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The folks at RPG Codex have interviewed SolarFall Games about Umbra, their Diablo-like action-RPG, which is currently on track to be funded on Kickstarter ($178,690 of $225,000 raised with 18 days to go). The interview touches upon the game's story, writing, character progression and crafting systems, the open world, and more. A snippet:
Aside from the graphics what sets Umbra apart from the legions of other action RPGs?
The Apocalyptic Form is the feature I am the most excited about. Apocalyptic Form is a customizable ultimate power every player will get. It allows you to turn into a personalized Avatar of Destruction for some time. It is built from up to three (Apocalyptic Upgrade) options, unlocked by your character according to your play style. Apocalyptic Upgrade can very different, for example, getting horns on your head to rush and knock down every enemies, or getting wings to make huge leap and access unreachable areas, having a third hand to equip with a new weapon and fight, or having an Aura of Death raising undead everywhere you walk. I can't wait to see the combos that players will find and how they will manage to get the most out of it!
The freedom of development, allowing you to pick any skill from any specialization will also bring a lot of interest to me. I always wanted to be a barbarian with a huge mace walking in the middle of my zombie horde!
Our crafting module is also really cool, and quite a bit different from other games. We hope that people who don't enjoy crafting will actually like ours, since it is a quite addictive and rewarding skill based mini-game.
Elemental Effect Interaction, managing the effects of Lightning / Fire / Water / Ice is also a very cool addition to the gameplay and will bring tons a great combos to the game.'‹
Tell us a little about character build variety. Have you had any archetypes in mind when creating active and passive skills?
Tons! I actually have several files to make sure I remember all of them. I usually plan some combos and many other comes immediate to my mind when I start implementing it.
When we design a new effect in the game, we think about all possibilities, like how can this be added to an item power, or should it become an active skill, is there any passive skill that could be fun to combine with, how this effect could become a skill modifier etc!
We are thinking about some cool archetypes to create. One I told you about before, the (Necro-Barbarian) is an exciting one. Another we are thinking about is the (Pyro-curer), burning the place all around to kill enemies and get health point back from fire. Another, the (Frost Assassin) would be a cool mix of assassin combat skills and frost magic, slowing enemies down and combining frost and physical damage to gain additional shatter damage. This is a small selection of archetype we had in mind, and they are really fun to play!'‹
What's your approach to itemization in general? Will players be able to become ridiculously overpowered from simply equipping a unique sword, or are you more conservative when designing item powers? Are you using an item power nominator like 'item levels' or any such a thing?
Unique items will surely be powerful, but the idea is to provide players with new viable options all the time.
Overpowered items don't really fit that vision, because it will push players to focus on these items only. We want people to play with our Active Skills, Passive Skills, Physical Attribute (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Power), and Apocalyptic Form and combine them with loot effects to find their combo. An item can be overpowered in the right Character Build, but there will not be an Ultimate Item to look for.'‹