Earthlock: Festival of Magic - All News
Saturday - March 26, 2016
Earthlock - Kickstarter Update
Kickstarter update #44 for Earthlock: Festival of Magic:
In This Update
- Progression Report
- My GDC Experience
- Our Current Thoughts On Our Release Plans
As scheduled, back in February we were more or less done the game, but we felt there was missing some flow. With you guys in mind we made the decision to add a few more dungeons as well as tweaking the beginning and ending of the game. Dedicating this month and the next to those tasks, we can feel the growing level of consistent quality throughout the whole game. Once the entire game is up to our standards, which we plan it to be by the end of April, we can fully dedicate our time to the console certification processes. If that goes smoothly we’ll have a summer release date.
My GDC Experience
Introduced in the previous updates, I’m Andrew, Snowcastles’ new PR and Marketing Manager. Though I’ve been addicted to video games my whole life and know my fair share about the gaming industry, none of this prepared me for what my first GDC experience was. For those of you who have been, well, you know what’s like. But for those of you who haven’t, I’ll try and summarize my experience in a short paragraph. This place was massive, I’m talking two enclosed rooms the size of a football field, filled with everything that is gaming. You had indie teams from around the world mixed with some of the biggest industry leaders. Now fill these rooms with thousands of gaming fanatics and you get GDC.
Our booth was located in the GDC Play area of the event where we were lucky enough to meet quite a few of you guys. Shout out to the guys from Hex Heroes who brought us some well needed food to get us through the last few hours. It was an awesome experience. Though I did feel like I was drowning a bit in the craziness of GDC at times, I was able to meet some industry veterans and key members of the press. All in all, it was everything you’d expect from a gaming conference and so much more. By the way, got to try Oculus Rift’s Valkyrie Multiplayer simulator… Can confidently say I will be losing quite a few hours of my life to that once I can eventually get my hands on one of those bad boys.
Friday - December 11, 2015
Earthlock - Backer Alpha Launched
Somehow I missed this one, but an exclusive backer alpha launched early in November for Earthlock: Festival of Magic. Thanks, Couch!
Friday - August 14, 2015
Earthlock - Status Update
In a new status update for Earthlock: The Festival of Magic we are informed that they have won a 13.5K$ award, have enlisted a few new team members, are on track for a september alpha/beta release on Steam, planned to release the game in February-April, have a budget of just below $2M and they are progressing with this:
Tons of more monsters, animations and characters are making their way into the game. It’s really fun to see the weekly changes. Our outsourcing partner Original Force are still delivering high quality, albeit a little behind schedule. It’s not really a problem yet and we’d rather have high quality work.
Our new 3D environment artist, Matthew has gotten into the way we work now so we are getting lots of new environments into the game as well.
Eiko is working on several new scores.
Thomas is still working on combat abilities, skills and monster balancing, Eivind and Kenny are implementing the code to support this.
Frits and Fredrik are pouring out cool textures for the characters and monsters as well as concept art for unfinished areas. It is quite obvious that the Artbook is going to be pretty thick when we are done.
Magnus and Frits has made some minor changes to the story, tweaking the experience for the better. Fredrik is working on implementing the story changes into the game.
Bendik is working with publishers, investors and recruitment.
Tuesday - July 21, 2015
Earthlock - Preview @ N4G
N4G's Inide Game Month previews Earthlock: Festival of Magic.
Earthlock: Festival of Magic is a very colorful and charming turn-based RPG that wonderfully marries elements that make a game of this genre so enjoyable. During my playthrough, I couldn’t help but notice Earthlock’s subtle nods towards Pokemon, Disney and Fable while dancing down its own brilliantly carved path, highlighting a unique, but familiar and appreciated take on a beloved genre and theme.
The story follows a cast of interesting and creatively designed characters on a quest to discover the secrets of Umbra, a world that has eerily stopped spinning. Despite the mysterious and ominous theme surrounding the game, it is an absolutely gorgeous world with lovely, complementing color palettes and a keen sense of detail and accents. It’s exceedingly appealing and is certainly a world I could spend quite a lot of time in.
Monday - June 29, 2015
Earthlock - June Development Update
From the June development update for Earthlock we learn that the team has grown with the addition of a 3D environement artist, receive some info on character design and get a bit of information on the plans for alpha testing.
Monday - June 22, 2015
Earthlock - Developer Update
Missed this one before, but almost a month ago there was another development update for Earhlock: Festival of Magic, which provides a progress report of various topics.
In the last month we have gotten a new team member, Øyvind Mathisen, who is helping out with sound implementation. Now Jory and Øyvind will make sure we will get the proper sound effects into the game.
We have almost completed the process of hiring a much needed new environment artist as well.
Character design and production
We are also preparing the first bulk of 3d characters to be produced by Original Force. We will elaborate on this as we get the results back, but in the mean time here is a sample of one of many NPC character designs.
Thomas has been going over all the combat mechanics, stats and abilities and is making great progress.
Overworld and level design
Fredrik and Bendik have completed blocking out the entire game now. All the scenes are in and getting filled with props and content. There is still a lot to do, but we have a very good feel with the scope of the game.
Story and Comic Book
Magnus has been sparring with the team, and is tweaking the story so it is becoming even better. He is starting preproduction on the story for the next game; Earthlock: The Final Memory.
Emerson has also completed the comic book now. We are super pleased with the results and look forward to sharing that with our backers who opted in for that.
We feel really happy about progress but we are still not quite ready to invite any external people to play test yet. We will let you know as soon as we are ready.
Friday - April 24, 2015
Earthlock - One Year Anniversary Update
Snowcastle Games next post-funding update celebrates the one year anniversary of Earthlock: Festival of Magic, and talks about the games development progress.
