Indie game developer Chase Grozdina wants to rekindle the originality and sense of adventure that games had in the 8-bit days of glory, with the upcoming game, Forge Quest.
“All people at one point in time have tried to break the rules of a game, to avoid the obvious,” and to do something both illogical and “sometimes very silly,” said Grozdina, Forge Quest lead developer and artist, in an e-mail interview.
“At heart it’s our inner child and core understanding of play. Most of what we want to achieve with this game is to give people a world in which they can do exactly that: to experiment, to both fail and achieve, to create their own games inside of the game,” he said.
“I believe the key is to provide the player with enough tools and ways to interact, the rest comes from the player’s own imagination.”
One of the game’s main inspirations is Zelda: Link’s Awakening for the original Gameboy. “I don’t know what it was about that game, but I spent way too much time playing it,” Grozdina said. “The style of the game was very basic, the graphics were only a couple of frames, but the game was fun to play and always kept you wanting to continue along to the next town or dungeon.”
“I think my love for that classic game really drives a lot of what I’m looking to achieve with our project,” he said.
The inspiration is noticeable. Forge Quest looks like a blend between Zelda, Minecraft, and Diablo. Players can dig and build, there is an overworld and dungeons, and there is a hit-point combat system reminiscent of Zelda and old school RPGs. But there is enough originality amidst all this to bring something fresh to the gaming world.
Grozdina said when people play Forge Quest, “I want to invoke that feeling of nostalgia, that feeling they have almost played the game before, yet with so much more to discover.”
He says one of the things older games did well was “that sense of adventure, every present danger and the knowledge that not every choice is the right one. I think that style of game can be both frustrating and yet extremely rewarding,” something he says “an increasing number of modern games seem to lack.”
There will be a non-linear exploration system, where “not every monster, NPC and dungeon is intended to be beaten in the order the player finds them.” Rather, the player will have to use whatever tools they have at their disposal “and make decisions about how they want to continue,” Grozdina said.
An Ever-changing World
One of the unique elements of Forge Quest will be its ever-changing world. According to Grozdina, this concept is meant to ensure the player always has something to do and never feel they’re at a point where there is nothing left to challenge them.
“As players play through the game, we intend to have different events happen that will actually change the layout of the world,” he said.
This will vary. Maybe the landscape will all change, or there will be new roaming monsters. Maybe a new town will spring up somewhere, or a new dungeon will suddenly emerge. Several things could trigger these changes—ranging from random events to consequences of the player’s actions.
Yet, “The changes will generally be something that is slow and constant, so it will be most apparent in a location that the player has not visited in a long time,” Grozdina said.
Similar to games like Minecraft, players will also be able to build, but they will take a much different approach. Building will play a strong role in the adventure elements of Forge Quest. While players can build original structures, they will also be given the ability to build pre-constructed buildings that will usually serve a function.
“The more the player builds these things in a particular region, the more influence they will put into that region, and this will eventually end up eliminating the wild from encroaching on their space,” Grozdina said.
Building areas will also be limited by the landscape, and while players can clear areas to build more, “they won’t be building a replicate of the Star Trek enterprise anytime soon,” Grozdina said, noting that changes in the game’s world could also have an effect.
Combat in Forge Quest blends the old school, number-based RPG combat systems with the hack-and-slash action combat of the classic Zelda games. Yet, the player’s own skills will play a large role—including how well they use their items.
Damage points will also change, and can be affected by player buffs, weapons, an enemy’s armor, or different elemental factors.
“The main aspect that we really want to get back from some of the more classic games is that we don’t want everything to be strictly number based. We don’t want the player to reach a point in the game where 90% of the enemies are pushovers and they almost don’t have anything to fear,” Grozdina said, noting that players will need to learn unique uses of items in combat.
There will also be several types of NPCs that will serve various function. Some will be the typical townsfolk, allowing players to buy and sell items at local shops, stay at inns, or accept quests. Other NPCs will work on special crafts, or may be found wandering around in the world.
Multiplayer will have a big part to play in Forge Quest. Grozdina notes “In these sandbox-style games there is generally not a main storyline,” and while it can be fun to play alone, players would much rather have their friends along “as you run around the crazy and mixed up environment.”
Currently there isn’t much multiplayer-focused content, and they’re working more around the single-player mode, but they will encourage multiplayer gameplay with different challenges—including exploring regions and defeating bosses “that really should be accomplished by more than one person.”
The game will also progress much faster when players start off with a group of friends.
Forge Quest is currently on Kickstarter, where the team is raising funds to help with development. The game has had a warm welcome from the indie community, and Grozdina notes that he and his team are open to input or suggestions of what players would like to see in Forge Quest.
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(Images courtesy of Chase Grozdina)