Interview: Deyan Trichkov discusses March of Empires' new faction, the Shogun

Interview: Deyan Trichkov discusses March of Empires' new faction, the Shogun

March of Empires' most recent update introduced a new faction to the strategy game for the first time in seven years. Players can now choose to play as the Shogun and there's also plenty of new content that draws inspiration from the history of medieval Japan.

We recently had a chance to chat with Deyan Trichkov, March of Empires’ Game Manager, about the update. Together we discussed the introduction of a new faction after seven years, why the team chose the Shogun and how involved the new community is when it comes to making chances in March of Empires.

Could you introduce yourself and your role on March of Empires to our readers, please?

A: Hey there, my name is Deyan Trichkov, March of Empires’ Game Manager. If you are wondering what this position includes, basically, I’m coordinating all the departments and am in charge of the final product.

If I'm correct, the Shogun is the first new faction to be added to the game in seven years. Why did you decide now was the perfect time to introduce a new one?

For a long time we’ve kept our three existing factions as three main pillars of our game setup. We’ve now decided it was time to enrich the variety and we’ve started with the Shoguns. After all, every game has its life cycle which means that at certain periods we should update the game in order to maintain interest in it. We invested a lot of effort to create a new and even more immersive in-game environment for our players to dive in. Of course, it has all the necessary features to keep the MMORTS fans engaged.

Following on from that, why did you specifically pick the Shogun?

We’ve narrowed down the choice to three main contenders for a new faction and the Shoguns were the community’s pick! Besides that, we already had factions in the North, West, and South (the Tzars, the Kings, and the Sultans), so it was high time we looked to the East and deep-dive into the ancient Asian traditions.

Can you tell us where the Shogun will excel in battle and where their weaknesses may lie?

If I keep it short – “Fierce, self-disciplined warriors, who see no fear in battle” is the faction’s description in-game. But if I may get into more detail, the faction itself provides players with Range units attack bonus and Morale gain. And last but not least – I can’t miss mentioning the unique look of the Shogun fortress on the worldmap.

Can you give us more detail about the Shogun units players can deploy onto the battlefield?

The two specific units from the faction are the Ninja and the Daimyo. The Ninj? can throw a shuriken at an enemy target around (the one with the lowest health) while Daimyo heals the squad of friendly units with the lowest health.

Alongside the new faction, the update also brings other new content. What else can players expect to find when they next play March of Empires?

You know we recently joined a completely new update with different pets, right? So, as part of the latest update, we are introducing a new pet as well as a football event to accompany the ongoing World Cup. This means that, without a doubt, the Shogun faction will root for Japan on the current Mondial.

A lot of developers I speak to emphasize the importance of player feedback. Was the player base consulted on the Shogun before they were added to the game? If so, how did their input impact development?

We’ve asked our community and the dominant response was for the Shoguns, but there was also plenty of desire for that direction within the team too! The truth is the rich history of Japan’s medieval rulers is really something and we couldn’t help but explore this vast territory. What’s more – there’s something mysterious about Japan’s history that can be useful not only for the game itself but also for its advertising assets.

How long has the new faction been in development? Was there a set deadline, or was it a case of 'it's ready when it's ready?

We were aiming to be ready before the end of the year! Yes, we pushed back the deadline a couple of times. Yes, we were working overnights in order to have the perfect result. And, yes, we are satisfied with the characters, the designs, and the whole update in general. So yes … it was worth it!

Were there any particular challenges you faced when introducing a fourth faction to the game?

Different types of difficulties because of the specifics of the buildings and the culture in the period our game is set to. We’ve aimed at representing a Japanese fortress in the most accurate way and there was a lot of back and forth with artists and designers.

Are there any plans to introduce a fifth faction? Or is that not currently on your roadmap?

It’s a secret but let’s say that we are strictly following the feedback and the suggestions coming from players.

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Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen brings both a love of games and a very formal-sounding journalism qualification to the Pocket Gamer team.