A year has passed since we successfully ended the Kickstarter. We have come a long way since then. The team has grown, and we have become better at what we do. The scope of the project has in most ways remained the same, but we have adjusted here and refined there.
Friday - April 10, 2015
Earthlock - Preview @ Averagen Nobodys
I found a new website called Average Nobodys that has a new preview of Developer Snowcastle Games funded kickstarter JRPG game Earthlock: Festival of Magic.
In all honesty, I’m not the biggest fan of the RPG genre. More often than not, the play styles and overall gaming experiences tend to feel exactly the same without much variation between them. with that being said, based on everything I’ve seen and heard, this doesn’t look like it’ll fall in line with all the others. EARTHLOCK: Festival of Magic has built up a beautiful world in which to set the game, while developing a dynamic team of heroes that you ultimately come to rely on as a team. One of the best features of the game is the way the team is comes together to pair up their attacks to unleash killer combos, even bette your enemies can do the same.
Sunday - March 29, 2015
Earthlock - New Trailer & Progress Update
Snowcastle Games released a new trailer for Earthlock: Festival of Magic.
Footage from the demo showcased at GDC 2015.
The developer also released a new progress update on its kickstarter page.
Since GDC we have been busy with:
- Moving the project from Unity4.6 to Unity5
- Changed Version System to Perforce
- Cleaned up the whole project removing unused assets and obsolete elements.
- The art team is busy making new concept art for all the areas that still need to make it into the game. Here's a sample:
It has been a bit tedious, but now that it is done, we feel lighter and are ready to take on the last part of the journey.
Saturday - March 21, 2015
Earthlock - Interview @ Zoot Plays
A small blog by the name of Zoot Plays had the chance to interview Lead Producer Bendik Stang about, and talk about his JRPG game Earthlock: Festival of Magic.
Zoot: “Earthlock” doesn’t have a subtle world, but a bright, beautiful, and bold one– full of ambitious and unique features. With games these days seemingly on course for dark, dystopian futures, why did your team decide to go the opposite route, and do you see that as a risk?
Bendik Stang: It’s very simple – we like universes like this. That said, and without giving away too much of the story, I can reveal that we also have some dark dystopian undertones lurking in the shadows.
Zoot: Many studios these days are continually try to reinvent the RPGS. Your team have wanted to keep “Earthlock” traditional to early Japanese RPG design (ie turn-based, random battles, etc.). Was there a sense that “traditional” is a dying art or were there other reasons behind the choice of game Style?
Bendik Stang: We have taken what we think is the best core gameplay for telling stories and then done our own kind if improvements on that. We do not have random battles though, you will see the enemy and often be able to sneak by if you so prefer. The main focus for us is to tell a great story with memorable characters so that our players will remember and love our game in years to come. To do this we also need a cool combat system, exploration and crafting that immerses the player into the Earthlock universe.
Sunday - March 01, 2015
Earthlock - Release Date Pushed Back
Snowcastle Games posted a post-funding update for Earthlock: Festival of Magic with information the games release has been pushed back, and gives a progress report.
Release Date Pushed: (October 2015)
In Developer Update #27 we pushed the release date until the end of June 2015. Over the last 6 months we've been able to see that our production speed is slower than we anticipated. We have tried to look at gameplay features and content that we might cut so we could stick to the release date in June, but we feel the game will suffer from it. Instead we think it is better to push the release to October this year. The last thing we want is to release the game before it is done.
One of the reasons that development is slower than anticipated is that were counting on having more people on the team. Recruitment is not the easiest, and so staffing up has taken longer than hoped. Our new veteran team member is starting work in the beginning of March.
Saturday - February 21, 2015
Earthlock - Interview @ GamingBolt
Rashid Sayed of GamingBolt published a new interview with Director Bendik Stang, and talk about his funded JRPG game called Earthlock: Festival of Magic.
Rashid Sayed: Do you guys have a solid release date in mind?
Bendik Stang: We hit some delays in production this fall when we had some trouble finding the perfect outsourcing partner for this production. We have since started collaborating with a company called Original Force, and we’re wildly enthusiastic with what they’re delivering. Working with them has certainly sped things up! With the current scope of the game we are looking at a release in Q3 this year. It’s a matter of manpower and scope, and we really do not want to cut down on the scope to deliver earlier. We want to release the game as close to what we envisioned as possible.
Rashid Sayed: Are there any plans to support the game post launch via DLC?
Bendik Stang: Well, for each new game in the series the world will be expanded and new features will be added. First there is Festival of Magic, then there is The Last Memory and finally there is The Awakening. We are already beginning pre-production planning for The Last Memory this spring.
Wednesday - December 24, 2014
Earthlock - Post-Funding Update # 31
Snowcastle Games latest post-funding update for Earthlock contains more information about the games development, and talks about the upcoming Beta.
Demo to publishers: We are in talks with several publishers and are hoping to sign a pre-order deal for the game by the end of Q1 2015. If we manage to do this we will get a lot more funds to spend on more content for Episode 1.Steam Early Access? We have been considering putting Earthlock on Steam Early Access, and will continue to evaluate this. It does feel like a really good way for us to get alpha and beta feedback on the gameplay. Getting updates automatically distributed and so on. What do you think?GDC Planning: We will be going to GDC in San Francisco the first week of March 2015 and will be preparing to show off the game. We hope some of you might also join us at the expo and get your hands on a printed Comic Book.
Wednesday - October 22, 2014
Earthlock - October Kickstarter Update
Snowcastle Games next post-funding update for Earthlock: Festival of Magic is a new development update that gives a sneak peak of the the game.
