Cyclopean Interview

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Iron Tower Studio
Developer:Iron Tower Studio
Release Date:Canceled
  • Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
GB: You were also implementing a means for players to pursue a path of magic with the Arcanum skill. How fleshed out was the magic system, and how much of a role did it play in the game and storyline?

Scott: Other than one Background (Descended from Witches) which allowed the player to summon a familiar, any kind of magic had to be sought out and learned in-game. There weren't any magic schools or friendly wizards who would teach you a whole bunch of spells. The means to learn each spell had to be discovered, usually from a tome, less often from someone who would teach it. Further, researching grimoires was a risky, Sanity-taxing endeavor in itself, unless the player had the corresponding Arcanum Traits. As any Lovecraft reader knows, merely leafing through the Cultes des Goules could prove injurious!

In typical RPGs, spells like Fireball are like a sack of grenades you take into combat. In Cyclopean, spells were powerful but also had a very real cost. Every incantation cost Sanity, but they also incurred Mythos points, meaning that anyone who relied too heavily on magic risked insanity and corruption. Magic was a powerful tool and not one to use lightly.

GB: What were your influences both literary (besides obviously Lovecraft) and in game design?

Scott: I was influenced by the usual greats: Fallout, Arcanum, Baldur's Gate, Jagged Alliance 2 (which I maintain had not only the best turn-based combat, but one of the best interfaces not just for a game, but in any class of software). Phantasie II was also dear to me a long time ago.

There aren't really any horror writers like Lovecraft. I can't find much to recommend even among his contemporaries. Other than horror, my interests are very broad, just about any kind of fiction as long as it's well written. In fantasy I really like Moorcock, Jack Vance, and Gene Wolfe's older stuff. Some other good reads are: House on the Borderlands, the Book of Lost Things, and The Manuscript Found in Saragossa.

GB: Anything in particular you want people to know about the project and your personal accomplishments?

Scott: For fans of the project, and Lovecraft, I collected the stories I wrote for Cyclopean (as well as a couple more longer pieces) into an eBook available on Amazon for a whopping $0.99.

I also have a very sparse blog. I don't update much, but folks who are subscribed will be notified when the novel I'm working on comes out. Finally, I am currently working on the animal animations for Dead State, the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse CRPG.

GB: Thanks for your time, Scott!

UPDATE: To complement the article, Scott also provided us with a variety of artwork and this nifty Flash-based character generator to provide a glimpse at how the team was implementing character creation toward the end of development.