Summary: Today we interview the makers of the action-RPG Silverfall, with details about its skill-based rather than class-based design!
FiringSquad: First, how did the idea for Silverfall come about?
Jehanne Rousseau: We wanted to create an RPG, as we are all fans of the genre. The overall lack of action-oriented RPGs in the last few years (Titan Quest was not out when we started) also encouraged us to go into this direction. However, in order to build a bridge with more story-oriented games and to enrich the concept, we added other elements, such as the notion of choice between two paths. While thinking about this idea, which we didn’t only want to be aesthetic but rather be like a central element of the project, we came up with the concept of a nature/technology conflict, which determined a large part of the gameplay and the universe. With those different ideas, Silverfall was born.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the storyline for the game?
Jehanne Rousseau: The world of Nelwë finds itself in a struggle between the forces of nature and technology, with the city of Silverfall – the last remaining unaffiliated settlement – at the center of the conflict. The land had been governed by elemental sorcerers whose power was threatened when Goblins invented the steam engine and started making great technological advances. As various cities adapted these powerful new technologies, the vegetation around the settlements began to deteriorate, prompting the formation of a nature-oriented faction that opposed everything technological. When the player begins the game, he is thrown into the mage city of Silverfall, which has been besieged by undead creatures sent by an unknown force. Naturally, the story escalates from there, but we don’t want to give too much away.
FiringSquad: What will the playable characters be like?
Jehanne Rousseau: Silverfall features four playable races: Humans, Elves, Goblins and Trolls. Players can choose their character’s sex, and they have various customization options, like skin tone and hair style.
FiringSquad: Is there character generation in Silverfall and if so how is that handled?
Jehanne Rousseau: The character creation is very quick: the player starts by choosing his race (which gives him access to 5 particular skills, but which is in no way an obstruction in other domains such as combat and magic) and his sex (which will influence certain dialogues with NPCs), he can then modify his visual appearance and the game will start. Little by little, as the character levels up, the player will assign more specific skills to his character, eventually leading to a very unique character that suits the player’s gaming style.
Jehanne Rousseau: While Silverfall is fundamentally a hack-and-slash experience, we’ve made a significant effort to ensure that fans of traditional RPGs will find a lot to like. So, in addition to the typical “kill this monster” type of quest you’ll usually find in action-RPGs, we’ve also included quests that task you with escorting another character, or multi-pronged quests in which you may, for example, be tasked with defeating a group of bandits, only to take the bandits’ side and turn on the original quest-giver. These multiple-choice quests are at the core of Silverfall, as it’s through them that the player will gain his loyalty points, which will lead him toward one path or the other.
FiringSquad: What sort of weapons and items will Silverfall have?
Jehanne Rousseau: As in any good hack-and-slash game, we’ve ensured that item collection is a lot of fun. Items are generated randomly, so you can spend hours searching for the best sword or piece of armor with the enchantments you’re hoping for. Of course, there will also be several unique and rare items.
FiringSquad: What are the dev team's favorite monsters in the game to fight?
Jehanne Rousseau: Personally, I love the necroraider creatures. They are the crazy scientists in our world, who do completely improbable Frankenstein-style experiments which are all very original and really surprising. But I think everyone in the team has his favourite. I very much love the boss at the beginning of the game, the ravager, which made me live through some nightmarish hours when he was not yet very well balanced and particularly hard to defeat!
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about Silverfall's combat system?
Jehanne Rousseau: Silverfall is, as I’ve mentioned, a hack-and-slash game, and fast-paced combat is a major component of that. As we’ve left character development fairly open-ended, the combat is suitably unpredictable. You can have a character that hacks away at incoming foes with a swift battle axe, then unleashes lightning bolts at the reinforcements in the distance. There are also a wide range of special attacks related to hand-to-hand and weapon-based combat, to help mix things up a bit.
Jehanne Rousseau: Yes, Silverfall features two main multiplayer modes: free mode and campaign mode. For fans of cooperative gameplay, the campaign mode is perfect; it allows the same group of players to work through the entire game – including the main quest – together. Free mode is great for quick gaming sessions, giving players the opportunity to log on and kill a few monsters, complete some side quests and then log back out.
FiringSquad: What other unique features will make Silverfall stand out?
Jehanne Rousseau: We really feel that the combination of action-based combat, story progression and stylish visuals — along with the tremendously open-ended character-development system — set Silverfall apart from other hack-and-slash titles. We’ve tried to add significant depth to a genre that is typically perceived as button-mashing; giving players the ability to play the game as the exact character they want, with a huge range of skills available, really strengthens the game in that regard.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the graphical features in the game?
Jehanne Rousseau: We have really tried to make Silverfall a beautiful game, not only because it is important to help the player become immersed in the world. We have also integrated a number of technologies such as reflection, refraction, grass and dynamic vegetation, normal maps etc. We also included the innovative system spherical harmonics system, allowing for soft shadows at night. All this comes on top of the visual choice we made at the very beginning: the black outline which gives Silverfall a distinctive look and which gives it a slight comic book touch.
FiringSquad: What is the current status of the game's progress and when will it be released?
Jehanne Rousseau: Silverfall has recently gone gold, and will be available in North America on March 20.
FiringSquad: Finally is there anything else you wish to say about Silverfall?
Jehanne Rousseau: Silverfall will be released with the game editor, a really powerful tool which, on top of letting players create their own maps and stories and to share them with other players, allows them to import their own monsters, items and so on, and to build whole new worlds to run through and to discover. That’s what should delight all mod fans!
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