Q&A: Sergey Gerasev, 1C Company
The process of graphically enhancing and expanding classic games used to be something to be fearful of, as developers and publishers would often tinker a little too much with the source material and almost ruin the regard players once had for the original game. Of course I can’t think of any good examples of such practises right now, but pretty much every attempt by Atari to breath new life into the ancient likes of Asteroids and Star Raiders has almost always ended up in disaster. Quite why this always happens to Atari I don’t know, but perhaps it’s the case that the longer you leave something buried, the harder it is to reanimate.
In the case of Space Rangers 2, the corpse – if you’ll forgive the grim analogy – is still rather fresh. It’s been just five years since the most recent addition was made to a series that hasn’t shown too many signs of necrosis. Nevertheless Space Rangers HD: A War Apart will offer not just a graphically-enriched take on the series so far, but add a bunch of new stuff that should add hours to the game and reason enough to plough through the old adventures once more. Space Rangers’ series producer Sergey Gerasev even hints that if A War Apart does as well as hoped, it could directly lead to 1C financing a brand new sequel.
PSF: Space Rangers 2 is a game that shouldn’t really have worked, yet it did – brilliantly. What was it about the game that made it so successful with players, do you think?
Sergey Gerasev: The major features of the game are a very balanced yet complicated world and the humor (in Russian version at least). Also the game has a great level of replayability – five different playable races, five specializations plus a newly generated universe each time player starts a game.
PSF: How successful has the game been for 1C?
Sergey Gerasev: The game was very popular with fans of sci-fi all over the world. Original Space Rangers 2 was most profitable Russian-made game for 1C in 2004.
PSF: Why did you decide to fund an HD version of Space Rangers 2 and not a full sequel?
Sergey Gerasev: The guys who made the original game were fully occupied with production of Kings Bounty series, then with their first MMORPG Royal Quest. But Space Rangers’ Universe is very fragile. So we decided to take a group of fans (few of them were a part of the team and worked on the previous game) and make the game playable on modern hardware. This is also kind of a test for the new team since they are also adding quite a lot of new content to the game, a new scenario – Pirates’ Onslaught.
PSF: Can you envisage the HD version leading to a possible Space Rangers 3? What would it take for you guys to consider funding a new game in the series?
Sergey Gerasev: If there’s a team that can create SR3, we will approve the funding gladly. We had it in mind when we approved the decision to make the current game.
PSF: Sounds promising. What sort of new content can we expect in A War Apart? More of the same?
Sergey Gerasev: As I have mentioned above A War Apart is a new side scenario. In addition to war with the Dominators one of the pirate clans starts its war against the Coalition. Players can now choose from additional options: become a bloody pirate without honor or try to work as an agent under cover. As for the main scenario we have new text quests, planetary battles, ships, devices, etc. Battles in the hyperspace (arcade battles) now have a special button in the main menu for gamers who want to play them apart outside the main game.
PSF: Why did you decide to expand piracy in the game? Was it something you felt was lacking from previous releases?
Sergey Gerasev: The entire history of mankind clearly states that in wartimes bad guys become a powerful force. It was easy to imagine their urge to bring anarchy to the world.
PSF: Fans seem keen to have as many new text quests as possible. Will you be providing them?
Sergey Gerasev: Apart from the newly made text quests we also have some quests, which were never translated for the original game. We will try to include them as well.
PSF: Poor translation and the RTS battles were both aspects that players recall as low points from SR2 and Reboot. How are you working to improve these aspects?
Sergey Gerasev: We are working with an American writer now. I hope the texts will be much more appropriate with his help. RTS battles are only optional. You can refuse to play them any time you are offered one.