Progression - Combat Gameplay
We're forging ahead with the combat ideas we had last month and have implemented a lot of it. We've also gotten some help on the maths behind all the stuff that goes on during combat with damage dealing, experience points and all that stuff from the math wiz Andreas Bretteville who has a lot of experience from, among other things, Age of Conan and The Secret World. It's been great to have another set of eyes on our stuff and we're making adjustments based on his input as this update is being typed out!
In last months update, we mentioned that we would show you the combat gameplay in this update. In short, it's not ready to show. Sorry! We have decided to wait with this until it looks really good. Instead we will show you some other place we have made good progress:
We're constantly producing new visual assets for the game, and we wanted to give you guys a little sneak peek of a new area in the game and talk a little about how a very small team has to work in order to get to a good visual polish.
At a point you'll find yourself in an old villa taken over by pirate lizards called "Droogos", and here are a few things from that process!
Saturday - September 13, 2014
Earthlock - September Progress Report
Snowcastle Games has posted the September update for Earthlock: Festival of Magic.
Progression - Combat Gameplay
It feels like we have had a slow progression this last month, but we have not been idle. It’s just that we have spent a lot of time working on the combat gameplay and some of the things we tried out did sound like a good idea at the time, but after playtesting we did not get the right vibe, so we rolled back and tried some of the other ideas.
We finally got to a point where we feel we have some cool combat gameplay. It feels new and familiar at the same time. Our programmers are working on getting this combat design implemented properly in-game and we have decided to wait until the next update before we show how it works.
Story and Quests
Meanwhile Magnus, our story writer has polished the main quest line and he has also made several side quests.
Here is a little message from Magnus:
“I really believe that the magic of the story, together with the world itself, comes from the characters. Our main narrative and our main quests firmly lock the characters and the world together, of course, but I also wanted the primary sidequests to have a strong bearing on character and reveal more about our heroes. These sidequests aren’t mandatory to completing the game, obviously, but they are designed in a way to really give you the player a stronger connection to the characters, to the world and its history, and also heighten the gameplay. We have given our heroes a lot of personality and a rich, meaningful history, and we hope you’ll take them on all the adventures you find throughout Umbra to get to know them as you know your friends. But, like in real life, friends have secrets too…” - Magnus
Concept Art - Artwork
Fridtjof and Fredrik have been creating a bunch of character designs that we will be sending over for 3D modelling and animation soon. We’ve boxed out a bunch of new areas in the game engine, and they are hard at work designing and making projection maps for those areas as well. If you missed our last post where we talked about projection mapping, it can be found here.
Thursday - August 21, 2014
Earthlock - Post-Funding Update #27
The 27th update for Earthlock: Festival of Magic from Snowcastle Games brings us infomation on the combat system, and the progress of the games comic book.
Hey everyone! We're back from a very much needed vacation for the whole studio and have picked up right where we left off. We're currently iterating and playtesting our new combat system, we have an improved way of building our larger exterior scenes and Magnus have been working away at both the script for the game and the comic book!
We have pictures and more detail in the new Developer Diary section of our forum!
You don't need an account to see the update. For all the backers, we have a closed backers-only forum where we'll be showing more behind the scenes and juicy bits.
Thursday - July 03, 2014
Earthlock - Post-Funding Update #26
The 26th update for Earthlock: Festival of Magic brings us news on new team members, combat testing. and information the games forum are finally up.
New Senior Game Programmer
We are very happy to announce that Kenneth Backus has joined our team today! He is our new Senior Game Programmer and will help speed up production with his awesome coding skills. Kenneth has worked on Far Cry 4, The Secret World, and Age of Conan, so he knows what he is doing!
Comic Book - Artists chosen
Out of nearly 100 applicants, Manuel Bracchi from Italy and Emerson Dimaya from the Philippines will be drawing and colouring the comic book. Two fantastic artists with their own unique touch. And to top it off we’re pleased to include letterer and designer Rachel Deering to our team. The book will feature two adventures. Manuel will draw Ive’s story while Emerson will be sending Amon out on a perilous journey.
Testing combat movement concept
We are currently prototyping some really exciting new combat mechanics. As you can see in the photo below we made a physical board game prototype to get a feel for the gameplay basics - and we had a blast! Expect further details in a couple of months.
The forum is now up, and you can log in here.
Sunday - June 01, 2014
Earthlock - Nordic Game Conference
Snowcastle Games latest post-funding update for Earthlock: Festival of Magic shares a few highlights from the game at the Nordic Game Conference 2014.
Nordic Game Conference 2014
As some of you may know we went to the Nordic Game Conference in Malmö last week! We had a great time learning from and hanging out with lots of awesome people that like to make games.
We figured we could share some of the highlights for us with you all! We got a bunch of inspiration and affirmation that we’re headed in the right direction with Earthlock, which feels great!
Friday - May 16, 2014
Earthlock - Recover, Cleanup & Continue
Snowcastle Games has a new post-funding update for Earthlock: Festival of Magic with a recap of the games development, and production.
Recover, Cleanup, Continue
As eager as we are to get back to things, we needed to do a few things first.
Having survived the Kickstarter campaign, we have had to take care of a few things before jumping back into full production mode again.
Here is the simplified list:
- Avoiding burnout by taking a vacation (Check)
- Complete undone tasks that were pushed aside during Kickstarter (Check)
- Tax papers, accounting and reporting (Check)
- Request funds from Kickstarter and the Norwegian Film Institute (Check & 80%)
- Update production plan (50%)
- Backer survey, backer management (Waiting)
- Continue Production (Resiliently Waiting)
- Contact Creative Tier Backers and begin the creative process with the backers. (Waiting)
Post Kickstarter funding
We are going to continue the funding campaign for Earthlock on our website and reach a few more stretch goals that way. The work has begun on a new site layout and we will shortly move the 'Kickstarter' page to the archive. This means that those who did not get the add-ons they wanted or their Amazon payment failed, should hurry and get it now as not all options will be available on the new webpage.
