We’re back with our second day of exclusive Watchmen preview coverage. If you haven’t had a chance to check out Part I of the exclusive Watchmen interview with Lead Designer Seth Johnson, I recommend either building a time machine and going back a day, or checking out the link on the heroclix homepage. Without further ado, let’s get back to our sneak peek questions with Seth.
Each set presents new R&D challenges, which figure was the most difficult to design?
I don’t think it will surprise anyone when I say Dr. Manhattan. He’s not the first godlike being to walk (or teleport) onto the HeroClix battlefield, but he’s certainly a particularly unique power level within the set. Like most characters with that much power, he had to be tempered just a bit to bring him into the balanced environment of a game–but hopefully he still feels like the awesome being he should be. He’s definitely not a character that can be bested one-on-one by anyone in the set (well, maybe another Dr. Manhattan!), so heroes and villains alike going to have to pile on and hope for the best if they want to defeat him.
Fans love interaction between characters in a release. Can you give the fans some insight on how some of the pieces in the set work together?
I already mentioned how one of my goals for the set was to help make low-level villains more formidable. The new Underworld team ability lets the mooks move across the board as a swarm. Then, I made use of the minion abilities to give them some extra benefits for moving and staying together. When the Knot Tops stick together as a gang, they’re going to be more likely to hit their target for some serious damage (which only makes sense, given their attack on Hollis Mason). Lawrence and Michael will follow around any Underworld crime boss and not only push away using Willpower but do more damage to boot.
Meanwhile, the set includes a couple formidable bosses to urge them into the fight. Moloch does a pretty cool riff on Leadership, granting not just extra actions to his minions but also Willpower. Big Figure (even more aptly named than ever) will need to have minions to protect him in battle but has an array of special powers that make it worth the trouble–I think my favorite is the special power that triggers a free attack from one of his allies whenever one of his allies is defeated. Can you say revenge, served fast?
As the Watchmen storyline spans generations, some figures in the set have notable differences between versions of the characters. How did you incorporate evolution of characters and character selection in this release from an R&D perspective?
One of the great things about the Watchmen story is how its story stretches across decades to lay out not just one adventure but the entire lives of the main characters. Better yet, the characters change dramatically over the course of their careers, not in terms of their powers or abilities but their personalities.
It was fun to include a couple different versions of characters in the set in an attempt to really highlight that evolution. So we include not just the cynical and violent Comedian of the 1980s, but also the younger Comedian from his Minuteman days, full o’ bombast and flying fists. It also includes a couple different versions of Dr. Manhattan, with dials that reflect his changing attitudes toward the human race.
We also put a few duo figures in the set, not just because the sculpts look great but because it was fun to delve into the pairings from an R&D perspective. Was their relationship the only reason Dr. Manhattan and the Silk Spectre adventured together for so long, or do their abilities complement one another in battle? The Comedian and Nite Owl don’t have much in common–but what happened when they were forced out alongside one another on the night of the Keene riots in New York? I think the resulting combined duo dials provide an interesting alternative to the dials provided for the characters individually. I also took the opportunity to play with the Duo Attack ability and create some cool variants on the standard ability that I think will make the duos some really cool characters to run out on to the battlefield.
Thanks to Seth Johnson for his time with this interview! Check back often for more exciting June previews!