Midway through an already funded Kickstarter we interviewed IronOak Games to find out just what an “Online Roguelike Tabletop RPG” was. Read on to find out what they had to say about that string of buzzwords and what interesting rewards they are throwing at their Kickstarter backers.
MMORPG: For the King is billed as a "online roguelike tabletop RPG." What is an online roguelike tabletop RPG?
IronOak Games: For The King (FTK) is an online cooperative roguelike with turn based JRPG combat and board game-like mechanics. We use the term roguelike loosely, even though it accurately describes the experience one can expect when playing FTK. This includes turn based gameplay, procedural worlds, perma-death, grid based movement (hexes in our case), semi-randomized combat outcomes, challenging difficulty, and a fantasy setting. Many of these mechanics are also present in traditional table top games, and it's important to note that FTK's prototype was actually a table top board game. Our goal has been to retain as much of that tabletop experience as possible while simultaneously taking advantage of a digital platform.
MMORPG: There has been a rash of "roguelikes" making their way to Steam Greenlight or Kickstarter lately, what makes For the King different?
IOG: First and foremost, For The King is a cooperative roguelike. It can also be played solo, but it's one of the few roguelikes out there that supports multiplayer games. This feature is super important to us as we're trying to mimic the table top experience that you have with a group of friends.
We've also strayed from traditional roguelikes in that we resolve combat through turn based JRPG combat. We're huge RPG fans, and we felt this would be the most exciting way to present combat. Our overworld movement works slightly differently too. While it's still turn based and grid based, it blends in random encounters from JRPGs along with enemies that you can see on the map like in traditional roguelikes. And it's not all combat, you'll encounter various scenarios and challeneges that can be interacted with in a variety of ways.
Another defining feature of FTK is the vastness of our worlds. For The King will have you traveling across expansive realms, sailing the seas, and exploring many different dungeons. It's much much more than a procedural death labyrinth, it's an epic adventure.
MMORPG: How does the multiplayer part play out in For the King?
IOG: Players can play solo, controlling up to 3 characters, or they can play online with everyone controlling a single character. You can split up and explore the world on your own or remain together for safety in numbers. Time is a factor in FTK, so it's not always possible to stick together and quite often the party needs to split up to cover more ground and scout new locations. However solo adventurers will be quite vulnerable to groups of enemies and other less favorable encounters.
FTK is turn-based gameplay, so every player takes their turn in order. During your off-turn you can use items, equip newly acquired gear, and most importantly be drawn into combat and encounters by nearby friends and enemies. If one player stirs up enemies on the overworld map, then all players within a certain radius are drawn into a JRPG style combat. Managing combat and being careful when drawing in injured or weaker party members into battle is one of the many keys to success.
MMORPG: Why Kickstarter? What is the money for?
IOG: Let's just get this out of the way, our goal of $40,000 is not enough to make a game of this complexity by itself. Fortunately, our core team has saved enough money to self fund ourselves through the entire development cycle. This means we won't be making a penny from this Kickstarter campaign. Instead, the money raised will go towards areas like audio, music, and animation. The areas that are outside our wheel house. As we're nearing our 4th stretch goal already, the additional funds will go towards hiring temporary help on both the art side and the programming side so that we can implement the new features without pushing back the release date while simultaneously improving the overall quality of the game.
MMORPG: What are some of the rewards for backing the Kickstarter?
IOG: The most exciting rewards are the ghosts and wraiths in my opinion. Backers who choose the ghost reward will have a ghost appear in game with their name. You can upgrade your ghost to a wraith to cause even more carnage in other player's games. There's something sinister about being the cause of death for other adventurers, and the response to these tiers has been great!
Other rewards give backers a chance to craft their own in game item, or become a dead adventurer with their own backstory and backpack full of goodies for others to find. You can even create your own scourge or main playable character (these are currently all sold out). We really wanted the community to get involved in the design of this game, and these designer tiers allow for just that. We'll obviously make sure everything fits into the FTK universe, but we're asking backers to be creative.
We're also offering several Kickstarter exclusive skins (cosmetic only) for hats, helmets, backpacks, even undead player skins, so you can adventure in style!
MMORPG: What are some of the other projects this team has worked on?
IOG: Our team has over 27 years of experience in the video game industry. We've worked at such companies as Klei, Microsoft, United Front Games, Propaganda, EA, Capcom (formerly Blue Castle), among others. We've worked on titles like Sleeping Dogs, Ryse, Turok, Dead Rising 2, Need For Speed Series, Little Big Planet Karting, among many others. Our diverse background and experience is one of the reasons we're confident that we can deliver a tight, polished, and fun experience. This is very much a passion project for us and an homage to the RPG genre.