Backer Survey / Backer Management
We have not yet sent out a survey asking you for the details of your pledge. We are sorting out the last details of how to go about this in the most sensible way. We should be ready to do so in a few weeks. This took longer than anticipated since we first intended to go with Backerkit, but were advised not to by some friends with lots of experience with KS.
Story / Lore
Something we would like to share with you all about some work getting back to production; Two weeks ago, we had our screenwriter - Magnus Aspli - in the office for a work-weekend with the team.
We sat down Friday morning and worked through the story of the whole Earthlock Trilogy - which was extremely fun, but very mentally exhausting to do in such a short time! Although we have done lots of work on this internally over the last 18 months we had not locked down all the details of the story. We had tons of ideas, concepts and story parts loosely connected in a way that we knew the outcome, but the connections were tenuous.
Well, after three long days and evenings of being locked in the office together, we managed to nail down all the details of Festival of Magic and the most important parts for the two sequels! With Magnus' experience and skills, we were super efficient getting everything in to place. We are really proud of the story now! It has everything we like in a good story and we can't wait to share tidbits of this with you in the coming months in teaser form.
We are just staring to design all the exciting places around the world of Umbra. Here is Fredrik working on an area called Ramoo Island. He is done with his cleaning up tasks and can now go back to creating cool stuff. That is it for this time! Next up is the Nordic Game Convention in Malmö, Sweeden that we will be attending next week. Hopefully we will learn a lot of useful tricks there.
Thursday - April 24, 2014
Earthlock - Shoutout & Paypal Update
Snowcastle Games has a new post-funding update for Earthlock: Festival of Magic with a shoutout for new kickstartes, and gives information on the amount of paypal pledges.
Shoutout to our friends and Paypal update.
Paypal Pledges: $2 760
We will keep the Paypal totals updated on www.fomgame.com
Remaining for Crafting System stretch goal: $29 047
Almost all backers have gotten their payments processed and we are very soon ready to send out invite to our pledge manager.
We just want to reiterate that in the pledge manager you will able to provide us with your shipping address, inform us of which add-ons you want for your add-on amount and which platforms you want your games on. You will also be able to add more Add-Ons if you want, so it is not too late at all to get ahold of our newest Add-On the Art book.
Friday - April 18, 2014
Earthlock - Post-Funding Update #21
Snowcastle Games gives out more information on how they will be handling the Post-Campaign for Earthlock: Festival of Magic in the latest kickstarter update.
General Information for Post-Campaign Handling
This update will cover some general information about pledges, add-ons, rewards and Paypal as well as to hopefully address some of your most pressing questions about the post-campaign experience.
We are currently in the process of collecting the pledge funds from everyone. This process will take about two weeks to give backers some time to fix any issues they may have had with the initial transfer.
After the initial two weeks (this is an estimate) and if the system is ready we will be sending out invites to all kickstarter backers and Paypal backers to our Pledge Manager. The Pledge Manager is a system for us to manage all backers, pledges, and rewards and is not part of Kickstarter (as a company) itself.
In the pledge manager, you will be able to select which add-ons you want for your pledge, add-on funds if you want more than you had allotted during the kickstarter, supply us with your shipping address (if you have pledged for any physical rewards), and select the platform you want the game on for each of your copies.
You will also be able to add more add-ons if you desire! So, for anyone who missed our late-campaign physical add-on announcements such as the art book or the Amon figure, there is no need to worry. You may add those in the Pledge Manager.
The Pledge Manager will also be used to manage digital reward distribution such as download links and unlock codes.
The invite for the Pledge Manager will be sent to the same email as the one receiving this update (the one registered with your Kickstarter account). That same email will also be registered to your pledge manager account. You will be able to change this email in the account settings in the pledge manager.
Our Paypal system is still live on www.fomgame.com and will be out until the end of the month of May. Anyone who was not able to back our kickstarter is more than welcome to support us through our Paypal site while this is active!
Please note that if you have backed us through Kickstarter then do not use the Paypal site to back us further as that would create duplicate accounts for you in the Pledge Manager. You will be able to back us further if you wish through the Add-On system in the Pledge Manager once that system is live.
Any additional funds we get through more add-ons in the Pledge Manager as well as new pledges through Paypal will go towards our Stretch Goals and we will keep you regularly updated on the total amount raised.
Rewards will not be sent out until the Pledge Manager system is live as that system is the easiest for us to manage and distribute rewards to our backers. Once the Pledge Manager goes live we will send out invites to our backers only section of our forum as well!
Alpha and Beta
We have had many of you asking about the projected Alpha and Beta schedule for Earthlock. We wanted to give you an idea of what we had in mind so far:
The Alpha testing phase is estimate to begin sometime late this year.
The Beta testing phase is estimated to begin early next year.
We will update with more specific dates once we get further in development and have more information.
Monday - April 14, 2014
Earthlock - Post-Funding Update # 20
You did it! The Journey can begin.
We made it! Counting with the Paypal pledges, we just passed $180,000 so we will now include the Orchestral Score!
You have entrusted us in the making of a great and wonderful game. Between the previous kickstart attempt and this 36 day campaign, this has been an incredible ride. We've learned a great deal and we are humbled by many of your wonderful comments of encouragement and devotion. This validation by you, our backers, means so much to us. It would not be an exaggeration to say that It is our dream come true to create a game that we love, but one we were able to inspire such passion an dedication in others. We will do our very best to not disappoint!
