Interview with Cyanide - creators of Pro Rugby Manager 2004

By Matt Bailey

In Digital Jesters' upcoming Pro Rugby Manager 2004, players will be able to take the reins of their preferred team through European and World Championships. Over 15,000 real players are included within the game, and managers can buy and sell players, train their squads and develop match tactics - with matches portrayed in real-time through a detailed 3D engine. On and offline multiplayer features are included.

Our editor, Matt Bailey recently held an e-mail interview with the developers of the game, Cyanide.

Please explain the premise of Pro Rugby Manager 2004 in about 100 words

Pro Rugby Manager puts the gamer in the shoes of a manager of a rugby union team. The PRM player takes on the role of team manager throughout a whole season. Players must manage their roster, hire and fire new players and staff, find sponsors for the team, send scouts to find new talents and develop the team's infrastructures. During 3D matches, the player can affect the team tactics and give orders in real-time making the game a real-time strategy sports games. All the major competitions are playable: over 200 teams and 15000 players.

Considering the inclusion of 2004 in the title, does this imply we should be expecting yearly updates to the series?

We would definetely like to build a series for PRM. Given the scope of the game (management and 3D matches), there are some features that could not make it in this version. We'd like to be able to add them in the future.

How do the proposed weather effects impact on gameplay?

Typically, rain will make players slower and passes more difficult because the ball will slip easily. You will have more "forward passes" whistles as players will have more difficuly handling the ball. Snow will make changing directions more difficult. Cold weather will also make ball handling trickier and will often result in more injuries.

Was incorporating a 3D engine into the game difficult, especially as another famous management series has only recently started to include a 2D engine?

We had experience with the mix of 3D engine and management game so it was not that difficult as we didn't start from scratch. The main issue was in the volume of graphics needed. All the teams have home and away jerseys, there are 14 stadiums, there are plenty of animations and some renowned players have their real face modelled and recognizable in the game. This is generally not found in a management except EA's but they are re-using another game's engine.

Pro Rugby Manager 1 Pro Rugby Manager 2 Pro Rugby Manager 3

Considering this is a management title, how does the online and LAN play work?

Online play will focus on one day matches. Since there are many things to do during matches, it makes it a very interesting experience. Our gameserver will allow players to set up tournaments and championships but the game won't handle transfers by itself, it will have to be entered by players if they want to do so. Additionnally, players will be able to play games through a ranking system (ladder) similar to what can be seen for some RTS like Age of Mythology.

The icing on the cake will probably be a mode where one player is set up as a commissioner. Before each week of play, he sends a file to all players that have to play this week. Then the players play their game online (if it's against a human opponent) or on their PC (if it's against the CPU). After the game they need to send a new file to the commissioner who can then compute all results and move on to the next week. This feature won't be in the boxed version but in a free downloadable add-on that should be released quite soon after the release.

Has the English victory in the Rugby World Cup had an impact on the interest in your title?

Probably. At least, we know that it had an impact on the popularity of the sport in England so I'd guess that it also has an impact on the interest of our title :-)

Are there plans to bring Pro Rugby Manger 2004 to the consoles? And if so, will there be Xbox Live or PS2 Network Gaming support?

We'd love to. At the moment, we focus on the PC version but if the opportunity arises, we'd gladly make a console adaptation. Online play through Xbox live or PS2 network Gaming would definetely be included as online multiplayer is something we want in all our games.

Finally, are you working on any other titles at the moment?

Yes, we are working on a title called Chaos League which is a mix between RTS and sport. You manage a team of heroic fantasy creatures in a sport that resembles rugby and American Football except there are very few rules.

We'd like to thank Cyanide for their time in answering our questions. Pro Rugby Manager 2004 will be available on PC CD-ROM this March for �29.99.

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