Published on October 27th, 2017 | by admin

EarthWork Games Interview (Forts) with Nick Smith, PAX Aus 2017

As PAX arrives in Australia for another year (2017), we catch up with Nick Smith of EarthWork Games, a video games industry veteran of 15 years who started his career with The Creative Assembly in England and we’re here to talk about their new title, FORTS!

Tell us what your fondest gaming memory is?

My fondest gaming memory is a tough one. There have been a few, but if I was to narrow it down to three, I’d start with Sensible Soccer. As a kid, I wasted hours of my life playing against mates, when the weather was too bad to play real soccer. Played it on a mates old Amiga again about five years ago. Still has the magic. A few years later and my uni days coincided with Goldeneye on the N64. Latterly, we had a great Street Fighter IV scene when I was at Sega Studios Australia. So many rivalries!

What are you playing at the moment?

My current game of choice is World of Tanks. Their recent inclusion of single player missions brought me back to it after I’d previously dabbled with it a couple of years ago. While my coming from a military family explains my enthusiasm for tanks, the constant updates, details and upgrades of each vehicle, and the way they lure you in with bonus rewards really makes you feel like there’s always something to be working towards when going into each battle. It also has a lot to teach me about how to run a successful online multiplayer scene.

How did you get involved in gaming?

Having been a gamer since the days of the Commodore 64, Amiga, SNES and beyond, getting involved in gaming should have been an obvious career move, but back in the late 90s when I did my animation degree the industry was a lot smaller. Our end of year show just happened to get seen by EA UK and after being invited to interview for them I updated my folio to be less 2D animation and more game-centric, eventually landing me a job at The Creative Assembly, working on the Total War games.

What’s your favourite achievement so far?

While I’m honoured to have started my career making such classic games as the Total War series, and more recently creating character designs for the Hand of Fate games with Defiant Development, without doubt my favourite achievement has been making a successful indie game in Forts, with my two colleagues Tim and Jeff. It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s paid off handsomely.

Tell us about your new game Forts?

Forts is a game of construction and destruction, in which players must build bases in real-time, mastering the laws of physics, while developing their tech tree, and unlocking weapons to blast their enemy, while they are trying to do the same. It really caters to the two sides of human nature, the creative, and the destructive, both of which can be explored in the single player campaign, or in the online multiplayer sphere. On top of that, we have a map editor which allows players to make their own maps and scenarios and share them via the Steam workshop.

What sets Forts apart from its competitors?

Forts is an RTS unlike any other. It retains the usual features of resource collection, tech tree development and weapon unlocking,  and adds on top of that the complexity of constructing free standing structures which are able to withstand serious punishment. This building aspect allows for far more creative expression than your regular RTS games, since it is completely up to the player how they construct their base.

Lastly, what are you most looking forward to at PAX this year?

This year’s PAX Australia is the biggest event for us as developers, and cannot wait for it to start. This is for four reasons. Firstly, We are about to launch a free multiplayer update to the game that adds new weapons and tech buildings, which we think the community is really going to enjoy. Secondly, Forts has been selected to be one of the six games to be featured in the PAX Australia Indie Showcase, which is a real honour and puts the icing on the cake of a great year for us. On top of that, we will be part of  Pinny Arcade for the first time, meaning you can buy exclusive Forts pins at our booth and the Pinny Arcade booth. Personally, I can’t wait to get my hands on one. Lastly, Forts will be part of the PC Freeplay zone, so players who come by the booth and want to play more Forts can go to the Freeplay area and play the game to their heart’s content. You won’t be able to get away from Forts at PAX Australia, this year.

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