After reaching our goal at 1 a.m. local time here in Norway, the development team was sent home to rest and recover (after champagne, of course!).
I have slept, had breakfast, slept until lunch, had lunch, slept until dinner, and I'm now beginning to feel a bit more normal again. We will recover for a little longer and then begin the journey forward.
Please note that the campaign continues on www.fomgame.com via Paypal until at least through the end of May. We know there have been some who really wanted to support the game, but couldn't due to their own personal timing. We wanted to extend that option to anyone else who may want to support the game! We really hope we can reach another stretch goal before long through Paypal pledges. We will do our best to keep you apprised of any developments on that end! For now, we will certainly continue to spread the word and hope you will too.
Friday - April 11, 2014
Earthlock - Update# 18, Funded
I shared news yesterday that Earthlock: Festival of Magic was funded, and the developer Snowcastle Games has posted another update with more information.
We reached the goal!
To say that we are excited, humbled, relieved, and blissfully happy...honestly, just a wild array of emotions just does not seem adequate. We truly have the best backers in the world - now over 4100 of you! We would say that we are beyond words, but there is an update to get to! The ride - as wild as it has been the last 35 days - is not over yet. There is work yet to be done!
Thursday - April 10, 2014
Earthlock - Update# 17, 48 Hours Left
The next kickstarter update for Earthlock: Festival of Magic mentions the project has 48 hours left till it's closed. The other good news is the game was also funded.
48 HOURS LEFT
We do not want to jinx it, because this campaign is far from over – but today has performed well above expectations. We have had an incredible turnout today and a great showing of community by our loyal backers.
Thank you – each and every one of you – for getting Earthlock to such a healthy point for the 48-hour rush! It means the world to us that you are so passionate about this game we are developing.
Stretch goals are within reach with this funding level and tomorrow we will have an update or two where we discuss the first few stretch goals in more detail. We also have a reveal for a brand new add-on, but no spoilers for that tonight! You will have to be surprised!
Wednesday - April 09, 2014
Earthlock - Kickstarter Updates #15 & 16
Snowcastle Games has posted two more updates for Earthlock: Festival of Magic in the last two days. The first update is a look at one of the NPCs Ive Lavender.
Character Design: Ive Lavender
We are truly grateful for your support and encouraging comments. We are now into the final sprint to make this project come true!
When we first started developing the world in Earthlock we knew we wanted to have a strong female main character.Back then Ive was actually called Lavender and she had a Victorian outfit and was inspired by the Red Mages in the Final Fantasy’s job class system.
Harvesting and kittens!
Today we would like to talk a little about our crafting and harvesting system! (We'll get to the kittens further down in the post)
We have gone about this the organic way by allowing the player to plant various seeds that will grow into ammunition for the different characters. We wanted to give the player a base to come back to after each quest, a place to rest and prepare for the next journey.
The idea is to split up some of the character progression elements into object and plants on your home base.
Tuesday - April 08, 2014
Earthlock - Interview @ The Xbox Hub
The Xbox Hub interviews Game Director Bendik Stang of Snowcastle Games to talk about the developers recent Kickstarter RPG Earthlock: Festival of Magic.
So….sell it to us. Why should gamers back Earthlock: Festival of Magic on Kickstarter and then ultimately buy the game?
We’re scratching an itch we have ourselves for a colorful, vibrant, story-driven game. We also miss strict turn based combat in games, and it’s a really good fit for Earthlock. So if you’re into that as well, check us out! You can get the game for the Xbox One on the $20 tier, so you won’t need to buy it after supporting the kickstarter!
Where did the idea come from and were there any games which gave inspiration?
Earthlock came about after we had finished up our previous project, an interactive storybook/adventure game for kids called “Hogworld: Gnarts Adventure”.
We sat down and had a round table at the studio where we talked about what our dream project would be. We’re all big RPG fans at Snowcastle, and we all had stories of playing turn based RPGs when we were younger. So it felt like the only path we wanted to take. The initial idea for Earthlock came about shortly thereafter, I think in 2011, and we started prototyping that year.
The world, which is a post-catastrophe world with a strong sprinkling of steampunk, sort of grew organically out of what we as a group think is cool to work with. We draw from all sorts of influences. Between us we consume a wide variety of games, movies and books!
Sunday - April 06, 2014
Earthlock - Update# 14, $100K+ & New Tiers
Snowcastle Games has posted the next update for Earthlock: Festival of Magic that talks about reaching $100K, having 3000 backers, and mentions some new tiers.
$100K+ and 3000 backers strong, New Tiers, Amon's Brother and a mini interview with 'The Seed'
We have breached $100 000 and 3000 backers! We have said it before but we will say it as long as we can: You backers are amazing! Thank you so much for your continued support, help, and encouragement. We are getting ever closer to the goal and nearing the final stretch with 7 more days to go. With all of your help we can make this game be the best it absolutely can!
We wanted to introduce everyone to Amon's Brother (that is his name for now). This is actually Amon's original design, but as our story and world developed so did our main hero. This character will now be included as Amon's Brother an NPC in the story. He is holding what is called a magical plumpet. It is sort of a living spud which was a collectible in our previous game: Hogworld. He will be making a return in Earthlock as ammunition.
New Tiers and Reward Updates
Because we are closing in on the end of the campaign we have made a few reward adjustments.
We have added the BASIC ALPHA tier at $35 which contains the SUPPORTER TIER and an Invite to the Alpha testing. This is a tier for you who may not be that interested in neither the Art book, Comic Book or Soundtrack and just want as much game as possible.
The higher tiers do not include this new tier.
