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RPG Codex Interview: Dungeons of Aledorn
Interview - posted by Zed on Fri 20 March 2015, 18:41:18Tags: Dungeons of Aledorn; Team 21
To begin the interview, please tell us a little bit about Team 21. Is this your first project together?
So, Dungeons of Aledorn. You namedrop a lot of interesting games on Kickstarter. What is it from each of these games that you want to draw from?
From the Might & Magic series, we drew mainly from the mechanics and the development of the characters in your party. We have different skill levels (from apprentice up to expert) and transfer quests, thanks to which, each profession may broaden their horizons of other professions' knowledge. The distribution of magic and spells is also very similar.
King's Bounty is a source of various interesting features, especially in combat, and the existence of "active achievements."
["Active achievements", as explained on the Kickstarter page:
"We also plan to implement an "active achievements" feature. They work like classic achievements, but, unlike them, "active achievements" directly affect your gameplay. One example: Players may gamble in a dice throwing mini-game in every tavern in DoA. As you surely know, dices are based heavily on luck. If the player wins in various taverns throughout the known world, he´ll get an achievement called "Lucky" which slightly improves the critical hit strike chance for his party. These achievements are completely optional and won't be necessary to accomplish in order to finish the game. That applies especially for the lower difficulty levels, which will be discussed later on."]
And Fallout? This classic series served as an inspiration for our work with the inner mechanics of the game – action points, perks, percentage rolls, critical successes and failures, etc. We also have one stretch-goal to implement a karma system, heavily inspired by Fallout.
There seems to be goblins, animated skeletons, magic spells and other classic fantasy stuff, yet it also seems to be a bit “grounded” and you do mention an emphasis on realism. What can we expect in the full game, in terms of fantasy-ness?
We intend to have realistic combat, in the sense that, for instance, even a higher level fighter can be outnumbered. Imagine being surrounded, even by low level skeletons. You'd be overwhelmed. This is unlike something like Diablo for instance, where you alone can kill enemies by the hundreds.
You mention that there will be several different playable races with racial bonuses, and also a variety of different classes. Could you give us some examples?
[Link to the Kickstarter update covering the playable races.]
Aledorn will feature “hundreds of NPCs.” Will these be unique NPCS, with unique dialogue? Over how many towns and locations? What's the scope of civilization in the game?
Where the number of cities is concerned, we have a big capital city and then there are three smaller towns. Interspersed around the game there are also several forts and villages, with the rest being, more or less, "dungeons."
In the pitch video, you say: “You will move your characters on hexagons. No squares. We hate squares.” Why do you hate squares? What are the benefits of hexagons?
There seems to be environmental considerations to make in combat, such as lighting oil on fire. This was seen in Divinity: Original Sin. Are there other ways to manipulate the environment, and how prominent will this be in Aledorn?
By creating fire, you can also impact the AI. So, for example,if you have to fight a pack of wolves, you'll be able to cut them off with fire, as they would rather run away from the flames than going straight through them.
There will also be numerous items generated on the battlefield that can give advantages, and not only to the player, but the enemy too. So as you've pointed out, oil may be set on fire creating a barrier between you and the enemy. We have more to reveal on this, but can’t say too much without revealing some awesome tactics that we want the players to figure out for themselves.
The battle maps are generated in the same space that the player can explore in the first-person view. Are there any ways for the player to affect the start of the battle, in terms of positioning when initiating the encounter? Are there any sort of formations that the party can use?
You say that the game is made for the hardcore gamers who appreciate a high level of challenge. What level of challenge are we talking about? Unprecedented levels of masochism? Will there be a “permadeath” hardcore option?
Another element is the NO-SAVE mode. This is the mode in which the player will have to play through the game in one sitting, and if it ever happens that all the characters of the player's party die (all at the same time), they lose. This mode starts to get extra interesting when, for example, characters are attempting to create potions, charm or enchant items, try to steal in towns, etc. Since everything is counted in percent, you will not be able to load or save the progress of the game.
As for "permadeath", the characters do not really die. It's more like a loss of consciousness. Only rarely do they really die (for example by a strong magic spell, or if they're buried under falling stones, etc..). If a true death occurs, players can resurrect the character by using another character with an appropriate resurrection spell or by visiting the temple and paying a considerable fee. We are considering a permadeath mode, but we're unsure how much of a demand there is of such a feature. Maybe your readers would like to give us some feedback?
You mention an emphasis on complex quests. Quests with choices and consequences, with impact on gameplay. Can you expand a little bit on this? Also, will choices throughout the game affect the possible ending outcomes? Fallout's “end slides” are very popular among Codexers – can we expect something like this?
We're looking at karma and characters leaving a mark on the world, but they're currently only stretch goals, since such a complex feature requires a huge amount of additional work. However, we have the underlying mechanisms for this feature prepared already.
How long in terms of gameplay hours do you think the game will be?
What are your plans for distribution? Are you pursuing any DRM-free options?
Harsh reality question: Like all Kickstarters, there's a chance that the target goal won't be reached. What happens then?
In a variant of B, we can expect an investor to come on board - a third party. We have already been approached by several of them after our pre-campaign for Kickstarter. We have politely declined, stating that we first want to try our hands on crowdfunding to see whether players deem the game worthy of purchase.
Plan C is that we will continue from our own resources and capabilities. Even like this, we will finish the game, but we will have to remove some elements to make it easier to finish. It will also extend the development time of the game, as obviously we'll have to continue working on DoA whilst working full time to support the project.
And finally, what are your favorite ales?
Many thanks to Team 21 for answering our questions, and good luck with the remainder of the Kickstarter campaign!