Everyone is trying to develop a World of Warcraft killer, but it won’t happen. 3D MMO’s reoccur the most in the genre. It would seem the strategy for most developers is, “If it looks familiar but is slightly altered, people will jump ship right? Yeah?” No. These clones aren’t taking anyone anyway from their first love. These products continue to fail to live up to their hype, leaving gamers unsatisfied. Instead of adding to the stockpile of failed attempts, Thrive Games is bringing players a game that feels, looks, and plays differently. That game is Dragon of Legends.
Nathan Dworkzak is the lead Game Designer at Thrive Games on their new RPG initiative. With the title of Dragon of Legends you'd think they were inspired by all the old folk tales you’d hear growing up. But actually, the studio and its developers, located in Hamilton, Ontario have been drawn to medieval periods because of the huge catalog of RPG games they played at an early age.
“We’ve played a lot of the classics throughout our upbringing ranging from PC to consoles, and we’ve handpicked the best elements from these games to make a truly unique roleplaying experience,” he said. “These games sparked our imaginations as children, and ignited our passion for the videogame industry and are the main reason for our desire to pursue making games as a career today.”
The wide array of games they have played over the years has made an impact on their approach to developing them. They plan to incorporate a more classic feel that plays homage to those titles and at the same time keeping things with the times.
“Our goal with this game is to recapture those magical moments of exploration and discovery found in the greatest RPG classics of the 1980s and 1990s,” said Dworzak. “But infuse them with modern technological advancements that will appeal to the next generation of gamers and their more contemporary expectations."
Thrive Games have been inspired by a wide range of JRPG's from the SNES and Sega Genesis era but one game in particular had the most lasting imprint on the team.
“One of the biggest influencers for Dragon of Legends would be the JRPG and RPG games found on the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, in specific - Square’s Secret of Mana,” he said. “These games provided players with meaningful adventures full of heart and soul, and we’re hoping to recapture that same kind of magic in our own line of products.”
They hope the magic will shine through the Norse’ and the Celts, in the game. The two different clans that players will be able to choose from. There’s a wide variety of classes on both sides of the spectrum. The inclusion of the Norse as a playable faction initially stemmed from a third person hack n’ slash game called Rune. Dworzak and company believe the combat in Rune was visceral, and that their armour and weaponry was so unique that they wanted something similar in their game.
“I’ve always wanted to play as a Viking with an epic beard, winged helm and battle axe but I find there are no games lately that embrace this Viking heritage,’ he said.
With the Celts there are only few games that dive into their historical mythos. A game called Dark Ages, a MMO from Kru Interactive, was one title that made the team want their culture in the game. They believe their mythical cycle provide a lot of untapped potential not yet used by any other developers. They want to use that to leverage the stories they wish to tell in this universe.
Thrive Games have already revealed two character classes you can play in the game. The Rangers are skilled hunters from the northern reaches of Hávamál that strike from a distance and adapt a more stealthy approach with an throwing axe, traps and a bow. The Phalanx is a professional class of warriors that are highly skilled with long swords, shields and spears. They're also heavily armoured so being able to punish their foes to a pulp comes easy. Dworak touches on when players can expect to see even more classes in the future.
“When Kickstarter launches we’re going to be revealing three more classes,” he said. “The remaining four will be hidden in the stretch goals and released depending on whether or not we receive enough support in the campaign.”
The soundtrack in the game goes hand in hand with the visuals. Using the different cultures traditional music with a modern spin, gives the game some addicting tracks that you can’t resist bumping your head as you travel the world of Hávamál.
“For the Celts, their traditional music often consists of simple tunes laid out in a binary song form, which makes it ideal for in-game loops,” he said. “The Norse traditional music on the other hand follows a more ambient feel with a driving percussive pulse and ethereal vocal based melodies. This allows us to have a wide variety of music in the game and provide a unique distinction between the factions that blends both real world and electronic instrumentation.”
The graphics they chose harkens back to all their childhood games, but the style wasn't always looking up to snuff in the developers eyes starting out. Their aesthetic design really took shape and became something unique when Parker Martin was brought onto the team. His decision to capture a painterly approach in terms of style, and incorporate really fluid animations almost like a cartoon helped of Legends stand out.
“Our early prototype looked like something you would find in a RPG maker game, and Michael and I soon realized this would not be good enough,” he said. “When someone looks at our game for the first time we want them to think of The Legend of Zelda, Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, or any other of the classic JRPGs/ARPGs of the SNES era, while presenting an updated contemporary style to match the times.”
Thrives Games is making a commendable effort to give players an experience that breaks away from the traditional perception of MMO's while providing the new generation of gamers a chance to delve into something new.
“Dragons of Legends is going to allow for seamless cross platform functionality, meaning there is no longer going to be a device barrier to play with your friends, he said. “We are using an action based combat system that will reward skill and quick reflexes, and in addition to a well-crafted story for players to immerse themselves in and explore, they will be able to shape and customize the world around them with our own custom tools.”
Thrive Games will announce a timeframe when fans can expect the title when they launch their Kickstarter campaign soon.
Are you looking forward to this unique title? Let us know in the comments below.