Lowered Tier Cost:
The MONSTER DESIGNER tier has been lowered to $400. This is your chance if you want to join us in creating a monster enemy for the game.
In-Game content adjustment:
1x DLC key for each copy of the game. If you choose any of the In-Game addons / rewards (Weapon, Vehicle Skin, Character Skins) you will receive one key for each copy of the game you pledge for.
If you are at the SUPPORTER tier and choose an extra game copy and In-Game content as an add-on you will receive 2x keys for the In-Game content. If you are at the EARTHLOCK SEQUELS tier which gives all In-Game content and 3x copies of the game you will get 3x keys for each of the In-Game content.
Friday - April 04, 2014
Earthlock - Update#13, The Dark Side
Snowcastle Games gives us a glimpse of the Dark Side of Earthlock: Festival of Magic in the games latest kickstarter update, and shares a new desktop wallpaper.
A Visit to the Dark Side
We wanted to show you some more of Umbra. In the last world update we focused on Zenit, the desert side of the planet. This time around we wanted to show you a couple of pieces of concept art from Nadir, the dark and cold side of the planet.
As Amon and Ive and their friends have unravelled a small part of the mystery of Umbra’s past, clues will eventually send them on a quest to the cold and treacherous - albeit mythically beautiful - Nadir, and into the depths of the ancient mining station above.
If you like the Mining Station concept art, here's a handy link to 1920x1080 desktop background version!
Wednesday - April 02, 2014
Earthlock - Update# 12, Turn Based Combat
Snowcastle Games has posted the twelfth update for Earthlock: Festival of Magic that has more information on how the game handles turn based combat. As for funding the game still needs to get $50,000 with only nine days left.
The joy of turn based combat!
We wanted to give you all a closer look at the combat systems. In this update we'll detail a little more about how combat works currently and future plans for improvements.
Please keep in mind that all of the systems detailed here may change during development based on feedback and testing.
We chose to go with turn based combat, first and foremost, because we all have fond memories of playing games featuring turn based combat. We wanted a strategic approach to combat and to let the players be able to take the time to think about their next move rather than stressing them out with active time hybrid models or real time combat. There is nothing wrong with either of the latter models, but we feel that turn based combat is a good fit for Earthlock.
- Turn based combat: plan your moves rather than reacting
- Combat Pairs access unique pair abilities
- Chaining of elemental attacks
- Enemy states change during combat
- Full control over all pairs during combat
Saturday - March 29, 2014
Earthlock - Update# 10, GDC & AMA
Snowcastle Games posted a new update for Earthlock: Festival of Magic were they recap their stay at GDC 2014, announce the AMA is still active , and shares a new video.
We're back from a great trip to GDC in San Francisco and wanted to share some of the stuff that happened with you all!
Frits and I had some great meetings Monday and also popped by the Unity booth to see where we had gotten space to show off Earthlock. Once it was all set up I took another picture of Frits. (It’s a rare thing to capture Frits with such a big smile on his face.)
The above video is a 1 minute teaser for Earthlock that we will be using in our communication with press. Feel free to share it to create interest.
The Ask Me Anything is still active - it is not to late!
Wednesday - March 26, 2014
Earthlock - Update# 9, New Reddit AMA
Snowcastle Games shares news they're doing anew Reddit AMA today, and has posted links to a few videos about the game in the latest kickstarter update.
AMA on Reddit tomorrow March 26th, 5pm EST
50% / $75 000
We have hit 50%! This is awesome! Thank you all for your support! We will continue to work as hard as we can to spread the word and get this kickstarter funded. We hope you will help us in this cause. Thank you again everyone!
We will be doing an AMA on www.reddit.com/r/iama tomorrow Wednesday at 5pm EST (GMT -5). We invite everyone to come on over and ask us anything. Ask us about the game, about the kickstarter project, about developing games in Norway, about our hobbies or anything else at all.
The more who come and ask questions the better the AMA will be, so tell all you know who might be interested!
Here are some of the channels and videos that have recently showcased our kickstarter/game. Check them out because they are awesome!
Thank you all. We really appreciate it!
Monday - March 24, 2014
Earthlock - Update# 8, New Reward Tier
The deveopler of Earthlock: Festival of Magic Snowcastle Games has information about a new physical USB add-on, and new reward tier in the latest update.
The Spudgun USB Flash Drive!
This is a Custom Rubber USB Flash Drive modeled after Amons iconic Spudgun which you can see him use to shoot magical harvested ammunition in the demo and in the battle video. It will come preloaded with a DRM free copy of the game for either PC, Mac or Linux depending on your choice.
To get this custom Flash Drive all you have to do is add $50 to your pledge in the pledge manager and stay on the same tier. Remember to add $5 if you need shipping outside of the USA. You will be able to log into our backerkit once the campaign is over and select which add-ons you want for your pledge.
Please note that this is not the only DRM Free version. You will still be able to get a DRM free version of the game as a digital download if you choose so.
New Reward Tier!
You can also get the flash drive through the new reward tier: The FLASH DRIVE tier ($140).
This tier is the same as the Earthlock Sequels tier except that it also contains the Custom USB Flash Drive (International shipping included).
All Creative Tiers and higher now contains the FLASH DRIVE tier as well!
Check the front page Reward section for a complete overview of what each tier includes.
Fallen Hero Reward
We also just want to remind everyone of the Fallen Hero reward which is included in the ART BOOK tier. This will add your name to one of the in game Fallen Hero Ghost monsters. These are collectible enemies you can encounter throughout the world of Umbra. Read more about this reward in the reward section on the front page.
Thursday - March 20, 2014
Earthlock - Update# 7, Meet Eiko
In the seventh kickstarter update for Earthlock: Festival of Magic Snowcastle Games introduces us to Eiko Ishiwata Nichols the composer for Earthlock.
