DMM.com, the company behind Kantai Collection and Touken Ranbu, have been developing a new action RPG and this game will be released in the West. Obcidian Legacy is developed by Black Tower Studios and Siliconera spoke with creative director Richie Casper about making the hack-and-slash RPG.
You’ve worked in Japan’s game industry for quite some time and on titles developed by Acquire like the Way of the Samurai series. Can you share some of your stories and adventures from those days.
Richie Casper, Creative Director: Yes, I’ve been working in the Japanese game industry since 2001. Over a decade of that was at Acquire, where I was a character animator/mo-cap artist on Shinobido and Way of the Samurai 2 among other titles before shifting into a producer/creative director role. I have so many awesome memories from those days that one day I’ll eventually put into a book or something about what it’s like being a gaijin in the Japanese game industry and all the cool stuff and not so cool stuff you go through. Or maybe that’s something we can do here in some future articles. :)
Now you started Black Tower Studios and you’re working on an online action RPG. How did you come up with concept for Obcidian Legacy?
Yeah, I personally like to think that if Secret of Mana and Diablo made sweet, sweet love, then 9 months later their bastard love child would be Obcidian Legacy.
Everyone at Black Tower has a soft spot for hack and slash action RPGs and we’ve been wanting to do one on PC for a while. But when looking at all of the awesome hack and slash games on PC, we didn’t want to copy the darker feel of most of them and wanted to do something that was more colorful and reminiscent of old school JRPGs. So we went in that visual and story direction and tried to add as much pure hack and slash fun as possible.
When development started, we knew that we didn’t have the budget that the bigger guys did, so we decided to make the stages randomly generate themselves to a certain extent. Then we added the enemy WAVE system, which is gauge in the game that fills up when you kills enemies. Once it’s full, a slot machine pops up and you start getting massive waves of enemies that spawn and being a hack and slash, the more of them you kill, the more loot they drop. If you make it through several waves of enemies, the huge amount of loot that they drop is actually a bit insane. Some people might think it’s too much loot, but we don’t really think there’s such a thing as too much loot.
Can you tell us about the games world and story?
After a cataclysmic "end of the world" event, what remains of humanity has banded together for survival and created a self-contained town called "The Ark." The world outside is covered in a poisonous fog and normal humans can’t live there, but among the survivors are those with the ability to function normally in the harsh external environment. These people are called "Guardians."
Guardians venture into the outside world to collect materials the town can use to survive. Recently, the number of Guardians has increased and they have joined together to adventure into regions previously thought impossible. The player begins the story as a trainee on his way to join the ranks of the Guardians.
The Blademaster wields a sword larger than his/her body and uses it to cut through enemies around them. This is the "tank" class of the game. Their HP is high and they make use of combo attacks to easily defeat enemies, even when surrounded.
This class does best when keeping enemies at a distance. They use magic to shoot long-ranged blasts of energy. They can also use skills to change the magical element of their attack to damage enemies with the element to which they are the weakest, which can cause massive damage. They also have many supporting magic skills which make them a good companion in multiplayer.
This class specializes in agility. They can attack quickly with their dual-wielded knives for fast, multi-hit attacks. Their attacks only cover a small area, but the number of hits is so great that they can out-damage a Blademaster on a single target. Unfortunately, their HP is low, so they must constantly be on the move to avoid close combat.
How did you design monsters and bosses so players have to work together to defeat them?
We use a basic aggression system so that, all things being equal, the Blademaster (who has the most HP) will be targeted first. This allows the other classes to attack while the Blademaster "tanks."
What kind of loot can players get? How does crafting work in game?
The main categories of items you will pick up are: Equipment, Gems, Consumables and Gold. Like other hack and slash games, you want to fight and kill as many enemies as possible to get strong gear, but the strongest items are made by crafting and visiting the Blacksmith and the Gem Shop.
You can increase the strength of a weapon or equipment up to 10 times at the blacksmith. For this, you’ll need materials, which you can acquire by finding them, or disassembling unnecessary gear that you find. So, even if you only find weak gear on a mission, you can still disassemble it and put the materials to good use by increasing the strength of your favorite item.
Items will indicate whether gems can be slotted into them with appropriate icons. By placing gems inside open slots, you can increase your character’s attributes and raise their resistance to various elements. The same item can drop with between one and four slots, so be on the lookout for gear with more slots! Also, as you progress through the game, you will gain the ability to expand the number of slots up to eight in total, but the additional four slots have a chance to break gems you insert, so you have to be careful.
Are there any plans to bring Obcidian Legacy to the West?
As a matter of fact, we’re releasing it to the West first in Early Access on Steam starting today!