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The latest Kickstarter update for Dark Crystal Games' Fallout-inspired post-apocalyptic RPG Encased discusses the idea of in-game backer rewards and explains how the developers plan to make said rewards matter and at the same time fit in both with the game's narrative and its balance. An excerpt:
“So, Marcus, now you’re calling me a marauder? Bullshit. Calling me a historian would be closer to the truth.
“Look here, for instance: a fine pair of boots. I fished these out of an empty trash barrel at a gas station. They’re practically new. Someone hid them there is my guess, planned to come back for them at some point.
“You see now, yeah? Every thing has its history. That’s what I’m looking for, that’s what I collect. A sucker like you wouldn’t understand. Wait, what’s that sticking out of your pocket?”
We love stories too. A good story is the most important part of any classic RPG, and there are many of these little vignettes in Encased, each of which contributes to the narration in one way or another.
Narrative, along with gameplay and graphics, is one of the “whales” upon which a successful project depends. The narrative is served not only through dialogues, character cues and in-game documents. We, like our nameless marauder, love telling a story through things. A battered rifle hidden beneath the floorboards of an abandoned hut can tell you a lot about its deceased owner: twenty notches on the barrel, homemade ammo clip, and a telescopic sniper sight worth tens of thousands of combonds - a small, but complete story reveals itself to the attentive player who is prepared to look and think.
This experience is inspired by dozens of playthroughs of original Fallout, Planescape: Torment, and other cool games. We, like you, are players above all.
How does our tiny tale lead us to the rewards? Easy: recall the stories. In the world of Encased, one does not simply open a chest and pick up a “Kickstarter Shotgun” or “Backer Armor.” “Rewarded” items become part of the plot, with a natural and organic backstory for the players who supported our project from the very start. The origin of each reward item will be interwoven with the lore of the game’s universe.
But do not expect these rewards to make the main character an invulnerable killing machine, destroying all life in their path. Balance is of no less importance to us than storyline, and we consider “Kickstarter” items to be an interesting way to reveal secrets about the world of Encased (i.e. additional lore and quests).