Meet Eiko - Our Composer
This is Eiko Ishiwata Nichols, the composer for Earthlock. She would like to share with you a little insight into how she creates her music. In these candid photos, she is working on a piece in our new musical style for the game. During the early days of development, we were still experimenting with musical ideas but we've finally come up with a solid direction that we believe works for Earthlock.
GENERAL MUSIC DIRECTION
For Earthlock, we want the music to support the beautiful visuals by selecting instruments that evoke colorful imagery. Earthlock has themes of wisdom, energy, technology, romance, fantasy with an earthy tone. I'm planning to combine synths (energy), sound design (technology), traditional orchestral instruments (romance), and traditional ritual instruments (earthy tone). I have married those elements together with something reminiscent of simple and memorable old-school RPG melodies. The combination will result in a unique and original sound that will set Earthlock apart.
Wednesday - March 19, 2014
Earthlock - Update#6, Official Wiki
Snowcastle Games has mangaed to get $66,657 of the games $150,000 goal. They also posted a new kickstarter update about the Official Wiki for Earthlock: Festival of Magic.
Official Earthlock Wiki now on Gamepedia
We are super happy to announce our partnership with Gamepedia.com and the launch of the official Earthlock Wiki! It is open for anyone and everyone to edit and you are all invited to come and contribute. If you're new to wiki editing Gamepedia has a quick startup guide here: help.gamepedia.com.
Gamepedia is a major video game wiki platform that is host to more than 400 outstanding wikis on titles ranging from Titanfall to Minecraft, and hundreds of independently developed games. Owned and operated by Curse Inc., Gamepedia is run by a team of wiki professionals committed to creating and maintaining informative sites for the communities passionate about the games they play. In addition to being available to help community members on the wikis, Gamepedia is also a source of video game news and great contests and giveaways. Follow them on Twitter or Facebook to get their latest news and updates!
Fallen Hero Reward concept art
Our Art Director, Frits drew up this concept art for the fallen heroes who will be wandering the world of Umbra. These enemies will bear the name of the backers who pledge at the Early Art Book tier ($35) or higher. So if you ever wanted to be an enemy in a game, this is your chance!
The Fallen Hero Reward: This is a way for you to permanently leave your mark upon the world of Umbra in the Earthlock series. You will get your name associated with one of the in-game Fallen Heroes. These are special ghost-monsters, undead heroes of the past from a time before the Great Halt of the planet. You can encounter these heroes of ancient times on the Overworld, they are collectible and you will be rewarded in game for laying them all to their final rest.
Monday - March 17, 2014
Earthlock - Update# 5, Add-ons & Reward Tiers
Snowcastle Games shares information on new Add-ons & Reward Tiers for Earthlock: Festival of Magic in the games latest kickstarter update.
New Reward: The Fallen Hero
As a bonus we are introducing a new special reward to everyone who chooses the Art Book tier or higher.
This is a way for you to permanently leave your mark upon the world of Umbra in the Earthlock series. You will get your name imprinted on one of the in-game Fallen Heroes. These are special ghost monsters, undead heroes of the past from a time before the Great Halt of the planet. You can encounter these heroes of ancient times on the Overworld, they are collectible and you will be rewarded in game for laying them all to their final rest.
So if you want to have your name contributed to the game, choose the Art Book tier or higher.
The T-Shirts are available as add-ons for all backers! Have a look at the add-ons section on the main page for info on how to add one to your pledge!
Postcards and Stickers
We now also have a Postcards & Stickers add-on for $10. The add-on includes 2x Postcards and 2x Stickers.
We got a lot of requests for it and we are more than happy to fulfill. We have added the Content Bundle for $15 which contains all three in-game content add-ons: 1x Unique Weapon, 1x Reckless Skin & 1x Character skins.
New Reward Tiers
All the Early Supporter Tiers are gone! The support we have gotten for this campaign has been amazing. Thank you all!
We are introducing a couple of more limited reward tiers: The Limited Soundtrack Tier for $25 and the Limited Art Book Tier for $35, both are the same as the non-limited tier except with a discount on them.
If you have already selected one of these tiers you can absolutely switch to the discounted one if you want to. These tiers have been considered and now added based on backer feedback. You are important to us! Keep the feedback coming!
We will be attending the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week! Bendik and Frits will be showing Earthlock on the Unity stand in the Main Expo Hall from Wednesday to Friday. If you're going, swing by and check out the game and meet our Game Director and Art Director! They would be more than happy to meet any of you!
Saturday - March 15, 2014
Earthlock - Update# 4, 50K & Poster Reveal
Snowcastle Games next update for Earthlock: Festival of Magic talks about the game reaching $50,000 in three days, and reveals a new poster add-on.
We are past $50,000!
Wow! We have passed $50,000! That means we are 1/3 of the way to our goal and we still have 29 days to go. We are extremely confident we will get this project to the finish line and beyond. Think of the secret megabosses we might be able to add to Earthlock! That would be awesome. We could not have gotten this far so soon without the support of all you backers. Thank you so much for believing in us!
Reveal of the Poster Add-On
If you have not seen it yet we actually have add-ons as well. Scroll a little way down on our main site and you will find them. We even have two physical add-ons: T-Shirt and Poster. The design of the poster has been a secret up until now. Here is the poster in all its glory!
Thursday - March 13, 2014
Earthlock - Interview @ Always Nintendo
Always Nintendo interviews Ben the Game Director of Snow Castle Games about their kickstarter RPG Earthlock: Festival of Magic. As usual here is a small part of it.
