MANIFESTO

 

The situation in the gaming industry is dire. Lootboxes and pay-to-win mechanics are prevalent. These strategies, responsible for the erosion of game design integrity,  are primarily designed to exploit vulnerable customers. Games are made to impress you within a short attention span. A pretty screenshot coaxes you into buying them.

Yet, they are shallow and get repetitive after only a few hours. However, from the perspective of the publisher: a game copy sold equals a job well done.

Game systems get casualized – to reach the biggest audience and offer childish power fantasies. Everyone is the chosen one. Players are handheld, supplied with quest markers to eliminate the possibility of not achieving satisfaction as soon as possible. Delayed gratification is a thing of the past. Yearly releases, milking of franchises, and little innovation have become the new norm.

We aim to break away from the currently accepted consumerism-based trend. However, it is much easier when you don’t have shareholders breathing down your neck, don’t need to chase quarterly short-term earnings, and don’t need to maximize the profit at all costs. The integrity of the game design is sacred to us.

We, of course, need to turn a profit to function as a company, but we prefer long-term sustainability and customer satisfaction.

 

 

We are super-excited about VR and its artistic potential. But using VR just for the wow effect wouldn’t be an answer. Fusing the older and proven game design principles with the best attributes of VR is.

Try our secret recipe:

Take the comfort of good old controller third-person gameplay, where hours fly by like crazy. Combine it with the cute toy-like stereoscopy and exquisitely spatialized audio. Enjoy!

 

GAME DESIGN

Combat is slow and methodical. Every inch counts. No button mashing! The fun factor is always more important than realism. No tab-targeting, no target locking. Easy to understand but difficult to master. Think Dark Souls with more platforming and climbing. As a nice bonus, compared to a flat-screen, VR stereoscopy enables much better spatial orientation and tactical clarity on the battlefield.

We worked hard on nailing this just right. The game is designed for extended hours long playing sessions. It’s a seated experience. The main trick lies in scaling down the world, and as a result, significantly reducing the artificial acceleration. Snap turning, camera smoothing and the combat happening in the focal optimum of the headset assure an unprecedented level of comfort. All without compromising the game design as is sadly often the case when games rely on teleportation or force players to stand in a limited area.

Our lore goes deep, hiding scattered across the world, waiting to be discovered by those who understand its value. Uncover its riches, multiple intertwining arcs, going thousands of years into the past.

Handcrafted, interconnected, and vertical – each zone is a visual masterpiece. Memorable? Indeed! Rather than having vast empty open spaces, we focus on intricately designed areas with a unique topology, influencing tactics and the feel of the combat. This approach enables the growth of mini-professions ranging from local guides to world navigation experts. Who wouldn’t like to sneak through unknown shortcuts and be escorted through dangerous areas for a reasonable fee?

Can you track a rare bird in treetops just by listening carefully? Yes – spatialized 3D sound in VR offers unprecedented gameplay possibilities. Sound reflections are calculated in realtime, taking various materials into account. The quality of audio spatialization in VR is so high that you can navigate your way through complete darkness. We are still experimenting to get the most of it. Last but not least, the primary in-game communication method is the voice chat.

We despise loot boxes, pay-to-win mechanics, and any form of monetization menacing the integrity of the game design. Therefore, we will be charging a monthly subscription so that players can be assured we are focusing on the game development and not on the development of various psychological tricks designed to squeeze out every last penny. Imagine a game where a beautiful chest is ‘just’ a chest or perhaps a mimic?

Quests are often non-instanced, meaning there will be competition. There are no quest indicators or markers – the emphasis is placed on environment observation and creative exploration of the possibilities. Our quest system is mostly text-based enabling complex quest chains, intermingling questlines, and emergent gameplay. It is designed to be constructible on-the-fly by Game Masters.

Several types of political systems will be available for players to join or overthrow. In safer areas, democratic elections will allow politically-savvy players to gain power, without ever swinging a sword. Here, the monopoly on violence (deputizing peacekeepers, imprisoning citizens, even executions of notorious criminals) is in the hands of democratically elected players. In the unsafe zones, the power is up for grabs through PvP tournaments, diplomatic back-stabbing or inherited from one monarch to the next – whatever works best for you.

Various areas will enjoy different player protection levels. Relatively safe zones with anti-griefing mechanics and opt-out PvP are ideal for new joiners or players specializing in political manipulation. The more lucrative zones will require the players to be in charge of their safety or to get diplomatic protection from their neighbours. The most hardcore of the hardcore players could enjoy game zones with permadeath switched on, promising untold riches for those who dare to venture there and survive.

Scattered around the world are places that can be occupied by a certain number of players and set as home. Each spot grants a different level of lucrativeness, resources, and bonuses for the inhabitants who manage to fend off potential invaders. For some, a throne room in a castle would be an ideal housing spot. An isolated tower is much better suited for magic practitioners. And for those who venture deep into the wild, a hole in the ground might as well do.

Music in VR is quite a challenge. However, we won’t be facing it alone! Meet Nemuer – a talented dark pagan folk band known for their hypnotic drum rhythms, the use of ancient instruments, throat singing, haunting out-of-this-world electronic soundscapes, and foremost mesmerizing immersive atmosphere. We are looking forward to hearing their unique ambient creations in-game and believe our cooperation will result in a work of art of no comparison.

 

Rather than having a large scale economy, we will design the market with a hand-made feel. Crafting an item can take enormous effort – reason enough for the respect and wealth of the artisan. Imagine being the only blacksmith who knows the secret of how to work with a rare ore.

The shrinking of the scale in VR lends the game a super-cute toy-like feel. This can’t be achieved on a flat-screen. Imagine controlling an action figure that is 35 cm (14 inches) tall. Objects look awesome in this scale size. We call it a ‘bonsai effect’. All the 3D-printed merchandise will come in this scale. In other words, your 3D-printed hero placed on your desk will look identical to the in-game one.

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