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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Ossian Studios - The Shadow Sun Interview

Default Ossian Studios - The Shadow Sun Interview

November 28th, 2010, 02:57
A site called Gamezebo has interviewed Alan Miranda and Luke Scull from Ossian about their upcoming iPhone RPG, The Shadow Sun. Here's a nice bit on the inspiration:
In terms of literary influence, you've mentioned the work of HP Lovecraft lending inspiration for the game's fear of the unknown. What other influences helped you create the world of The Shadow Sun?
Luke: I wanted a setting that eschewed high fantasy in favour of a gritty, more realistic world. At the same time, full-on grimdark has now itself become something of a cliché. It's important to focus on the fantastical aspect as well as the political scheming, moral ambiguity, and visceral combat that have become so popular in the wake of the success of A Song of Ice and Fire novels, as well as The Witcher and Dragon Age games. Hence, while the world of The Shadow Sun is a complex, brutal place full of vying groups, nations, and unimaginable horrors, it is also one full of incredible beauty that has been torn apart and reshaped through centuries of devastating magic and a continent-shattering cataclysm. I suppose the Malazan series most heavily influenced the world design, with the cities of present-day nations standing on the bones of those which preceded it. China Miéville's Bas-Lag novels demonstrated how horror could be worked into a fantasy setting that pushes the creative envelope rather than falling back on the usual tropes: you won't find any elves, dwarves, or orcs in The Shadow Sun setting. Most of the humanoid races in our world lack the merest shred of humanity. Finally, I'm a big fan of British author Joe Abercrombie and his cynical, darkly ironic humour. I wanted to work some of that into The Shadow Sun.
Alan: For me, The Shadow Sun would be a return to pre-Tolkien fantasy, one without elves, dwarves, etc. that have become so heavily embedded in almost all fantasy RPGs. By pre-Tolkien, I’m specifically referring to Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories. There is something I find particularly attractive about that “raw” fantasy: a world of early human civilizations, with all their ruthless politics and semi-barbarity, where those who wield magic are few, surrounded in mystique, and typically command greater influence. A world that is inhabited by savage creatures but remains for the most part unknown to humanity (it is the unknown that instills fear). This blends well with Luke’s inspirations, particularly the Malazan books, in which a primarily human world is embroiled in conflict.
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November 28th, 2010, 02:57
A development studio referencing the Malazan Book of the Fallen as a world design inspiration? They officially have my attention.
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November 28th, 2010, 03:11
All these wonderful words about an iPhone game. It almost hurts.
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November 28th, 2010, 04:39
Looking forward to this. The iPhone is a great gaming platform, but it lacks a game like this.
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November 28th, 2010, 05:40
Originally Posted by darkling View Post
All these wonderful words about an iPhone game. It almost hurts.
I'll be looking at the iPad version myself. I'm platform-eclectic — I own a gaming PC, a 360, a PS3 and an iPad. If a game is good, it's good. (And, of course, if it's bad it's bad.)

I think the iPad in particular would be an excellent platform for old-school turn-based indie CRPGs, if only people would be willing to pay more than 99 cents for a deeper, richer gaming experience.
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November 28th, 2010, 06:30
Since my girlfriend and I refuse to give out our credit card number to get an account on Itunes I won't be able to get this. If I had known they would require that I would have waited till we could get a better phone like the one from Samsung.

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November 28th, 2010, 06:52
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
Since my girlfriend and I refuse to give out our credit card number to get an account on Itunes I won't be able to get this. If I had known they would require that I would have waited till we could get a better phone like the one from Samsung.
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November 28th, 2010, 06:54
Online stores like Steam do not require me to give them my credit card to create an account. That is where I draw the line.

