While Volition's Summoner made its debut last year alongside the release of Sony's PlayStation2 console, the Macintosh and PC versions of the game are just now nearing the end of their development. As the title's completion draws nearer, further details have been announced regarding what computer gamers can expect to find in the way of changes from the console version.
One such advancement is in the rendering power behind the game's graphics. The PlayStation2 version of Summoner uses the system's high-resolution mode, running at a 640x480 pixel resolution. However, the Mac and PC games will support much more detailed graphics, allowing for up to 1024x768. Users with powerful 3D cards will be able to make the most of the game's visuals, running at these increased resolutions. Another change comes in the game interface itself. Since the PlayStation2 controllers operate very differently than a computer's mouse and keyboard, the structure of the control needed to be adjusted. Players will now be able to use the mouse as a pointing device within the game, providing support for a drag-and-drop weapon and armor interface. This should make equipment management simple and quick.
Definitely the most notable addition to the game from its console version is the addition of multiplayer functionality. This highly anticipated feature will greatly expand the title's replayability, and allow for a whole new depth of gameplay. The multiplayer details are still being worked out, such as deciding which characters will be available for use in a multiplayer game. While the developers want to allow players the option of taking duplicate characters along in their multiplayer parties, they have to deal with the fact that this might create complications. Summoner was designed to minimize loading times by having specific animation data loaded at certain times. However, if a multiplayer party consisted of four Josephs (the main character), many different animations would likely be needed all at once. These matters are currently being attended to, as well as the rescripting of the game's levels to accommodate the multiplayer aspect of the game. The developers aim is to use the multiplayer feature to keep Summoner interesting and provide players with a reason to keep coming back to it.
A number of other small changes have been made for the upcoming Macintosh and PC versions of Summoner, including the ability to now place markers on the game map for identifying shops and exits, and other important locations. One of the major complaints about the Playstation2 version was the uselessness of this automap feature, and work has been done to make sure computer players are able to make use of this improved system. GraphSim, the company working on the Macintosh port of Summoner, has stated that the game is very close to completion, and that fans should expect the game to be available by the end of March. RPGamer will keep you updated as work on this game comes to a finish.