Zaharia [indie turn based rpg]
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Zaharia [indie turn based rpg]
November 11th, 2013, 17:58
Hi, I’m Nathan, game designer and writer of Zaharia, I’m starting this thread to introduce Zaharia, an RPG with an oriental flavor that we’ve been developing for some time.
: Inner Void Interactive
: Isometric RPG with turn based combat
Huge wall of text to follow
An original and well-structured setting
For this game we started from scratch to create an original fantasy setting, which is different in appearance as it is in essence. To make this setting we didn’t take inspiration from the European Middle Age with the addition of some monsters and magic; instead, we took inspiration from late Medieval Persia and Arabia, creating a cultural context that is extremely different from what we can find in most of the fantasy-based settings. In fact, in a typical fantasy plot there’s the theme of a great but now disappeared past, where magic (and often elves) had a glory now faded. The cultural set-up we wanted to give to the setting is the one that characterized the European modern age: a world which is living an age of growth and development.
The game is set in Zaharia, a coastal territory that lived under a foreign domination for long time. Recently it experienced its ascent thanks to the Prophet, an individual that wasn’t only able to set free the Zaharian people from the foreign power, but also managed to innovate the religion and the culture of the nation, being able to unite the whole Zaharia under the same huge and powerful empire.
An innovative magical system
Unlike many other RPGs, the mage won’t simply be the fantasy version of a rocket launcher, but instead he will be a symbol of wisdom and knowledge. In Zaharia, as well as in the rest of the world, mages aren’t soldiers or adventurers. They’re mainly wise and studious people who train their mind for a long time to reveal the secrets of the universe, to understand universal laws and to observe the world through the language of science. That means that in the game, the mage will have a totally different role from the one he normally has: in fact he will be a character that will mostly have a supporting role during battles; outside battles, however, he’ll manage to show all his abilities, being able to overcome situations with the power of his mind, with the force of his magic and also thanks to his social and political weight.
A more absolute concept of balance
In many RPGs, balance is something that only concerns the battle: each class or character is created in order to serve a key role inside battles, even if this is contradictory with the setting. Our intentions are completely different and balance will be something more absolute, so that battles will be an element inside a bigger scheme. There will be a huge amount of abilities for the character, which will be able to solve a problem not only with violence, but even using his dialectic, his magic, his problem-solving skills, sneaky approaches or in general his own characteristics and abilities. This is the way we want balance to be and each character will have strong and weak points depending on the context he finds himself into. That’s the reason why the world’s greatest warrior won’t stand a chance against he who’s able to destroy him politically, while the most prestigious and powerful mage of all Zaharia will easily fall pray to a group of mercenaries in battle.
A free but not empty game
We see too often the making of games that promise absolute freedom, endless different activities to do and tons of characters to meet. Unfortunately, these features are almost always realized without proper care, or in most cases they are just randomly generated. In Zaharia we’ll try to offer a large freedom to the player for interpretation and action, but that doesn’t mean we won’t take care of personalizing the characters (even the less important ones), to create engaging stories in a living and coherent world. Our purpose is that of modeling the experience around the player’s choices, in a way that for every action there will be a very tangible consequence in the game’s world. The player will be free to choose his own way to act, and the game will consistently interpret these choices offering a good and effective feedback.
A rich and varied gameplay
Battles won’t be the core of the game and the player will be able to decide how to face each situation, choosing from the most violent approaches (like fighting, threating, murdering), to some more diplomatic ones (like dialogue, coercion, and the use of allies or political connections), or even more discrete ways (for example theft or infiltration).
In line with the chosen character, there will be several approaches available to proceed with the game, and different advantages or disadvantages for every chosen path. That means that the player will have to think hard to understand the context and then choose the option he judges the best between all the options given depending on his skills. In Zaharia there will be no “click to win”, the only way to go on in the game will be to reason. A character profile featuring high skills won’t be enough, if the skills are not properly used.
An original combat system
The concept of our combat system is different from the one we used to see in some RPGs, since it’s related to the strong idea of avoiding to insert inside the game a growth that could be only vertical. The battles in the game will be somehow plausible, let’s then forget the characters that take 10 critical hits without dying, or the explosions that aren’t even able to hurt a human being because of the rules used in the game. The gameplay we want to create will constantly remind the player of the mortality of his character: in fact, even though the characters will level up several times, that doesn’t mean that one could just throw himself inside a battle careless of his health, since even the weakest enemy, in the right conditions, can be able to cause problems to a skilled warrior. In addition, all this allow us to avoid the classic problem of constantly having to balance battles, to make enemies level up together with the player unrealistically.
Here is a simple list of all the main features of the game:
• 3D Isometric Graphics;
• Turn-based battles, based on a proprietary rule system;
• Nonlinearity in the narrative and interpretative aspects, allowing the player not only to choose which quest to start from, without urgent obligations, but also to make a lot of choices and then solve a problem in more than one way;
• A fallout-like open world;
• Lots of choices and consequences that dynamically influence the context of the game;
• A huge variety of abilities and statistics to manage, in order to craft and personalize one’s own alter-ego in every possible aspect;
• An original setting created from scratch, completely different from the usual fantasy worlds and inspired to the late Medieval Persia and Arabia;
• An original combat system with dynamic and tactical battles;
• Living NPCs, provided with an IA that allows them to react dynamically to the player’s actions and to create really deep interpersonal relationships;
• A coherent and plausible world that doesn’t give in to compromises with the market and will never give senseless situations to the player;
• No fillers, like useless fights, made to extend the game’s longevity in artificial ways;
• Presence of mature themes like slavery, sexuality, racism, theology, philosophy, morality, politics, and so on;
• Five main factions to choose, each one deeply characterized and different from the others;
• Innovative magic system that turns mages into something different from just portable siege machines;
• Extreme personalization of the game experience for the player, who’ll be able to choose in every detail the difficulty of the game, the composition of the User Interface and the presence of helps and tips;
• Fights aren’t obligatory in most cases, and it won’t be necessary to use a character who can fight to end the game;
• Tons of multiple choice dialogues, in order to grant the player a large range of interpretations;
• An incredibly huge number of interpretative and gaming approaches;
• A gameplay that will constantly test the player’s abilities, in all its aspects;
• No moral dualism.
Here are some screenshots of a pre-alpha version of the game:
tons of images
Here are some artworks and concepts made by our artists:
tons of images
In our Dev. Diaries we examined in depth some of the contents related to the game, and through them we’ll constantly release news and details about the game and its development.
General setting overview
The world and the player
The characters and their skills
What platforms will Zaharia be on?
Zaharia will be on PC (Windows, Linux, Mac). It’s also possible a Tablet version, but only after the PC game release, since PC is the reference platform.
What is the present stage of the game’s development? What should we expect?
The development is still at an early stage, but soon we’ll release a prototype that will show some features of the game.
When will the game be released?
Not before the end of 2014.
Will you use crowdfunding platforms?
Yes, soon we’ll start a crowdfunding campaign.
How many languages will the game be translated into?
The two reference languages at the moment are English and Italian. We don’t exclude adding further languages in the future.
Will the game have a multiplayer mode?
No, Zaharia will be a single player experience and we’ll only focus on this aspect of the game, to make it as coherent and deep as possible.
I will be available to answer any question, but forgive me in advance for any murder attempt of the english language, I'm not a native.
"When we die, Dak'kon, it shall be the same death. It shall be the Pronouncement of Two Deaths As One."
Last edited by OwNathan; November 11th, 2013 at
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