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Serpent in the Staglands Q&A

by Couchpotato, 2014-04-01

Serpent in the Staglands is a new kickstarter RPG from a small Indie developer called Whalenought Studios. The studio is mostly known for releasing a few mobile RPGs.

They described the game as the following.

An isometric, RTWP, party-based CRPG set in the icy Staglands, where a trapped god and chosen company embark on a perilous quest.

The goal of the project was $10,000 and the game has already been funded in just four days. The next step is to get more money to expand the game, and add more areas.

You can check out the stretch goals in the following image.

I decided to get in contact with the developer.  So here is a little chat where I asked a few questions by email. I hope you enjoy reading it, and decide to back the game.


RPGWatch: Can you give our readers a short history lesson on your game company Whalenought Studios, and your kickstarter Serpent in the Staglands?

Whalenought Studios: We started Whalenought Studios last year, a dream long in the making, and have been prepping this game since its founding. In the meantime we freelanced and made some fun mobile games, and are happy to be at this point in development for what we set out to do! We wanted to crowdfund this game instead of looking for publisher support because we believed there was a community that still loves this genre, and would rather have their feedback and support directly. Kickstarter has been a tremendous success for getting suggestions, ideas, and lots of promising beta testers!


RPGWatch:: What are your top five favorite RPGs?

Whalenought Studios: I won’t pretend this was an easy question, but here’s a list of the most influential and those which probably had us stuck in front of a computer the longest:

Baldur’s Gate
Deus Ex
Fallout 2
Witcher 2


RPGWatch: Where did the idea or inspiration for the game come from?

Whalenought Studios: We set out from the beginning to make Serpent in the Staglands a classic crpg, but knew we didn’t want the classic Tolkien world with elves and orcs. We wanted a world foreign enough that begs to be explored but relatable enough to sympathize and believe in. We first turned to a gothic setting, with Transylvania, sans vampires, as inspiration (or Wallachia for history buffs). We’ve been researching Romanian folklore and many of our monsters and nomenclature has been the result of what we’ve found.

As far as lore in the Staglands goes, there wasn’t a direct source of inspiration. We created gods and races from scratch and have shaped the history and tales of the land from our own imaginations.


RPGWatch: Why did you decide to use RTWP instead of turn-based combat?

Whalenought Studios: Choosing RTWP was one of our first decisions we made. While we enjoy turn based games as well, we felt that RTWP was a better fit, as we were planning a combat system that would be chaotic and exciting, keeping players on their toes while they are exploring anything from dangerous crypts and wilderness to mansions and dungeons. RTWP really lends itself towards this intense combat style rarely seen outside the 90s and infinity engine games.


RPGWatch: How long will take to complete the campaign, and will your game allow for multiple playthroughs?

Whalenought Studios: The story is split into 4 different chapters, although the narrative itself can be accessed through multiple paths and where you choose to explore first will determine where your story starts and progresses from. Right now the scope of the game, with minimal exploration and side quests, is leaning towards around 20 hours.


RPGWatch: Do you have any plans for DLCs, or expansions after the game gets released?

Whalenought Studios: We’re setting up our systems to be updatable for future campaigns, and aim to continue to explore the world of Vol through these rulesets. There are currently three expansion packs being budgeted for in the stretch goals, which would be released as free updates. The first expansion we’re adding a ton of new armors, monsters, and party members to acquire, and sailing to and freely around a new jungle themed group of islands south of the Staglands. This is a drastically different environment than the peninsula the main campaign takes place on. The second is adding in the otherworldly and dangerous spirit realm and northern region of the continent, of which resides a gladiator spire to test your party’s skills atop. The Varuchov’s King is our highest reward, and is a high-level campaign for you and your party to investigate an underground capital city and its dark history.


RPGWatch: I noticed your past games were developed for mobile devices. What made you decide to switch platforms? Also do you have any plans to port any of them?

Whalenought Studios: From the start of our studio we knew we wanted to start development on PC platforms. Staglands was actually in design stages during development of our other projects and work during that time. We don’t have any plans to port those games, but a caveman arpg sequel to Isle of Bxnes is definitely something we’d like to look into in the future for the PC.


RPGWatch: So why did you decide to use kickstarter, and was the goal of $10,000 enough to completely fund the game?

Whalenought Studios: We decided to use Kickstarter partly to raise funds, and partly because we didn’t want to work in a bubble without any suggestions or feedback from the community. $10,000 is not enough to complete the game, but it is just what we needed on top of other income (from previous work) to complete this project and get the additional resources we'll need.


RPGWatch: How does it feel to see your game nearly funded in just a few days? Were you surprised by the amount of people interested in your game?

Whalenought Studios: We were completely blown away by the initial support! We knew there was an audience for classic crpgs still (the recent resurgence of other crowd-funded games definitely suggests that), but we are amazed with how much response we’ve gotten. We tried to be as sincere and transparent as possible setting up the campaign and setting expectations, and we hope it’s paid off.


RPGWatch: Can you give a little information about your stretch goals, and I was wondering why you decided to cancel the co-op option?

Whalenought Studios: The general feedback we were receiving from our backers in comments and messages was a desire for more campaign, and we hadn’t heard any positive support for co-op, so we change up or stretch goals to reflect that.

So instead of having co-op be the top goal, we included an area from our wish list of content expansions, the Varuchov’s King and their underground capital city. This would be the third expansion stretch goal, the first being sailing to and freely around a new jungle themed group of islands south of the Staglands. The second is adding in the otherworldly and dangerous spirit realm and northern region of the continent, of which resides a gladiator spire to test your party’s skills atop.


RPGWatch: What is your opinion on crowd-funding do you see as the future of game development, or just another option for small indie studios?

Whalenought Studios: We have no idea if this is going to be the future of game development, but we think it’s great that small studios like ourselves, and even larger ones like Obsidian or Larian Studios, have the option to make a game that is influenced by their fans more so than by a publisher. It allows for creativity and risks that might not otherwise be allowed, and while there are cons to the model, as seen in the recent debacle with Occulus Rift, we hope that it will continue to be supported by developers and fans alike.


RPGWatch: Do you have any advice for people who want to develop their own game, and decide they may want to use crowd-funding to do so?

Whalenought Studios: From our experience, and from the research we did well before starting our campaign — work on and have something made to show people, and know your audience. Large companies can get away with name-dropping for an entire video, but smaller studios and individuals are much better off showing completed functionality to give an idea, or at least teaser of what the gameplay entails as proof of your work thus far. We think a timeline is beneficial to the campaign, it helped show what we’ve done this far and why this was an appropriate time to crowd fund the remaining game.


RPGWatch: Well that's all for now and allow to say thank you the interview. Do you have anything you would like to add before we finish?

Whalenought Studios: Thank you for the interview! We’re excited with our community and future, and look forward to the remaining time in our Kickstarter campaign. We have a lot of exciting updates in the works.


Well that's all I hope you found some of the answers informative. You still have time to help make the game beter by pleding on the games kickstarter.

I will continue to cover the game in the news, and in the meantime wish Whalenought success on any future projects they decide to work on.

I also can't wait to play Serpent in the Staglands.

Box Art

Information about

Serpent in the Staglands

Developer: Whalenought Studios

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Combat: Pausable Real-time
Play-time: 20-40 hours
Voice-acting: None

Regions & platforms
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2015-05-28
· Publisher: Unknown

More information

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