AN: Late last year, Snowcastle Games decided to re-schedule the Kickstarter campaign for Festival of Magic until 2014. What was your reason for doing so?
Two words: Lousy timing. We were high on the success of our Steam Greenlight approval which went through much faster than we expected and decided to go for a Kickstarter right away. It started pretty well, but we quickly drowned in the buzz around the big console launches, and then came the American holidays. We learnt a lot from the two weeks we ran the campaign and built a very ardent core fan base who still is with us. So this time around we are doing everything the right way, and judging from the great start the first couple of days we seem to have nailed it this time around. A big positive change is the name change, or rather expansion. The game is now Earthlock: Festival of Magic and both our fans and we are very comfortable with the new name which is both descriptive and mystical.
AN: The long-awaited Kickstarter project for Earthlock: Festival of Magic has now re-opened! In just a few days, it’s managed to collect tons of pledges bringing Snowcastle even closer to their goal. How does it feel to know that you guys have so much support from fellow gamers all over the world?
We are making a game we really want to play ourselves. It is heartwarming to discover that it is also a game a lot of other gamers have missed and really want to play. The early stages of game development is pretty lonely in some ways and it is absolutely wonderful to put it out in the world and see all the love and support we are gathering. It is amazing how our supporters are pledging hard cash because they believe in us.
It is also quite scary when you think of all the work we have put into this project. Pressing that “Launch” button on the Kickstarter is the most emotional thing I have done in a long time. What if it fails?! What if we pass our stretch goals?! The possible range of outcome is mind boggling to say the least!
AN: Finally, why do you think people should back this project? What are some rewards that backers can get?
If you are into story and character driven, turn based RPGs, go pledge! We are passionate about the genre and we think there are a lot of people out there that miss the more old school approach we’re going for! We promise to do all we can to deliver a memorable experience!
We have some very cool rewards for our backers, like exclusive weapon and vehicle skins that are available from the $45 tiers and on!
Another reward we’re pretty excited about is the “Earthlock Origins” comic book that will be penned by our writer, Magnus Aspli, and illustrated by Frits and Fredrik, our resident artists. The comic book will tell the story of Amon’s origins that pre dates the game! Backers also have the opportunity to get the “Art of Earthlock” book, soundtrack, posters and more!
Earthlock is an RPG that comes by its roots honestly with a love of the genre and respect for its predecessors. Snowcastle is committed to creating a game that players will be excited to play because it is going to be a game that we would want to play.
Wednesday - March 12, 2014
Earthlock - Update# 3, The World of Umbra
Snowcastle Games has posted the next kickstarter update for Earthlock: Festival of Magic. The update gives us a look into how the world of Umbra was developed.
Creating a world
We had a few requirements when we first started working on the layout of Umbra.
“Umbra is like most worlds. A world with a mythic and forgotten past. A world soaked in magic, monsters, men and machinery. Of empires in ruins and adventures abound. But unlike most worlds, Umbra has stopped spinning.” - The History of Umbra
The world design had to:
- reflect that it had stopped rotating, causing the land to completely transform. After doing a bit of research we figured out that if this were to happen to our planet, the water would gather towards the poles leaving a belt of land around equator.
- communicate the concept of a world separated by light and darkness - Zenith and Nadir. Not necessarily in terms of good and bad
- be varied and easy to get around so we squashed the two worlds together instead of having one long sausage of land across the middle.
Tuesday - March 11, 2014
Earthlock - Update# 2, Avatar Icons & FAQ
Snowcastle Games has posted the second update for Earthlock: Festival of Magic that talks about the game reaching $40,000, a new $200,000 grant, and avatar icons.
$40,000! / $200,000 Grant! / Avatar Icons / FAQ
We have passed $40,000 in just 3 days!
Thank you so much for believing in us! It really makes all the difference in the world. We are so proud to already have come so far towards the goal of this campaign.
When we reach our funding goal we will recieve $200,000Part of the reason we have reduced the campaign goal from the last time is that we knew of this grant, though it was not official until today. We will be getting $200,000 from the Norwegian Film Institute if this Kickstarter is successful. The stakes just went up and we are even more determined to make this campaign a success!
We have made you some avatar Icons that you can use on Kickstarter, the forums, wherever you want!
We have summed up the most frequent questions and put them in the F.A.Q section at the bottom of the Kickstarter page. Please let us know if you have any more questions and if you think anything should be added to the F.A.Q. section!
Saturday - March 08, 2014
Earthlock - Kickstarter Relaunched
Festival of Magic's developer Snowcastle Games has relaunced the game for the second time. The goal is $150,000, and the game is renamed to Earthlock: Festival of Magic.
An original turn-based role-playing game set in a world of machines and magic, a world that stopped spinning thousands of years ago.
On Umbra, a planet that mysteriously stopped spinning ages ago, war is brewing. As desert scavenger Amon, you must stop the coming war by unlocking the mysteries of Umbra and prevent an ancient, magical cult seizing the power.
They also have a demo for everyono to try.
You can download and try our early demo for yourself!
Keep in mind that this demo is from very early in development and things are subject to change a lot. We are currently working on a new more updated demo.
The game already has one update posted today saying thanks for the first day. The game has made $28,036 of the$150,000 goal. Here is part of the update.
24 hours have passed and we already have over $27k in pledges! This momentum exceeds our wildest expectations and makes us very hopeful for the outcome of this campaign! It’s hard to express our gratitude in words, but rest assured that the whole team has been... well, euphoric today!
If this isn't enough to make you back the game I also have a video demo.
Information aboutEarthlock: Festival of Magic
Developer: Snowcastle Games
Play-time: 20-40 hours
Voice-acting: Partially voiced
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· To be announced
· Publisher: Snowcastle Games