MMM - The Once And Future War Mage
In case you've been ignoring all of the activity around our social feeds and forums for the last week, we recently showed off Orcs Must Die! 2 at PAX East in Boston, Massachusetts. It was brilliant to finally be able to put the game in front of new and old OMD fans alike. For those classic players who came to the booth, though, there were a few questions that stood out. Before we get to those, it's worth noting that this article has plenty of spoilers in it from the second half of the original Orcs Must Die! game. If you haven't beaten the game yet and you care about things like spoilers, we strongly reccommend that you stop reading now, fire up Steam, and get going on some heavy-duty orc-slaying. We'll be here when you get back.
Now that it's just the real War Mages left, let's talk about the big story questions that came out of our sequel reveal. You'll recall that in the original game, the last War Mage was inadvertently tasked wtih defending a series of rifts that allowed magic to flow from a dark, magic-rich realm into his own world - a place significantly more peaceful and monster-free. By the end of the game, the last War Mage and the villainous Sorceress were the only people left alive who were able to fully tap into the magical resources of the rifts. The War Mage, in his infinite wisdom, decided that the only way he could truly protect his world was to close all of the rifts. He would be cutting off his world from any source of magic, but he'd also be protecting them from death - or worse - at the hands of a mob of hungry orcs. In all fairness, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
With all of this under our belts in the first game, our classic players had some very obvious questions. Questions like, "Why are the rifts opening back up agian?" and "Why does the War Mage look so different now?" Valid questions, both, but we are only going to talk about one of them today. The question about the rifts re-opening is a big part of the story in Orcs Must Die! 2. As for why the War Mage looks so different? Well, that's all about what happened in between the two games. The most important thing to understand about the end of the first game is that the magic has been cut off, the War Mages are dead. The Order is gone.
The magic has been cut off, the War Mages are dead. The Order is gone.
With the Order gone, no magic left to tap into, and decidedly fewer monsters on the loose, the last War Mage had no real reason to be a War Mage anymore. He was, for all intents and purposes, out of a job. Always one to find the silver lining, he simply went out and found a new line of work. By the time we catch up with the last War Mage at the beginning of Orcs Must Die! 2, he's taken up a new position working as a miner in the dwarven mines on the light side of the rifts. It may not be as glamorous as his last job, but the work is steady, the pay is good, and he gets to spend all day hitting things, which is really what he excells at.
With the last War Mage (yes, we still call him that) changing up his job, it was also time to change up his appearance a bit. Robot concept artist Bart Tiongson dove into dozens of new designs for the series' lead character:
While the pick axe didn't make the final cut (Don't be too sad. You're going to love the Blunderbuss), you can view several of Bart's early costume concepts by clicking on the image below.
The new designs were close, but they were lacking some of the elements that made the original costume great. Bart set to work to bring back some of the more iconic elements of the original costume:
Once the concept was narrowed down, Robot Character Artist Chris Moffitt got to work modelling the newly re-employed War Mage:
After Chris had carefully sculpted the War Mage's new look, a few minor tweaks brought him up to speed with the War Mage that you all saw in the announcement trailer:
He’s a tad grittier, without being dark and emotionless. He’s still the same old War Mage
Fans of the original War Mage need not worry. Everything from the original game is back in the sequel - classic traps, weapons, spells, and even the original War Mage costume can be unlocked by players. When you launch Orcs Must Die! 2 later this summer, you'll quickly find out that while his clothes may have changed, the last War Mage himself hasn't changed a bit. Rob McCollum returns to voice the character, and he's every bit as gruff, overconfident, and sarcastic as he was in the first game. With his trusty new Blunderbuss, he's ready to charge head-first into a whole new mob of monsters and magical questions. This time around, though, he's got his former opponent, the Sorceress, fighting by his side. But that's a mystery you'll have to play the game to unravel.