This is the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about Mercenary IV.

Q: What is Mercenary IV?
A: It is the fourth chapter of the Mercenary saga.

Q: What is Mercenary?
A: It is a space exploration saga that was very popular some years ago. The first episode used vectorial graphics and was available on 8 and 16 bit computers. The second episode, Damocles, used an engine able to manage surfaces, therefore it has only been written for Amiga and Atari ST. There was also a third episode, The Dion Crisis, using the same engine of Damocles and written for the same machines.

Q: Didn't Novagen Software go bankrupt?
A: Yes, it did. However, even though we, as former members, moved to other software houses, continued to have contact with one another, and I have been able to refound it in late 1997. Since then I, Mo Warden and the others have been working at Mercenary IV.

Q: I have read something about a PC conversion of Damocles. What can you tell me about that?
A: It will never be out. Psygnosis and us had too many troubles at the time it started, and we never managed to finish it. But now I refounded Novagen Software and I took back what we did; now we are improving the engine to exploit the new technologies and programming a totally new story. In 2 words, Mercenary IV.

Q: When will Mercenary IV be released?
A: When it is finished. Sorry, but it is too early to say when it will, because even the engine is still very buggy.

Q: What will Mercenary IV be about?
A: It is set in the Gamma System again. A strange phenomenon occurs on Midas: the pyramids of its alight hemisphere are emitting a radio signal towards a specific point of space. You investigate on this phenomenon and discover that Marduk, a planet with a very erratic orbit, has entered the Gamma System again. There were many legends about Marduk and its inhabitants, the Nephilim. Now the Nephilim, a very weird people (as you'll discover) are trying to subjugate the Gamma System. Your final duty is to make the Gamma System keep its independence.

Q: Why do you already have such a good story and the engine is not finished yet?
A: Because we write the stories before writing the games. This prevents us from making games that do not have any plot.

Q: You talked about new technologies. Will Mercenary IV take advantage of accelerated graphic cards?
A: No, it will not. We decided not to implement support for accelerated graphic cards, because otherwise we would concentrate much more on the accelerated version than on the normal one, and this would result in an awful unaccelerated version. We prefer concentrating our efforts on an optimized unaccelerated version: we think the most important thing to make a good game is good code, not good hardware to make it run on.

Q: Then, what new technologies will Mercenary IV take advantage of?
A: We are implementing MMX and AGP support. The most advanced machine Damocles and Mercenary 3 could run on was the Amiga. We decided to implement the support for those technologies because of that. The Amiga's custom chips were a primitive form of multimedia extensions, and its Chip RAM was a primitive form of accelerated graphics port. That old architecture was not so bad.

Q: Is the Novagen office in Alcester Road, Birmingham, UK?
A: The old Novagen office was there. Now we moved.

Q: Can I have your phone number/fax number/e-mail address/site URL?
A: No, otherwise hundreds of people every day would disturb me, making me unable to concentrate my efforts on Mercenary IV. You want Mercenary IV, don't you?

The Mercenary IV FAQ ends here.
Paul Woakes