Sympathy for the…evil
Few weeks ago I decided to take a walk on the grim land of Alder’s Blood.
Among werewolf, vampire and many others nice friends, the travel eventually was really fascinating and I resolved to have a chat with the demonic developers of the game, Shockwork Games, but not before taking a long rifle with me 😉
I don’t’ like to hunt animals, but I really like to hunt demons…
1st Turn) What can you tell us about the world of Alder’s Blood? What were your inspirations?
Hi! First of all thank you for the opportunity for this interview. Alder’s Blood was inspired by a lot of things. Mostly my and Alex’s (illustrator and concept artist on the project) love for dark, Victorian setting. There are not many games where you can play as a vampire/werewolf hunter, so we decided to create one.
Ideas for a world like that were floating around for years before the development even started. Dualism was something I find very attractive and so I incorporated that into the game’s world building. We have this conflicts of extremes: nature, emotions, desires against civilization, reason and logic.
From there the rest started to slowly emerging, building what we have now.
2nd Turn) Once Joseph Conrad said “The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness”. Why did you decide to develop a tactical Horror RPG?
With fantastical settings like fantasy or sci fi you have this opportunity to “overdraw” motives and themes. Why? To show some ideas more strongly. That’s one of the reasons we chose the horror setting for Alder’s Blood. Another one was way more trivial. There isn’t a tactical game in such a setting.
This is very important in a saturated market of indie games. An original setting with good artstyle should hopefuly bring more people to the game.
3rd Turn) Ok now let’s talk about weapons, items and loot in general. What can we expect in this regard? Will there be special/unique or magical items?
We have melee weapons, firearms, harpoon launchers and more. Around 30 weapons at the time of writing this, but we want to include more. Some of these weapons will be very unique, “legendary” and can only be unlocked by completing a full quest arc for one of the in-game factions.
Then there are items and these vary greatly from simple medkits and antidotes to magic items that allow our hunters to cast spells. There are also traps that we can set up on the ground and some distraction tools like simple pebbles or a “Screamer”; a damned soul trapped in a piece of resin that screams when thrown on the ground.
4th Turn) I tried the demo and I saw that stealth is very important in Alder’s Blood. When you approach a beast, you have to consider many factors like the smell, the natural weakness of the enemy and your stamina. I have to confess that I’m really intrigued by this feature but also a little worried. Now my question is: the importance of the stealth means that a more brutal and direct approach is always discouraged?
It will depend on the players playstyle. Some may find it more rewarding to sneak past most of the enemies, but others may prefer to kill everything in their path.
But even the more brutal way of dealing with beasts should require good positioning and knowledge of the surroundings. Setting up ambushes for the unaware monsters is probably the best approach for the combat. Running into the unknown may be fatal for your hunters.
5th Turn) The hunters are really fascinating, a figure between an outlaw and a hero of a dark Wild West world. Somehow, they reminded me the gunslingers of the Dark Tower series (Long live Stephen King!). They seem to be the last chance against an eternal damnation, kind of true heroes. So now an obligatory question: there will be the chance for your hunters to be corrupted by the darkness in some way?
I don’t want to spoil too much, but I can say, yes there is a mechanic like that and it will have a long term consequences for your hunters. We also have ideas of how we can build up on this mechanic in the future updates.
6th Turn) Can you explain a little bit more about the exploration system? How much freedom will the players have?
We unlock all the region connections quite early in the game, so if players want to wander around and scavenge resources, or complete random missions, they are free to do so. There are also side quests outside of the game main story, so there are stuff to do in-between story missions.
7th Turn) Ok, now let’s talk about the RPG features of the game. At the beginning of the game it will be possible to create characters from the scratch?
At the beginning players will be provided with a small hunting party of 4 hunters. But players will be able to change everything on them: their avatars, skins, color schemes and even names.
When it comes to recruiting new hunters, we have a system that generates them for the player (3 at a time, with an option to reshuffle). But as with the starting hunters, players can change everything about them
8th Turn) How do you gain XP in the game and how can you customize your characters when they level-up?
You gain Experience by completing missions and it’s important to note that only the mission objective will grant you the XP. We wanted players to focus on the missions and stealth aspect of the game and not fall into a killing spree for extra XP.
Another way to get more experience for your hunters are various events that they may encounter during travels. This may be a choice of helping someone in need or abandoning them to their fate, or a monster pack threatening the people and our choice of what we’ll do about this.
Levelling up hunters is a little bit different from most games. When a hunters reaches a new level players will be presented with a choice of 5 traits (each time they may be different) from which only one can be selected. These will usually change the hunters statistics like his Health or Stamina, but it may also change hunter’s performance in camp (how much resources he will scavenge, how good he will be in protecting the camp from ambushes, etc)
9th Turn) Will there be randomly generated contents in Alder’s Blood? And, if yes, what kind of content will there be?
Right now everything in Alder’s Blood is hand crafted. The way the game plays and rely on stealth make it extremely difficult to produce fun maps with random generations, so we decided to put more effort in polished hand-crafted content.
We have some ideas to include some completely optional mission that would feature something like that. If we decide to actually develop something like that it will be included in one of the post-launch updates.
10th Turn) Can you reveal to our readers when do you think the game will be released?
The release window for Alder’s Blood is January 2020. If we do not face any serious delay we should be able to meet that date with PC and Switch versions. XBOX ONE and PS4 version will be available on a later date.
11th Bonus Turn) Before leaving you, just a bonus question. Which is the latest turn-based game you’ve played or still playing?
Recently I played a lot of games that I already played quite a lot. Mostly Into the Breach and Wargroove. I find myself coming back to these two from time to time, especially Into the Breach. I also started playing the original Advance Wars, but I didn’t had much time to really get into it.
Can’t wait to lay my hands on new Fire Emblem, sounds a lot like something I would enjoy.
Thank you so much for the time you have dedicated to us! Obviously we will continue to follow your amazing project.
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