Those of you that follow the N4G blog like the sacred text of gaming it is will have noticed a teeny tiny announcement this morning ( http://n4g.com/user/blogpos... ). Completely related to that is this: the spotlight of N4G beaming down on an indie Kickstarter project from new development team, Shadowforge.
Shadowforge and their open-world fantasy RPG - with real-time combat - are among the indies being featured here in July, and it seems fitting to pair the event announcement with a mini feature on their studio, game, and Kickstarter - which can be found here: https://www.kickstarter.com...
Their Kickstarter page has A LOT of info, and I'm loathe to rob you of the joy of discovery. Here's some words from Ryan on the studio, game, and crowdfunding:
Cat: Who is Shadowforge LLC, and what is your game design philosophy?
RL: Shadowforge is made up of a core three man development team; Ryan Lamb as programmer/modeler, Devon Burnett as writer/game designer and Josh Lamb CEO, who also contributes game design, story and concept art. Additional team members include artists Daniel Tyka, Markus Lovadina and Joel Serrano and our amazing composer Austin Lawrence.
Our philosophies about game design originates from our lifelong love of games and and the criticisms we have made about those games. Every time I play a game, ideas and thoughts of ways to improve the system or some of the content come to mind. These experiences have developed into ideas that become part of the foundation for our game design philosophy. Story and immersion are at the heart of our designs. We view games as a form of media that are meant to be experienced as much as played. We think that an RPG should focus on character development and draw upon intellect and ideology while eliciting real human emotion.
Cat: What is Blood and Snow?
RL: Speaking technically, Blood and Snow is an Action RPG set in an open world, viewed through an isometric camera. This game has a deep level of customization that allows you to more fully immerse yourself into your character. There is a large open world with random events and side quests. Most notable is a strong central story line presented in the form of a main quest line. There are mysteries with lore strewn across the world waiting to be found. We love the feeling of discovering something new and feeling like it's possible that you're the first or only one to ever discover it. To enhance the experience there are relics, landmarks and characters with stories that fall outside of any quest line, waiting for the player to find and enjoy.
Cat: In a podcast I watched you mentioned the customization modules and the battle arena. Can you talk more about those - and their release timeline?
RL: You control the look of your character, weapons even mounts right from the beginning. Along those lines, we wanted to make sure that players who are interested in crafting would have options that would allow them to make truly unique items. The way we're accomplishing that is to create a crafting system which not only ties into the customization system where you can assemble weapons or armor from several different components, decorate them and paint them to your liking, but where your skill determines the overall quality of the item being crafted. If you're making a sword for example, you'll need to create the different components: blade, hand guard and hilt. None of these components have specific ingredients, rather they have a template that tells you how many of what kinds of ingredients you'll need. It's up to the crofter to choose the types of metal, wood, leather etc that go into these components. The creation of these components also relies on the skill with which the player executes the crafting mini-games. Shaping molds, carving, smelting, filling molds and many other steps will rely entirely on the individual player's ability to accomplish timing and position based procedures.
The battle arena is what we've planned to allow players the flexibility to test out abilities and combat without having to commit skill points to their actual characters. You'll be able to jump in, create a character at any level you want and play with different builds rather than just reading about the skills and trees.
We plan on releasing these modules on their own as we develop them so that backers and pre-purchase players can get their hands on the game as early as possible. These releases should start in just a few months. With the customization module we plan to allow players to save characters they've created and save them so that they can jump right into the game on release. We're also planning on polling our backer and pre-purchase community to determine which modules they would like to see first and that will help to determine our development schedule.
Cat: Without crowdfunding, would projects like yours be possible?
RL: I don't think so. Without crowdfunding companies have to rely on traditional investment models which means that the creative folks who are passionate about the art and play aspect of the game industry are beholden to "suits" who only care about the money. We only care about money because it allows us the freedom to make more games. I think crowdfunding has freed teams up to put passion back into the industry.
Cat: Recently the first ever US consumer protection lawsuit that deals with crowdfunding was filed, and it was in response to a successfully funded card game that never delivered. This is not the first Kcikstarter to go sour, but it is the first major suit. Thoughts?
RL: Well, crowdfunding is a commitment between a company and a consumer base and if one of the parties doesn't keep its commitment then it is only fair that they be held responsible for breaking their agreement. We take this commitment very seriously and I would hope that any team willing to take money out of the hands of people who are putting so much faith in them would do everything in their power to avoid breaking that trust.
That's it for now! Look for more from Shadowforge when we run the full interview this July!
Their Kickstarter and information on reward tiers can be found here: https://www.kickstarter.com...
Brigrun, concept 1
Brigrun, concept 2
Brigrun, in prototype level
Brigrun, in prototype level
Garre in prototype