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Flailing Elephants

October 16th, 2007 by Troy Goodfellow · 5 Comments · Big Huge Games, Design, History, RTS

From Big Huge Games’ Andrew Auseon at the Asian Dynasties blog at IGN.

A good example of when the element of history bowed to the element of fun was the Flail Elephant. The Indian civilization can train a siege elephant that swings a weighted chain from the end of its trunk. The only accounts of this ever happening were with Sri Lankan elephants, and even then it was infrequent and not very effective. This begged the question: do we include units that don’t have mass of supporting research simply because they’re cool? Our answer was a resounding “yes.” We included the Flail Elephant because it was a wholly unique siege weapon, complementing the Indian civilization’s elephant-based military. Once a player has a chance to batter an opponent’s Town Center with this chain-flinging giant, he’ll realize that we made the right call.

The annoyingly common but incorrect use of “begging the question” aside, this sounds like a lot of fun. Sure, it falls into the Mayan Hornet Bomber category, and it turns its back on the strong historical grounding the core Age of Empires III game. But, you know. Elephants.

The campaigns will mark a return to the old fashioned Age of Empires campaign, where you have to help famous people do famous things. I wasn’t aware that the Indian Mutiny of 1857 was “still controversial”, but I suppose everything is somewhere. Having just finished Niall Ferguson’s Empire, I think this could be an interesting conflict to dramatize.

I have a lot of work to do before this comes out…


5 Comments so far ↓

  • Corvus

    The annoyingly common but incorrect use of “begging the question” aside, this sounds like a lot of fun.

    Purist! It’s really only an incorrect usage if you feel that language doesn’t evolve over time. *kniw*

  • Troy

    Hey, I’m perfectly fine with language evolving. But we all have those little language changes that annoy them. This is mine.

  • Corvus

    I hear ya. Anyway, flail bearing elephants sound like a blast. I wonder if their animations will live up to my imagination?

  • Natus

    “Strong historical grounding” in vanilla AoE3? Really? The one where you could have all sorts of critters running around assisting you? I’m just waiting for Ensemble to include the creeps from WC3!

    Modified kidding; compared to AD, vanilla AoE3 did have “strong historical grounding.” With the menagerie of pets, creatures, treasure guardians and armored armadillos in this recent expansion, it should be renamed: Age of Empires: the Traveling Circus.

  • Troy

    Yeah, I was referring to vanilla AoE3.

    Warchiefs added some magic type stuff in the shamans, but still had relatively historical unit types. There was a little more variety in Sioux horsemen than would probably be proper, but they didn’t take Tecumseh’s siege of Detroit and create a soldier that inspires terror in enemies or anything.

    I loved Warchiefs specifically because it lightened up a little on the history stuff. You had a bunch of dancing Indians summoning soldiers from who knows where, or you could call one of the super siege cards from the “home city”.