From the Devs is a new daily feature where we find indie games with potential, and let the developers tell you about their projects. Today we have the team at SnowCastle Games on their upcoming game, currently known only as Project FoM.
TechZwn: What’s your game and what’s it about?
Fridtjof Olsen (Art Director): Our yet-to-be-named game is a classic turn-based RPG with a unique combat and harvesting system. The game is set in a truly epic universe where a group of unlikely heroes have to uncover an ancient conspiracy and eventually save the world (for real!).
TechZwn: What makes your game unique?
Bendik Stang (Game Director): The gameplay is inspired by the old school (J)RPGs, but we will also add elements from classic adventure games. We want the game to have emphasis on humor as well as the more classical RPG elements. To help us achieve this we have gotten Lori Ann Cole from the Quest for Glory Series on the team. She will also help us achieve the humoristic/sarcastic narrative that we want.
As for game world, we have a pretty unique world, but we would like to keep that under wraps for now.
Mattis Bødtker (Lead Designer): In many regards there are certain gameplay mechanics that make up a JRPG that have become staple features which “every” JRPG needs to have, and sure we have many of them too. However we wanted to see how we could take some of these awesome mechanics which we grew up with and improve on them and give them more relevance in the modern age.
For example, the combat mechanics in Project FoM are very much your classic turn-based combat gameplay from games such as Final Fantasy VII. We want to give the same fundamental experience, but add new dimensions of tactics into it by having your party divided into pairs of two and two. The player will have to control a Warrior and a Protector as one, but will only be allowed to perform one of their abilities per turn.
We also have designed it so that the player will not be able to use all their characters abilities all the time in combat, but they will have to think tactically and select abilities and allocate them into ability slots outside of a battle scenario.
TechZwn: Where did the inspiration come from?
Fridtjof Olsen (Art Director): What I especially love about the JRPG genre are the whimsical, vibrant and often completely absurd universes with a lot of focus on unique characters, creatures and locations. They have a romantic and innocent charm that can rarely be found in Western role playing games, which usually strives to be more mature, believable and familiar. I believe that as a Scandinavian developer we can really add our own unique direction. So in spirit Project FoM will be a classic JRPG, but it will also feel totally new and different.
Mattis Bødtker (Lead Designer): When we first sat down to discuss what our next game should be, we asked each other what our most memorable gaming experiences were. Quite early on we found out that many of the games were the old school (J)RPGs, and I remember us talking about how they inspired us when we were younger, inspired our imagination back then and now inspires us to work with what we love to do.
I think one of the aspects which inspires me a lot during the process, as i’m sure the team would agree, is the thought that we played games such as Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, Quest for Glory and Monkey Island and now we are actually making one as a homage to them all. It’s exciting!
TechZwn: Is there anything you saw in modern gaming that you’d like to change or build on with your game?
Bendik Stang (Game Director): The new hype that all games seem to be about now is casual and free to play. We personally don’t like the free to play business model, but we have noted its importance. In an effort to bridge this we have decided to make a companion app that is free to play where the player can continue on the causal elements like farming and fishing while on the move. The companion app will also serve as a supportive device while playing on your computer or console.
Fridtjof Olsen (Art Director): Indie games like Bastion and Limbo were a great influence when we first came up with the game idea. Both of these games brought back classic and simplistic gameplay, but presented in a unique and imaginative way. We love simplicity in games and really wanted to find the essence of what made the classic JRPGs we grew up with so enchanting and memorable.
TechZwn: Is there anything else you’d like to say or talk about regarding your game (or gaming in general)?
Mattis Bødtker (Lead Designer): I have to say that I think we have been taken aback a little bit by the response we have received from the community so far. It’s immensely encouraging to read the comments on our page on IndieDB or on our development blog or just giving us a thumbs up. We have barely begun to show the community anything from the game, and have yet to talk about many of our plans for the gameplay aspects of the game. So it will be very exciting going forward to see the community response to our game as we continue to share our thoughts and new ideas on our development blog (www.snowcastlegames.com)