Brief interview with Mark H. Walker

As most of us know, Mark Walker is the lead designer of all Lock 'n Load board games. He also directed the development of Heroes of Stalingrad, the first video game based on Lock 'n Load tactical system (see our French review on wargamer.fr). Here are some of his words about this recent experience.


Why did you choose Band of Heroes / Not One Step Back instead of another LnL series for your first video game?

Mark H. Walker: Band of Heroes has been a very popular LnL game for us. And for whatever reason, gamers always seem to be excited about the Eastern Front of the Second World War. So Heroes of Stalingrad seemed to be a good choice.

When did you start and how did the development evolve over the years? Why did the video game take so long to develop?

MHW: We started about seven years ago. We changed the interface and some of the options, but the game remained true to the board game throughout. It took a long time because computer games are very difficult endeavors. That, in addition to continually answering questions about how long the game was taking, slowed us down.

Can you describe in details the two campaings' trees?

MHW: Sorry, but no. The branches are something that the gamer will need to see for himself. I will say that each campaign branches into… ah, less than historical direction.

Is the actual UI set in the stone or will it be improved over the coming years? What part of the UI will you modify first?

MHW: Nothing this side of a gravestone is set in stone. We have not even decided if there will be a sequel. That’s totally dependant on sales, so it might be a bit premature to discuss UI changes at this time. That said, I’m sure we could improve many things with the game.

What are the main differences between the video and board games?
MHW: There are only a handful; the PC game includes flanking fire, doesn’t allow the placement of snipers during play, and doesn’t include second level buildings.

Which video game rules are still under discussion and could be changed?
MHW: I might add smoke canisters to the game.

Could those changes, in return, have an impact on the board game? Which one?
MHW: Yes, it could. I might add smoke canisters to all future LNL titles.

What will the next step be: An expansion? A new video game based on Band of Heroes? A new video game based on another LnL series?
MHW: The next step will depend on our customers. If sales warrant it, yes there will be another game. It will be a complete module, and will more than likely focus on the war in the Pacific.
I guess when you say LnL series you mean LNLP series? LnL is its own series. Yes, we might soon have an announcement regarding another LNLP game series going digital.

Do you plan to translate LnL:HoS into other languages?
MHW: That really isn’t a question I can answer, but I think it would be a great idea. Whether the game warrants a translation will be determined by Matrix.
Thanks!

Interview by Michel Ouimet

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