I have to admit, Stoneshard is – at least for me – one of the most wanted games of 2019. I’ve begun to follow the game since, some months ago, I played the Prologue and it was literally a trip down memory lane.
It reminded me so many good and old (very old) RPGs of the glorious ’90 that I almost cried!
So, when, few weeks ago, I asked to Ink Stains Games for an interview, I was very excited like I’ve never been in a long, long time. What follows is the result of my enthusiastic interest:
ME: Your videogame is presented as a “hardcore roguelike-rpg”. How do you think to combine these two genres?
ISG: Our approach is about combining comprehensible story and lore from classic RPGs with fun and challenge of classic roguelikes. So it’s kind of “RPG plot meets roguelike gameplay”
ME: Roguelike is a sort of minority taste, usually very challenging and hard, with features like perma-death and procedurally generated content. Which of these features we will find in Stoneshard?
ISG: Everything you mentioned! Wide use of procedural generation, permadeath mode, high learning and difficulty curve, scarce resources management, “learn as you play” approach.
ME: Which are your original ideas behind your game and how can it stand out from the others roguelike?
ISG: We emphasize lore and gameplay cohesion, immersion, open world exploration and survival aspects (such as advanced health/injury system). We also plan to introduce Caravan mechanic, so players will get to explore the world as part of it – while finding new allies with unique supporting abilities and their own stories to tell!
ME: I tried to play the prologue and I have to say that it was really amazing, with this “good old days” flavor, but I also thought it was very very hard. Will the final game be easier or – at least – will it be possible to choose a easier difficulty level for lame gamers like me? In other words, how the game will help the newcomers?
ISG: Yes, we plan to have several difficulty settings in the future, but the game is pretty much designed around the hardest one, on which our game is intended to be played.
ME: Your previous title (“12 is Better Than 6”) was quite different from this one and, probably, simpler to develop. Why do you decided to confront with one of the most difficult genre among videogames, the “CRPG”?
ISG: Mainly because we all are big fans of CRPGs. So we always wanted to create something alike – big, ambitious and gripping. A game where players could spend dozens of hours, trying different builds, exploring the world and generally having fun.
ME: Ok, now let’s talk about the content of the game. Do you think everything will be procedurally generated or there will be something hand-crafted?
ISG: Initially we wanted to procedurally generate almost everything, but time has shown sometimes it just doesn’t work. So currently only dungeons, weapon enchantments, potions, elite mobs and overworld locations are generated procedurally, while everything else (mobs, villages, items) is handcrafted.
ME: I read that in Stoneshard, there will be a global time cycle. How this will affect the gameplay?
ISG: Well, nothing really special. Obviously it affects your vision range, which enemies you may encounter during your travels and also daily routine of NPCs.
ME: What about quests? There will be primary and secondary quests with a precise storyline or will it be an open-ended sandbox?
ISG: Both. There’ll be a main story and plenty of secondary quests, but they all will take place in the open world with many sandbox elements, like some basic economic and faction simulation.
What we need at the moment is a little bit of patience, because unfortunately (as we mentioned before) Stoneshard is not exactly around the corner. For sure, now, after our little chat, the wait for the release could become even harder to bear!
For more info on Stoneshard you can check here: