Graywalkers Updated Interview
It has been six months since I last talked with Russell Tomas about the failure of Graywalkers: Purgatory, and his plan for the future. You can read the first interview here.
Graywalkers: Purgatory is the first in a series of Emergent Strategic and Tactical Turn-based 3D Role-Playing Games set in a stylish supernatural post-apocalyptic world, where parts of Heaven, Hell and Earth have merged together in an event called "The Rupture". It will be released for PC (Windows, Mac & Linux) as both Steam and DRM-free versions.
- A Strategic Turn-based RPG with features inspired by XCom, Fallout, & Jagged Alliance.
- Play in a dynamic emergent world where your actions actually change the world
- Find, Recruit and Lead your 36 Graywalkers from over 40+ Playable NPCs: each with their own style, background, abilities and personality
- Strategically manage your resources, people, technology, and magic
- As the prophesied leader, unite the lands of Purgatory under your banner and lead the war to reclaim the world for humanity
You can also try the new demo, and Aubrielle posted a short preview on our forums.
Couchpotato: Thank you for once again agreeing to talk with our site, and answer a few questions again. I know the relaunch was delayed multiple times so what has changed in the last few months since we we last talked?
Russell Tomas: We should be the one thanking you that you have chosen to interview us again. We truly appreciate it. And yes, the relaunch got delayed multiple times. The reasons for this were many but the bottom line is we weren’t ready yet. Also, the company was in a state of flux the past few months. It’s only after we stabilized in terms of where we stood did we decide it was time to move forward with the relaunch. We felt it better to delay the relaunch than launching and not being able to deliver. With the way we are setup now, we’re pretty confident we can make the game.
Couchpotato: I see that Graywalkers is planned to be the first in a three episode series now. What's the reasoning behind the change?
Russell Tomas: The original game really had 3 chapters to it. When we did our first Kickstarter, our plan was all three chapters of the story would be in it. With us lowering our target, we felt that to be able to ensure that we can fulfill our part, we needed to also lessen the scale of the game. So we decided to do 1 chapter of the story first. Take note that each chapter now is a full story in itself. It has a clear ending but it also prepares you for the next chapter in the story. We’re thinking that the next chapter when we release will actually be free for everybody who bought the game. If sales are good overall when we release, the 3rd chapter might also be free as well, though we aren’t promising this yet.
Couchpotato: Will the characters in the first game carry over to the second episode or will the future games likely feature new protagonists?
Russell Tomas: The characters will definitely carry over to the second chapter of the story, as well as to the 3rd. For us, it’s still one big game in our minds, the only thing limiting us in releasing it all together is of course resources and time. We wanted to make sure that whatever it was we promised, we can deliver. Each chapter will introduce new protagonists, as well as bringing back old enemies that are in the game. The 2nd and 3rd chapters are not stand alone games, they are basically downloadable content.
Couchpotato: Is the game world completely generated at random, or with some set pieces? Can you elaborate on the topic a little bit?
Russell Tomas: The game world is not completely generated at random. There are definitely set pieces, especially those that are essential to the campaign story. In the single player campaign, all the key locations are set, but other areas beyond these key locations are random. So even when you play the single player campaign again the 2nd time around, not everything will be where it was. It is here that the RPG aspect of the game will play a major role.
In the freeform game mode, this will be more procedurally generated. Major locations will probably be still the same but every things becomes totally random. Just like in playing strategy games, there will now be multiple objectives beyond the story. There will be victory conditions, and trying to reach specific victory conditions will change the way you play the game. These specific victory conditions could be determined by Wealth, Power, or Influence. In a way, the focus of the freeform mode is on the strategy aspect as you use your team to achieve your target objectives.
Couchpotato: The very best games with strategic gameplay/tactical combat are JA 2, and the original X-Com games. So what features of those games do you want to adopt into your game?
Russell Tomas: The strategy aspect of the game is greatly inspired by JA 2. Like in JA2, taking over locations and having them under your control matters to the overall story. Think of Purgatory as a supernatural Arulco of sorts. However, unlike in JA, you don’t really know where and how to find your team members. This is a story in itself and is the focus of the first chapter of the story. Another feature we got from JA are the personalities of each character you recruit and its effect on the game. We took this concept and made it one step further. When you have people who like each other in the same team, they can provide each other bonuses and when you have people who don’t like each other, they will get penalties. However, some combinations of team members who don’t like each other will create powerful combos so the penalties might sometimes be worth it, once you figure it out. Another feature we brought from JA was the quick combat feature. Again we brought this concept a bit further by giving you some options to allow the influence of the combat results and not just simply watch what happens.
With regards to XCom, we got heavily influenced from their tactical combat. It doesn’t show yet much in the demo but it gets a little bit deeper and complex just like the classic XCom. Of course we also put in a dash of JA into this with a few of our own features. Another aspect that I would say is XCom like is the research and manufacturing part. Unlike in XCom though, you don’t have your own base so this adds a bit of difficulty. Also, you don’t have researchers and manufacturers around. All of these are to be done by your team so it’s important to have a mix of builders in your team.
Couchpotato: How will character death be handled? Will there be resurrection, revival, or will the game have Permadeath?
Russell Tomas: The game will have permadeath. There will be no resurrection or revival, except for one character, and that’s mostly because of his background. If your main avatar dies, the game ends. Right now, we promised up to 40 characters available to be recruited. You can have up to 36 active members in your overall team. If one dies, then you can find another recruit to replace the slot. Don’t worry though if too many members die, we’re actually planning a lot more than 40. That’s just the number we promised as the minimum.
Couchpotato: Lets talk about non-combat skills. How many are there and how will they be used? Also will non-combat skills, or other character attributes/traits modify dialogs by adding more options?
