Almost a year ago, we had the pleasure of e-meeting and interviewing the guys from Shockwork Games who were struggling with Alder’s Blood at the time. One of the most original games of recent times that mixes turn-based mechanics with stealth ones accompanied by dark atmospheres. Alder’s Blood was released in April 2020 but the developers are already working on a fascinating new project and we were dying to know a few more details.
Hi guys, it’s a pleasure to be with you again, this time to talk about a brand new project that’s brewing. But before discovering a few more details, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi everybody! We are Shockwork Games, a small, independent gamedev studio from Lublin, Poland. We are working together as a group for quite a few years now. Started on some mobile games, but w quickly moved to big platforms and made a tactical stealth game Alder’s Blood.
Were you satisfied with the work done with Alders Blood? Is there anything you would have liked to do differently and maybe bring over to this new game?
Were we satisfied? Yes and no. Developing Alder’s Blood was a huge challenge to us, and yes, we are extremely proud that we were able to pull this off, but there are many things we could do differently. Looking back we should have scaled down the project, focus on specific aspects so that we could polish it more.
Don’t get us wrong, we love the game, and especially its world. We are still developing new products in this IP, like Tales From the Hunt, a tabletop RPG. We’ll definitely go back to Alder’s Blood in the medium of video games, as there is still a lot to tell there.
Ok, let’s talk about the new project. What’s his name? And how can it be described?
Our new project is called Nadir, and we like to call it rogue-like jRPG. We want to make a game that’s extremely stylish, fast-paced for a turn-based game, and replayable. Ah, also moddable.
What are the influences and inspirations for Nadir?
If we are talking games, then stuff like Slay the Spire, and the whole genre of card games, plus some character-based games like Darkest Dungeon. Nadir was originally planned as a card game, but we quickly abandoned this route, as it seemed a little bit too problematic, and not exactly what we wanted to do. So we mixed in some RPG mechanics and got something, at least in our opinion, interesting.
Visuals are inspired by different comic book artists, like Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, or Tsutomu Nihei. Sin-city, Hellboy, Blame! and Biomega. Again we started mixing genres to get something different, and in the end, we throw some Divine Comedy to have a stronger main theme.
Will we find any elements or mechanics of Alder’s Blood in this new title?
Not really, new projects are here to look at different ideas, trying to approach games from different angles, and learn as much possible. We want to use this experience to make Alder’s Blood 2.
Will the story and lore play a major role or will you focus more on the gameplay?
Nadir will focus more on the gameplay than Alder’s Blood was. We want a strong theme, but it’s only theme and some small lore tidbits here and there. We love telling stories, but they need time and care to grow, and we are still a bit tired after Alder’s Blood.
Can you give us some details on the gameplay and the mechanics of the battles?
Sure! The turn system itself deserves some attention. Instead of Action Points, or Stamina, Nadir features “Threat Counter (TC)”. It show how much time is left before the enemy will attack your team. Every character will subtract some point from the TC while making attacks and using skills, so for once the player have to be careful in planning his turn, and second look at ways to prolong his/her turn.
Some abilities have an effect of adding points to the TC in special cases. So looking for skills combos and character synergies will be a big part of the game.
Will there be a crowdfunding campaign? If so, when?
We are looking at different options at the moment. And since Alder’s Blood was a successful Kickstarter project, crowdfunding is one of these options. We are also talking with some publishers about funding for the game. Right now we focus on making the game looking like a game and less like a prototype, lol.
What platforms will the game be distributed on?
Classic, PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and XBOX ONE. Bigger consoles proved to be more problematic, b we are wiping the trails with Alder’s Blood, so it should be smoother with second project.
As a developer of 2 games with turn-based mechanics. What do you think of this genre? Which is often mistreated and declared “not very commercial”.
I love the genre, and this “not very commercial” idea in my opinion comes from the presentation. Tactics games are usually not so flashy and trailer friendly, but this is something we wanted to change with Nadir. That’s why we chose these strong visuals, Spine animations etc. Look at Persona 5. It’s also a turn-based, pretty repetitive game, but it’s a cult classic now. We definitely want to follow suit.
Bonus: Best Turn-Based Games of the last two years according to you?
Oh my, that will be hard. For me (Mike speaking here) this would be Into the Breach and Fire Emblem Three Houses. Both excellent games. I would throw Battle Brothers here, even though they were released in 2017, but the new DLC, is just too good, not to mention it.