Project Witchstone - All News
Monday - September 28, 2020
Project Witchstone - Companions vs Followers
Dev Blog #2: Companions vs Followers for Project Witchstone.
Welcome back to the Dev Blog for Witchstone. In a series of regular posts, we’re gonna dive into the cool features of the game that we’re working on to make it a new kind of RPG experience. The very first one is an interesting addition to a well loved system…
Companions… and Followers!
While having companions to your main character is a long-time staple of many (honestly most!) cRPG’s, we’re using one of the options of the Influence System we’ve built the core mechanics of the game around to give you even more options when it comes to who you can have following you around.
Companions, in the normal sense, will be available to the player at various points and locations around the world. Because the nature of how each playthrough of Witchstone is wildly variable subject to choices the player makes, there will always be variance in which companions you’ll meet along your travels. Among these we plan to have an interesting cast of characters that cover various tactical roles, personalities, and interesting interactions with the world as a whole when they become members of your party. While companions are more likely to stick around through thick and thin, you still need to be aware that they have a mind of their own, and while you do control them directly as a member of the party, their goals and wishes are still there, and their willingness to stick around can be affected by the player’s decision to either address or ignore them.
Where we get to do something new and interesting is the inclusion of the ability to convince NPCs to follow you around by using the Influence System. The method you chose to employ is up to you, be it through persuasion, intimidation, or some other method, but a successful attempt will see that NPC willing to tag along with you for the time being. This NPC is still an independent thinker, unlike the companion members of your party who generally will be yours to control, so you may find yourself in some interesting situations if you have followers along while engaging in something they’re opposed to. The autonomy that all of the NPC’s in the game have still applies to followers you’ve convinced to come along, so you’ll always have to be aware of your actions and the dispositions of anyone you have following the party to avoid (or even encourage) unforeseen outcomes.
One interesting use of the follower system that opens up a lot of possibilities for being able to physically bring NPCs to new locations their AI wouldn’t normally bring them to, but their presence can create emergent events. Want the sheriff to come check out the nearby smuggler’s hideout? If you can convince him to tag along, you can make it happen even if there isn’t a scripted quest that would take the Sheriff there normally. Bringing certain NPCs into areas that create conflict is an obvious use, but on the flip side, inventive use of the follower system may lead to peaceful resolutions that aren’t immediately obvious as well. Programming this level of reactivity into the systems is obviously challenging, but we think it’s an important aspect of the “living word” feel of Witchstone. We hope its inclusion in the wider toolset we’re trying to give players will create more interesting events and effects that step outside the traditional model of RPG design.
If you feel like recruiting every guard you can see so you can run around town in a big gang? Yeah, you can do that too.
….though bringing them all into a restricted area, was probably a bad idea.
If you’re interested in supporting the game right now, adding us to your wishlist goes a long way to help us!
As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts, feedback, or anything at all. You can get a hold of the team by following the game on Twitter! https://twitter.com/WitchstoneGame
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Until next we meet Adventurers!
-The Spearhead Team
Monday - August 17, 2020
Project Witchstone - Emulating the Freedom of D&D
PCGamesN spoke to the developers of Project Witchstone and asked how they intend to use AI to create a living world.
What sets Project Witchstone apart from other games in its genre is that aforementioned “living world” – an “alive” and “dynamic” world that you can interact with authentically and in which player decisions affect things down the line in a realistic way. “Like a Game Master running campaigns for their friends, our stories have a general direction, but what the player decides to do ultimately determines what happens next and which characters are involved.”
This dynamic world is captured in its setting. “When coming up with the lore,” Philip says, “we felt that the game’s core concepts of freedom of choice and influence on the world would need a setting that would support conflict, intrigue, and lasting changes. Therefore, the idea of a frontier-like world made the most sense to us. In the mythologies of the American West and the Australian Outback, the stories are about personal freedom, danger, one’s influence on society, resource control, the old vs the new, et cetera. This, combined with the visual iconography of the era, inspired and influenced us greatly.”
It’s not just about player agency, however. To make this experience as realistic as possible, non-player characters need to react authentically to the world – and act upon it, too. “Characters in the world of Project Witchstone go about their daily lives, react to characters and actions around them, but can also act on their wants and needs. For example, should the player attack someone in their vicinity, an NPC has to immediately decide, based on their personality and past history, whether they help someone in the fight, run away, or report the assault to the nearest law enforcement officer. As you can imagine, building such an AI and optimising it isn’t trivial.”
Wednesday - July 31, 2019
Project Witchstone - Console Announcement Trailer
The console announcement trailer for Project Witchstone.
Project Witchstone, the living world sandbox RPG from Omensight and Stories: The Path of Destinies developer Spearhead Games, wanders to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in Q2 2020 alongside the previously-announced PC version.
Drawing inspiration from classic pen-and-paper games, Project Witchstone offers unmatched freedom and opportunity to roleplay in a vibrant, reactive world. Every move adventurers make ripple outward into the environment, opening new doors and closing others, as dynamic systems intertwine to produce a one-of-a-kind experience tailored to the player’s actions.
Spearhead Games will be showcasing Project Witchstone at Gamescom and PAX West this August. For press inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday - June 10, 2019
Project Witchstone - Steam Trailer
Project Witchstone is a turn-based tactical RPG being produced by Spearhead Games.
About This Game
Known for their innovation in video game narratives, Spearhead Games (Stories: The Path of Destinies, Omensight) intends to push the interactive storytelling further with adventures uniquely tailored to each player’s gameplay and dialogue decisions. In a living and reactive world, you will be offered unprecedented options to role-play your character and influence the environment, capturing the fun and freedom of a pen & paper RPG campaign.
- A living world sandbox RPG with turn-based tactical combat
- Impact the state of the world with your decisions
- Gain a reputation or work from the shadows
The world you explore is alive, meaning that characters that inhabit this world go on with their daily lives and move around following a routine (from their workplace to their home, for example). They also own properties, have personalities, friends and enemies, likes and dislikes, appreciation towards you, allegiance to factions, perception of their surroundings, etc.
Using actions common in RPGs (dialogue, combat, spells, abilities, stat checks, stealing, etc.) and less common ones (stealth, influence interface, etc.), you can interact, manipulate, and shape this world as you see fit. Our goal is to give you the freedom to live the adventure you want. No overarching pre-defined main story thread, you get to decide how you want to proceed.
Want to frame a villager for theft or murder? Want to join a faction, become their leader, and destroy the other factions? Want to destroy the factions but scheme in a way that they never know you're responsible? Want to become a treasure hunter instead? Maybe the best solution is to blow everything up?
All of this Is possible In our sandbox.
With our systemic approach to narrative, tailored events will occur based on your previous actions. All crimes will result in law enforcement running an investigation and attempting to arrest the suspect. Any violent act committed against a faction will result in retaliation. Taking over someone's house will work fine until the previous owner's relatives or friends come to visit.
These are some examples of the ripple effect you can cause in this world. And how you deal with the ripple effect will determine what happens after.