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PAX East 2012: Orcs Must Die! 2 preview and interview
by Andrew Whipple III

Robot Entertainment's Orcs Must Die! was one of my favorite titles last year.

While it developed the intricacy of tower defense into a third-person action game, the humor, variety and pure fun it featured constantly had me coming back for more. Its only drawback was the lack of multiplayer and to my surprise, Robot actually designed Orcs Must Die! 2 around a co-operative experience. My jam-packed schedule now seems to be a bit more, ahem, clear.

Jerome Jones, lead designer interview

If you've never played the original game, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. Netting the number eight spot in my best games of 2011 list, there's a reason why I praise that game so much. Ostensibly, OMD!2 appears to contain everything that made the first one a success. The klutzy war mage still spouts hilarious one-liners and the empty-headed orcs still are relentless as ever. Just add new maps, weapons, traps and a true co-operative mode and maybe you can see why I'm so excited for it.

It's unclear as to why the antagonist from the first game is helping you all of a sudden, but Robot wasn't talking too much about the story. All we know is that OMD!2 takes place mere days after the first game ends and after closing the portals to stifle the horde, the sorceress has to help the war mage engage the new threat.

Expect lots of angry new creatures. Very angry.

Speaking with the lead designer on the project, Jerome Jones, OMD!2 will, in fact, bring back every single trap and weapon from the first game. Jones said it was important that Robot cater to the people who are set in their ways but also provide new content to keep things fresh. One of the newer items are called trinkets. They're extremely limited in quantity, but when you use one it's usually a global ability that has a powerful effect. Unfortunately we have no idea how many new traps, weapons and trinkets will make it into the final game, but from what we saw there's some pretty awesome new surprises waiting to be discovered. Of course, the best new feature is co-op play.

Being largely a co-op player, I was curious as to how the system would work in the game. According to Jones, players of any kind can jump into each other's game with restriction. For instance, say you're on level eight and your buddy just started the game on level one. The dude on level eight can join the new player and help him through the stages, or vice versa. If a new player jumps into, say, level 26 they won't unlock every stage leading up to that point either. Jones stressed that they wanted to allow people to help one another without any kind of hindrance. The re-designed skull system will also help with this mentality.

Co-operative Orc killing is the best kind of killing.

In the original OMD!, skulls were the game's currency and were used to upgrade traps. Each stage contained a certain number of skulls that could be obtained and once you grabbed them that was it. The only reason to ever replay a level was to increase your leaderboard score. OMD!2 completely changes this system and rewards you with skulls based on what you do in each stage. That means replaying levels will always net you some type of skull count.

OMD!2 is slated to release this summer for around $15 on Steam. From what we've seen, Robot's done a hell of a job crafting this sequel and we're excited for it. If your hunger for tower defense-esque third-person action is running rampant, I can comfortably say that this will be undoubtedly the best Orc murder simulator around.

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- Andrew Whipple III

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