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Hack 'n' slash action-RPGs are usually pretty light on the story side of things; however, if you look back at games like Diablo II or Path of Exile, you'll realize that they have plenty of story to offer should you decide to go looking for it. And according to the latest Kickstarter update for Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem that features an interview with SolarFall Games' writer Eric aka Atropos, we should expect to find even more story, lore, and character interactions in Wolcen. A few snippets:
What are the tasks you’re focused on for Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem ?
Presently I’m working on the lore to provide material for the Concept department including the environments, characters, factions. I’m also working on the dialogues’ tone.
What has been determined on the storyline so far ?
All 5 acts are defined, all environments, the story, the creatures, the characters and the cutscenes. All we have to do now is bring all these elements to life and fill the boxes.
Aiming low wasn’t part of the instructions I was given. And boy, what a ride it’s going to be. It’s action packed, unforgiving, brutal and in its own special way : heartwarming. It’s both familiar to what you may have experienced in other hack’n’slash, and way more character-centric than what this game-genre have explored so far. The story is carried by and for the characters and they will not be soulless quest givers waiting for you to do the job. You will succeed together or fail together : but you will rely on them as much as they rely on you. No messiah syndrome in Wolcen.
What was the most challenging or unforeseen difficulty you had to face during your time at Wolcen Studio?
Actually, it’s more of a global problematic whenever you’re working on lore and scenarios. The challenge is always the same: establish rules and “no-noes” then convince artistic minds to follow them and conceptualize inside that perimeter rather than in free space. When a cool idea is shared, I have to ensure that it fits in the Wolcen universe, if not, I try to find a way to make this possible and “lore friendly”.
Do you have a special pride on something you’ve worked on for Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem ?
The emotional climax around the story of Wolcen. I’m really eager to see the feedback of the community about this.
Do you play any games ?
I do! I play on a Neverwinter Nights RP server called “Arelith”. It’s an English server so I can practice the language, it’s a very immersive community and… it’s cool! I also play Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, Witcher 3, Fallout, Dead Maze, and many more.
In a game I’m globally looking for challenge, I like the rewarding feeling when you overcome a difficulty.
Finally, can you give our community some preview on what’s to come in the scenario ?
I can share some of my intentions.
One thing I regret is that some recent licenses and movies define heroism as having a big sword, be ‘the boss’ from the get go, and slash big creatures easy-peasy. To me, it doesn’t work that way. Heroism is earned, not given. Felt, not told. I see heroism as continuing the right fight despite suffering, despair or defeat.
I also regret when major adversaries and creatures seem trivial and I want to ensure a certain respect for them. Take demons for instance. Slaying huge packs of demons reduces their individual value and weakens the idea that a demon should be a scary foe. To avoid this, even in a hack’n’slash, steps can be taken to make sure the player respects the greater foes thrown at him.
Finally, Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem will provide an experience allowing the player to live a unique adventure with his companions, with quality interactions between the characters.
To resume, there will be inspirations from Lord of the Rings exotic journey feeling, Constantine's characters and overall treatment/themes, Madmax:fury road's chase, action and epicness, The Witcher 3 character depths and relations (or at least trying), and Dunkirk's tension and harassment.