Ossian Studios - The Shadow Sun Interview
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.