This week's featured game is Blossom and Decay, from Konspiracy Games. I was delighted to have the opportunity to interview Harald Goergens, the founder of Konspiracy games, and his team, to learn more about what lies behind the making of Blossom and Decay. Let's delve deeper into the interview...
Who are you guys?
'We are Konspiracy Games. our team consists of 2 Developers, 2 Designers, 1 Writer and 1 Musician. We are spread around the world, in Hong Kong, Frankfurt, New York and Los Angeles.
We gathered over the years, in different projects, and talked a lot about the game idea of Blossom & Decay. Finally we decided to stop talking and start working on the game!'
What is your game all about?
'Our game - Blossom & Decay - is a Sandbox MMO ARPG. A classic retro action adventure like Zelda or Secret of Mana for the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System), but as a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) and with strong influences of games like Ultima Online, Minecraft or EVE online. The world is a constantly changing sandbox, where everything is created by the players, from buildings, over cities to spawn-points, quests, goods, trade and even law.'
What is your vision for this game?
'The big vision we are following is to develop a game with real emergent narrative. So instead of writing stories, we work on mechanics that help the players in developing their own story and fostering stories between the players. Thievery and trade, politics and treachery, mystery and discovery, all that fueled by the structure of the world and by what players can do.'
What do you hope people will like about it?
'When I talked to friends who played MMOGs, I asked them: “What did you do ?” and instead of telling me of the stories that were narrated in the game, they said: “I was questing”. So all this invested time wasn’t about the epic stories that were written for them, but a repetitive means to an end. Almost a bit like work.
So it’s exactly these “ends” that we will provide, that intrinsic motivation that makes mining stones for your next building project in Minecraft not the same kind of grind as doing a chain of fetch-quests in a MMOG. From what we’ve seen during the last years, the gaming community wants to play fun games with meaningful coherent gameplay instead of leveling and grinding, so we are working to do that among other special things.
The idea is to make the whole game-world a dynamic sandbox-simulation. Every plant grows, every building has to be built and every quest is a contract between players. One example is that prices are defined by players, so smart traders can use price differences between cities to gain profit. At the same time other players can try to rob the traders on their travels. That might force traders to rent mercenaries for defense or set a bounty on the players who robbed them. All mechanics are designed to work together and create such types of stories between the players.'
What part does music play in the game?
'We have different music concepts for the game that we want to try, for us music is in a way part of the emotional setup of a situation, therefore an integral part the environment and mechanics.
One of the things we want to try is to use music to introduce a change of gameplay situations. So that the music changes based on amount of players, monsters and kills in the area.
Another idea is to implement instruments so that players can play and compose songs that yield special abilities, like the wanderer’s song that gives the player a higher move speed while played correctly. Probably a new song - played while killing a unique boss - can even gain magic powers related to the defeated enemy. For example the “song of the necromancer's death” could grant extra damage to undead.'
What do you think of game music generally?
'Game music is really essential for the whole feeling of the game.
Hearing is rooted very deep in our brain, a lot more than seeing. So you speak almost directly to the emotional state, there is not that much decoding consciously as with visual input. We tried different music styles for our game and every single one gave such a different feel to the gameplay. There were definitely directions that completely removed the feeling of danger from a combat situation and people started to play less careful (and died more). So having the right atmosphere, the right music and changes at the right time is not only an aesthetic or usability aspect of game design. It’s an integral part of the game’s mechanics.'
Do you have any favourite game music styles or composers?
'I love the Zelda and Square games a lot for their music and atmosphere and enjoy the game music orchestras that exist. The 25th anniversary concert of Zelda always gives me goosebumps, because it brings back all the feelings and memories of playing that game.'
When will your game be released and how can we get it?
'We will release a demo of the combat-system soon, because the real-time combat was the technologically most difficult part, that we now have under control and are confident to go on.
After that we will integrate the world-generation, sandbox, economy and social aspects of the game. With that good amount of work ahead we’ll be busy implementing, improving, and balancing so there are ways to participate, before the game will come out in 2017.'
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