Russell Tomas: Since we based the system on the Table Top RPG system I created, non-combat skills will be very essential to the game. To clarify this though, there are Skills and there are Abilities. Skills are normally available to all characters. Abilities are limited by training and can’t be performed without having it. All skills and attributes will definitely affect dialogue. Some will have requirements for them to appear. Right now, there are roughly about less than 10 skills, but there are almost a hundred abilities to choose from. Some of them are passive and some are active abilities and skills.
Couchpotato: Will there be classic dialogs with recruited NPCs and/or other NPCs? Will the dialogs have an effect on the plot?
Russell Tomas: There will be a mix of static and dynamic dialogue with NPCs, especially those that you can recruit. Also, conversations with leaders of factions will also be dynamic. With the system being emergent, everything you do will have an effect on the plot as a whole. However, since there is also a main storyline, these are milestones which can be triggered by specific conditions only and these will not effectively change. How you get to these milestones though will be different depending on how you play through the game.
Couchpotato: There's reportedly over 40 recruitable NPCs. That sounds like quite a few. How well fleshed out can we expect their personalities, and backstories to be?
Russell Tomas: 40 recruitable NPCs are the minimum we promise. We actually want to have more than 50 (or more) but that will depend on resources and time again. Who knows, we will just surprise you guys and you suddenly will realize there are even more than what we mentioned. Their personalities will definitely be fleshed out. As for their backstories, these will also be fleshed out and are key, because how you find and recruit them will depend on that.
Couchpotato: Is there any type of friendship / influence system where our dialog choices or other actions determine how much party members like the player character?
Russell Tomas: At this stage, there will be definitely an influence system where your choices will affect how they react to you. In the case of the NPCs though, you won’t be able to change who they like and don’t like. How you deal with this will definitely affect how they look at you, their leader.
Couchpotato: Are there any bonuses for getting party members to like you? Any penalties, and will it be possible to piss off NPC's so badly that they will leave or betray you?
Russell Tomas: We’re definitely still contemplating this feature if we want them to leave you or betray you if you piss them off so much. The bonuses and penalties will apply whenever they are in your active team. Though it is possible to finish the game without having your full complement of 36, your chances definitely get better.
Couchpotato: Now lets talk about the Kickstarter and my first question is how do you guys feel the second time around? Also, will you be offering any bonus to previous backers?
Russell Tomas: This time we definitely feel a lot better and confident though we’re still a bit nervous because the community now seems different from the one before. With all the bad news about failed projects and non-delivery to backers, the trust factor of people now are very low. The good thing for us is that somehow that part isn’t a big issue anymore unlike when we did it the first time. Getting Greenlit and being active throughout the whole time with our community has earned us a level of trust from our old backers. Yes, there definitely are bonuses to our previous backers which we call Veteran rewards. We will be revealing what exactly these rewards are when we get closer to the end of the campaign. I guess what the rewards will be is determined on how successful our campaign goes.
Couchpotato: What feedback have you guys listened to with regard to the game with relaunch? Also I see the amount asked for this time is only $40,000 is that enough to get the first episode made?
Russell Tomas: We’ve been listening to a lot of feedback definitely the past few months. We’ve changed how some characters look and added in some features that we felt people were asking for. Our main goal is really to create a game that our audience wants, while allowing us to tell our story. As for the $40K, it is enough to get the first episode made. This and some of our own resources will ensure that. I actually sold off some technology to an investor we created to generate some funds. Also, if we prove that the project does have a large enough audience, then our potential investors might provide us with more funds. In addition, any revenue I generate from the technology we sold off will also provide additional funds for us to put into the project.
Couchpotato: I also noticed you posted a new demo for the relaunch. Can you share any feedback from the community?
Russell Tomas: The feedback has been mostly very good. Barring some bugs and freezes, people love the demo. Many of the comments were basically just a wishlist of what they want in it. Some of these suggestions are already in the planning, it was just not implemented in the demo. More than anything, the demo is a tech demonstration of the system we have in place. In terms of graphics, the game will scale much higher for the actual game. As you noticed, we haven’t used any of the actual characters yet in the demo. We also just provided a simple demo as we wanted to have as many people try the demo as much as possible. Too much content and the size of it will be too large. We are however adding a new level and will be included in an update of the demo within the campaign. We are working on it already and we will announce the new demo once its ready.
Couchpotato: At the time I write the questions the game is at $17,379 of the $40,000 goal. If the game doesn't get funded this time will you guys relaunch it again, or look for alternative funding elsewhere?
Russell Tomas: If by some reason we don’t make our goal, we probably will just look for alternative funding. I don’t think I would like to go through another relaunch. For those who’ve experienced doing this, they will understand how stressful and difficult it is physically, mentally, emotionally and psychologically. We’ve already put some options in place just in case this happens to allow us to be able to continue this game. We know we can build the game, it’s really just a question of how long it will take. The funds help speed it up and improve the quality.
Couchpotato: Well thats about it for this time, and I wish you guys success. Do you have anything to add before we finish?
Russell Tomas: We just want to say thank you to all those who have backed us already, especially those who have been with us since the last Kickstarter. Their support has been our source of strength and resolve in wanting to make this game. As to those who have not yet backed us, we invite you to please do check out our Kickstarter page here. If you aren’t sure yet how you feel about the game, try and pledge a little and see what goes on there and how we truly are. As we continue to provide information about the game, maybe you will see something about it that you like. You always have the option to cancel if you feel there Is something there you don’t like.
Lastly thank you to RPGwatch for the support it has given us
Information aboutGraywalkers: Purgatory
Developer: Dreamlords Digital
Play-time: 20-40 hours
Voice-acting: Partially voiced
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· To be announced
· Publisher: Dreamlords Digital