynn can hide behind trees, cavern rocks or buildings for a stealth approach to her attacks. While engaging in fierce hand-to-hand combat, Rynn uses her arsenal of over 50 different weapons including swords, spears, crossbows and maces. Rynn also uses a variety of spells to defend against Narvros’ potent magic. Other characters such as the Scavengers munch on left-behind body parts while blocking your path, while huge Giants may pick up unsuspecting Goblins and hurl them at you as a method of defense. Fierce fire-wielding Warriors can suddenly disappear as you attack leaving you vulnerable to their discretionary battle tactics. Whatever the enemy, you can be sure they are watching you from head to toe, literally following your every movement as long as they can see or hear you. Lastly, DRAKAN Order of the Flame features a very intuitive interface and control layout that makes the game extremely easy to pick up and play. A flying barrel roll or two atop Arokh may even relax the player before going into full-fledged combat.

Tech Specs and Multiplayer
In addition to the single player mode, DRAKAN offers multi-player support for up to eight players via LAN and internet and two players modem-to-modem. Minimum hardware requirements are a P166, 32 Mb RAM with a 3D accelerator card. Recommended specs are a P233, 32 Mb RAM and a second generation 3D accelerator card (i.e. Voodoo 2). Details on DRAKAN Order of the Flame can be seen at http://www.psygnosis.com/drakan/.

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Psygnosis Press Release
Drakan Order of the Flame Interview with Alan Patmore Drakan Order of the Flame Interview with Stuart Denman

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