Last week, we wrote about the relaunch of Dreamlords Digital’s Graywalkers Kickstarter.
We recently sat down with Graywalkers creator and team lead, Russell Tomas to talk about their ongoing project. We discussed everything from what they learned from their first failed Kickstarter to what the $40,000 they’re asking for is going to be allocated for.
BitPulse: This is a re-launch of the “Graywalkers” Kickstarter. What did you learn from the first failed attempt and what are you doing different during this second go around?
Russell Tomas: We learned a lot from our first failed attempt definitely. We’ve seen which of our efforts worked and which ones did not. One of the lessons we learned the most was preparation. Though there is never enough time no matter what you do, being prepared and knowing what to prepare makes a big difference. The last time, we did not have enough time to market. We only started during the Kickstarter and some of the methods we employed weren’t getting significant results.
Some key changes made were to ensure we had talked ahead of schedule to potential press people that could support the game. Also, we created a demo this time around to show that we could deliver the game and to improve our credibility as developers. We also created a video this time that was much shorter and focused mostly on gameplay, rather than us talking about our project. These changes have definitely improved our current Kickstarter and we’re hoping to improve it even more.
This year has seen two successful, tactical-RPGs in “Divinity: Original Sin” and “Wasteland 2.” What will “Graywalkers” bring to the table that’s so different?
Tomas: When compared to these games, there are different things we bring to the table:
- The first is the unique setting we have, which is a supernatural post-apocalyptic world. Though it is like Wasteland to some degree, the theme and atmosphere is different in many ways.
- Next is the emergent strategy aspect of the game. We have a world that will be dynamic that actually changes as you play in the game. This is one of the core features that set us apart from any typical RPG.
- The fact that you have an opportunity to play so many characters and grow them. You can have up to 36 active members in your team. In a way this is similar to Jagged Alliance and is not available in the two games mentioned above.
- In addition, all our characters have personality. They aren’t just additional bodies on the team. Each one is different and affects gameplay in a large way. Interaction between your team members is present and affects the effectivity of your team.
- A truly table-top-RPG like experience. The game uses a table-top RPG system we created and this will be seen and felt throughout the game.
Graywalkers seems like an ambitious title. You currently have a January 2016 release day for the project. How do you plan to continue to keep your backers in the loop throughout the development process?
Tomas: Graywalkers is indeed a very ambitious title. That is a result of our desire to create something new and unique to the market. Well, we definitely plan to keep everybody in the loop. Even now, we’ve already started this process through using Gameloop, where they can already start suggesting features and commenting and providing feedback in an organized manner.
To piggy back on that last question: $40,000…for a game of this size? Talk about your game plan for what that money will go towards.
Tomas: Well, the game’s size has been reduced greatly from what it was originally. This is a result of the reduction in resources as well. With $40,000, we assume to be able to build the first chapter of the story, with more episodes to follow. Also, for those who don’t know, our development team is based out of Manila in the Philippines. The cost of personnel is much lower (1/5th to 1/10th the price) than the average cost in the international scene. Also, we’re not relying only on the $40,000 for development. Dreamlords sold off some technology to some investors and with that was able to generate some funds to continue the game regardless of what happens in the Kickstarter campaign. Also, if we succeed in the campaign, it will validate our claims that the game has a following and should hopefully be enough to convince our investors to put in more money for the project.
There seems to be a huge emphasis on community with this project. Between the use of crowd content and Gameloop, what are some things you expect to see out of the community throughout development?
Tomas: Yes, we definitely are putting a large emphasis on the community. From the beginning, it was always our intention to create a game that the community wants to play and the only way to do that is to get direct feedback. What we’re hoping to get from the community is to get the pulse of what exactly are they looking for. Obviously, not all features can be put it, but keeping in mind the most important aspects will allow us to create a game that we’re more confident the community will like and enjoy.
You talk about emergent game play with Graywalkers. How deep are we talking about here, really?
Tomas: Our current target in terms of emergent gameplay is closely tied in to the settlements and factions. This relates mostly to their economy and politics. The state of their economy and politics, which are based on external factors such as availability of resource, military strength, leadership, economic stance and others, will determine what changes each settlement goes through.
As an example, a town is lacking food. To solve the problem, it has the option to trade with another settlement, or to build a farm in some good land nearby. Now if they chose the option to trade, the settlement will generate a quest to guard the trade caravan, for you to do if you like. If it chose to build a farm, it will ask you to clear the area of issues (monsters, creatures) where they want to farm.
Whether you succeed or fail will have an impact on the settlement itself. How much of an effect will depend on how strong the community or faction is. For example, a small town asks for you to help them, and you fail or refuse, then there Is a chance that community will eventually disappear and die off.
You talk about using the new “Wyldekarde” table top system that you have created, can you briefly discuss it?
Tomas: Currently, the final name for the table-top RPG system has not yet been finalized. It’s a toss-up between the “Wyldekarde” system, and the “Amalgam” system. We’ll let you know when it’s final. As for the game itself, it’s designed to be a generic multi-genre game system. We use a 3D10 system for resolving almost all things in the game, be they skill use or combat. It is mostly an opposed roll system, though sometimes we have a static number that can be used to speed up resolution.
We’re planning to release the game system sometime next year. We definitely will have it ready digitally by then, though we’re contemplating releasing it as a physical product as well. Initially, the first campaign world to be released for the game will, of course, be Graywalkers. We’re hoping that by the time the video game is ready to release, the table-top game will already be in the market.
For backers, we’re planning to invite people from a specific tier to become part of the beta test for it. Our All Digital “TECHIE” tiers ($70+) will have access to the digital rule book so it makes sense that they will be invited to the beta test.
What length are you shooting for with the games campaign mode?
Tomas: For the initial campaign, we’re hoping to at least reach an estimated 50+ hours of game time minimum. This is, of course, our target minimum, and is not the official length of the game. Bottom line is, we want to give as much content to the player as possible. The thing is, since there are randomly generated quests, it is possible to play much longer by simply doing many of the side quests. At the minimum, you have to do roughly around 40 missions to just even complete your team’s quest line. So this already gives you an idea how much game time there is.
Do you have anything you want to say to your current/future backers?
Tomas: We want to invite everybody to check out what we have to offer with Graywalkers. If you enjoy games like XCom, Fallout, and Jagged Alliance, then you definitely have to support our game because we believe you will enjoy it.