Earlier in the week I managed to track down the latest winner of the coveted Spiel des Jahres award, Vlaada Chvátil from Czech Games Edition. You might remember him as the prolific designer of board games such as Through the Ages and Galaxy Trucker. You might also remember that Through the Ages has been in the works at CGE for some time with an expected 2016 release. As 2016 nears its end, where do digital versions of TtA and other CGE games (such as the much awaited Codenames port) stand? Lucky for us, Vlaada was happy to fill us in on the details.
Stately Play: Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, Through the Ages. Where is it in development and will we see it before 2017?
Vlaada Chvátil: Through the Ages is currently undergoing internal testing of multiplayer (I have several games with my colleagues in progress right now). The game itself plays pretty well already, and once we improve the multiplayer experience (smoother switching between games in progress, in-game chat and few other things), we will run a limited beta test with external testers.
According to how the beta test goes, we will publish the game, but I suppose it will be very beginning of 2017. Meanwhile, we are improving interface, tutorial and other parts of the app. Personally, I am now working on interesting challenge scenarios, so there will be lots to play even if you prefer single player.
SP: The other major release you’re working on is Codenames. Is that on the back burner until TtA comes out, or is work still being done?
Vlaada: Still working! Codenames is in similar state to TtA, actually. Multiplayer is very playable but we are still working on its improvements, good matchmaking system, system of rankings, game rewards, etc. It is not difficult to implement a friendly game with people you know but to play with random people online, much more work has to be done. For example, in Codenames you cannot just replace a player that quits with artificial intelligence like we do in other games.
Also, even in Codenames, we want to have something that resembles a single-player experience. We are already testing it and it works pretty well. We’re expecting the English version to be launched early in 2017, along with TtA.
SP: Your digital team is fairly small, so how are things going working on two projects at once?
Vlaada: We are finishing both apps at the same time for a reason. We are expanding our multi-platform solution so all games should share the same account which should allow friend lists, invitations to games, messaging, etc. across apps. These features should be available not only in both new apps, but also in Galaxy Trucker.
Early 2017 isn’t too far away, and we’ll let you know if and when we have access to that beta and whatever info we can pass along.