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November 28th, 2010, 08:41
Originally Posted by khaight View Post
A development studio referencing the Malazan Book of the Fallen as a world design inspiration? They officially have my attention.
He quotes several 'non-traditional' fantasy books (all favorites of mine too) - easy to claim inspiration, less easy to pull off. If you stray too far from what the masses want, your game won't sell very well, sadly. Pity this is iPhone/iPad only - that rules me out.
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November 28th, 2010, 10:00
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
Since my girlfriend and I refuse to give out our credit card number to get an account on Itunes I won't be able to get this.
FWIW, I believe CitiBank credit cards have an account feature that allows you to create 'one-time' numbers linked to your master account, and to limit the maximum charge that can be applied to that number. So create a one-time number with a maximum limit of a dollar and use it to open an iTunes account. Or is this more an objection-on-principle?
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November 28th, 2010, 11:52
Thanks for that, but check out where I'm living

There are "special" rules when getting a credit card if you're a foreigner. On top of that the banks don't have the same features as those in America or even Europe (I would believe). For instance there are no checking accounts. I once cashed a check over here and they looked at me like I was an alien (which I am ). I had to sign a bunch of forms and wait over a month for it to go through.

It's not so much an objection-on-principle, but an objection that I don't want to give my credit card to sign up for an account. It's just too complicated to get a credit card over here that I'm not giving out that number unless I'm actually buying something.

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November 28th, 2010, 16:24
I wanted a setting that eschewed high fantasy in favour of a gritty, more realistic world.
Oh, yet another grim game ? How creative !

-1
At the same time, full-on grimdark has now itself become something of a cliché.
At least he sees it, too.

+1

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November 28th, 2010, 18:05
Dont lose hope he stated on the forums that a game will eventually be made for the pc from the funds earned from the ipad version.

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November 28th, 2010, 19:35
I had hoped that limitations of controlling your character on a touch-screen interface would lead to a slew of turn-based RPGs for iWhatever platforms, but I guess not.

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November 29th, 2010, 11:10
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
Since my girlfriend and I refuse to give out our credit card number to get an account on Itunes I won't be able to get this. If I had known they would require that I would have waited till we could get a better phone like the one from Samsung.
Can't you just get iTunes gift cards in Taiwan? If not, how about getting them on eBay and creating an American iTunes account? You definitely do *not* have to link your credit card number to your iTunes account. Google for it.
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November 29th, 2010, 12:16
I googled it and you can create an account with gift cards. Funny I never heard of them for itunes. They don't have them at the 7/11s that's for sure, but maybe at the Mac dealerships. There are quite a few of them around here. I'll check that out. Thanks, Thaurin.

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November 29th, 2010, 12:51
I'm in Any game that references China Mieville's work as an inspiration has my interest, and I don't even own an iPhone yet.
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November 29th, 2010, 12:53
I'm a Lovecraft fan, so I'll check this out - even while lamenting the platform.
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November 29th, 2010, 14:11
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I'm a Lovecraft fan, so I'll check this out - even while lamenting the platform.
I am hoping this is one of those games that pushes perceptions and expectations for the platform … While I have no issues with gaming on the iPhone / iPad, I understand the points you've made before and hope this game provides a type of experience that expands the hardcore gaming possibilities.

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November 29th, 2010, 14:30
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
I am hoping this is one of those games that pushes perceptions and expectations for the platform … While I have no issues with gaming on the iPhone / iPad, I understand the points you've made before and hope this game provides a type of experience that expands the hardcore gaming possibilities.
Great games can exist on any platform, and I've already seen great games on my iPod. That said, I haven't as of yet played a good "deep" game, that I wouldn't rather be playing on my PC - using it to its advantage.

I REALLY don't see any way around this, and great games will ALWAYS be better on the stronger platform, unless those games are SPECIFICALLY tailored to the strengths of the platform.

Stretching my imagination to the limit, I simply can't come up with a half-way decent CRPG that wouldn't work MUCH better if tailored to the strengths of a PC - rather than the strengths of a smartphone.

I'm not saying it's impossible - I'm just saying that I can't imagine it, no matter how hard I try.

If, one day, a CRPG should be released that my PC wouldn't do much better - I'll concede there's a proper reason to play on the platform - beyond the "cutesy" factor.

Until that time, I'll consider serious gaming on a smartphone as a fad that will last only as long as the gamers insist on forgetting what they're actually doing.

However, for "cute" games and for a variety of other purposes - I think smartphones and similar gadgets have good reasons to exist.
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