One of the many endings / epilogues of the game. This one is not a big spoiler since we know already about Loren and Breza from Loren first game!
As promised, here is the postmortem of my latest RPG Cursed Lands. The game was released in May this year after about 3 years of development. Personally I was involved in coding and writing it from past year, starting around April/May until May this year, so I spent about one year of work on it (not always full time though, since February to May was mostly bugfixing).
For the gameplay, I reused my RPG engine with the changes done for Queen Of Thieves, of which the biggest were:
– no front/back row and no position swap during fights
– possibility to damage target’s defense to increase damage done and hit/miss chances reducing normal damage done
– portraits showing on the map when you can talk to a character
– non lethal battles
but at the same time I also introduced several new gameplay elements:
– “first person view” with the possibility to have bigger enemy sprites and monsters of varying sizes
– the social talent system with a series of new things like enemies attacking each other, fleeing battle, giving items to player
– the deteriorating defense system, so that over time the defense would go down as target takes hits, to avoid the battles dragging out too long
– skill checks outside the battle
– items with associated skills (like a magic book casting a spell, usable even by non magic users)
now I admit that some changes were mostly cosmetic, like the “first person view” of the combat, but I think it looks really better than before. In a way it’s like my first RPG Planet Stronghold in which you could see the enemies fully, and not just portraits. I know that some people disliked it (not this change in particular but the removal of front/back rows).
I agree that from the tactical point of view removing the front/back row is a step down, and I will probably re-introduce it in Loren 2. I’ll also try at same time to have a nice visual, so perhaps still “first person view” like in Cursed Lands, but with the enemies placed in a front/back row, and the party as well. The screen will be a bit crowded though 😉 Anyway, there’s time to think about this.
Cursed Lands numbers are very impressive:
– a plot of over 300,000 words with a lot of branching paths
– character creation system with over 1 million possible combos
– over 100 unique item designs (not 500 as I erroneously posted on twitter a while ago)
– if we consider color variations, over 250 different items (this means I reused same icon design but tweaked the colors to create a new item)
– a soundtrack of 21 tracks + theme song
– 5 love interests for each gender (though 4 bisex characters, the nagas, Nuala and Vaeril)
it is hands down the biggest game I’ve ever made: biggest story, soundtrack, items. SOTW has more combat and enemy variants, while Loren had more love interests, but overall this one was the biggest.
Bigger is not always better
That’s what they say, right? Well, in this case of course some people liked it a lot, others were neutral, and another group disliked it. But they are just people’s opinions, what interests me mostly are the hard facts, the statistics/figures, so let’s see some numbers:
– during the first week on Steam, Cursed Lands sold twice the amount of SOTW
– during the first 3 months, Cursed Lands sold more than Queen Of Thieves in 2 years
– during its first month of direct sales, Cursed Lands sold slightly more than Loren
I don’t think comparing it to Loren is fair though, since those were really different times. Indeed Loren sold about the same amount each month for longer, while nowadays after the launch month, it’s really rare for a full price game to keep selling the same amount for many consecutive months.
So it was a success? Yes, I think it was, especially considering the big “indieapocalypse situation” and for my modest standards of course. I know other indies that made twice the money with simple porn yuri dating sims of not even 1/5 of the size of my game and, of course, zero gameplay and complex coding. I love doing RPGs so I’m a special case, but if you’re after the money I definitely wouldn’t recommend doing one!
Anyway, I am personally satisfied of the job I’ve done with the help of the various collaborators and I’d like to think that maybe one day I’ll be remembered by the RPGs gameplay and not just by nice art/sexy contents.