Serpent in the Staglands - RPG Codex Interview
RPG CODEX: You are no strangers to indie games development, but Serpent in the Staglands marks your first foray into PC RPGs. What made you want to create this game, and at this time?
WHALENOUGHT: As huge crpg fans, this game is one we both have dreamed and started planning since the start of our studio. We both know our strengths lie in fantasy, adventure, and enticing narratives, and we’re confident that we’ll do the Staglands and the genre justice.
Graphically, I would have a hard time trying to imagine a game looking more like a cross between Darklands and Baldur's Gate than Serpent in the Staglands. However, you cite these games as influences for the game's innards rather than how it looks. Let's start with Darklands. What have you drawn from this game?
Thank you! That was absolutely what we were going for (and budgeted for). We’re keeping the art gritty and ground in some amount of realism.
Similar to their classless skill system, our system involves building your character by selecting any combat, spell or aptitude skills you’d like. This allows for a vast amount of customization and personality — rewarding creativity with your own custom build types. The Darklands combat is frenetic and pretty ruthless and we’re trying to capture that as well. Nothing was more satisfyingly demoralizing than failing to best some bandits and getting told they stole all your equipment and money and left you for dead. Their story scenes were the original inspiration for our Aptitude creation and uses outside combat.
Where do you see Whalenought heading with Serpent in the Staglands? It's a certainly a departure from your earlier, perhaps more accessible, mobile games. Are you looking to become the next Spiderweb Software or Basilisk Games, focusing on throwback CRPGs?
Our plan is to continue to explore the world of Vol (where the Staglands lies) in future games. We have a lot planned for other continents to explore and are excited to continue unraveling the lore in other campaigns.
A few recent CRPGs such as Wasteland 2, Dead State and UnderRail (and a gazillion other games) have Early Access versions for sale on Steam. In the Kickstarter, you mention your goal to release the game in Winter 2014, while also adding that you have no intentions of releasing anything but a finished and polished product. It sounds like you could be among the developers who are skeptical towards Early Access? What are your thoughts on this trend?
For Serpent in the Staglands, we’re going with a closed beta from our Kickstarter community. We want to reward them for supporting us early and are excited to have a group of people who are already enthusiastic about offering critique and suggestions.We’re aiming firstly to get on GoG, both because we love their site and to support the DRM-free distribution of games. We’ll be using Greenlight thereafter to also try to get on Steam! We think early access can certainly be beneficial for some developers, but believe our narrative-driven game is best experienced in it’s finished form for players to engross themselves in, so we will be sticking with closed beta testing. We’ll definitely be sharing updates throughout the rest of the development process though!
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