Gnious got a chance to sit down with a couple of the developers from Legends of Ellaria about the development of the multi-genre game and the communities involvement.
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So I had to look at your game or at least what’s on the website.
Oh yeah, yeah we have a better one on Steam. All the announcements and everything, our site is a bit outdated. But it gives you the information. We are developing a first-person game along with world-management. You can fight with your sword just like an RPG and also control a kingdom and raise an army and fight and strategy-mode.
Why that mix, that’s kind of the first question right? Why that mix?
It’s probably something that a lot of people want because we get a lot of good feedback from it and even before the game is ready people are already buying it as Early Access even though we don’t have each of the genres implemented yet. We only have the city building and the first person and now we are developing the strategy part and we’re already getting a lot of feedback. Because there isn’t a game like that on the market. One thing that has been important to hear are the folks that feel that it’s too complicated, that it’s a mix and I need to know everything. So we decided to automate everything. We have a big automate button so if you don’t want kingdom management you only get the quest, if you want to do the kingdom management and not go to the first-person You can send heroes to do the other tasks.
Let me jump in there, because of how you structure the game there’s plenty of that but one style we’ve seen in the past, Europa Universalis where there is Kingdom management there is step-by-step turn-based and then there’s the real-time combat where I know at least in someplace people are splitting them up into player one player plays one part and the other player plays the other part. Have you considered structures like that?
No we have all of them together. We considered it, but then it wouldn’t be an open-world it would be some kind of rail system. What we do is you decide when and how to play the game and in that way you even choose how you finish the game. You can finish with first-person or with real-time strategy. It’s very interesting because a game like that doesn’t exist and it’s very nice to make something like that. I mean there is Mount & Blade for instance but in Mount & Blade you go into first-person mode when there’s a combat specifically. Our game you can go into a city then you can go into a house you can go back into first-person, I think you can do that in Mount & Blade too. We’re very much like Mount & Blade that way, but they don’t have city building.
That’s why image-wise I reach for something like Europa Universalis because they have the strategy part and the Overland part.
And the first person game, yeah we felt we wanted to mix them because we got a lot of good feedback about that. We went for the feedback from the community and we also did the kickstarter campaign, not a big one, but the more we presented the idea, the more people liked it the more we built it. It started slowly.
How long are you expecting the Early Access to be?
We are expecting to publish a big update close to December. Right now you don’t have kingdom management fully integrated. Then if everything goes well we are hoping and expecting to publish in February.
Ok, so 1.0 in February.
Ya, full release in February.
Is it interesting or strange that we decided to mix the genres?
I mean it’s different, if you go back 15 or 16 years Savage if you remember that one?
Real-time strategy game where you could also choose to play first-person.
Yeah there were some games like that and I liked playing them.
But they all died out, they didn’t go anywhere.
It was mostly a single map.
They were instance-battled. Ok so you’re not particularly mimicking those.
No, every place today it’s much easier to make things procedurally so every place that you visit you can see your own things so it’s really easy for us to generate stuff around the city and then you go to another place and then you load that place and when you go back you can still see the first place you were before. We are using that new technology to our advantage so we can also seamlessly incorporate something like a first-person adventure into world management.
The quest you go on a first-person how big are you targeting them to be? Are we talking 10 minutes, 20 minutes or 2 hours?
It depends which Quest, the simplest Quest is that you need to clear out some caves so you can build a mine. Or there’s also one where you need to conquer another kingdom and you’ll get several quests for that because you’ll need to go to several places and raise an army, then go with the army start capturing along the way. Strategizing. Depends on which Quest, I think like in any other game.
I guess I’m asking if I sit down to play the game how long should I plan to set aside?
When the game will be finished it will be a long time because it’s 4X We’re trying to get to a 4X experience, not turn-based by the way. Kind of like Heroes of Might and Magic or other games that are not turn-based. When you go somewhere you will see a line And you advance, you won’t have the end turn button.
Turn-based but seamless?
No. It goes by dates, if you’re sending an army it takes four days to get there, you can get there a lot faster but the Army moves slowly. You can decide whether to speed up the time. It’s supposed to be a lot more than a few hours, that’s for sure.
One of the reasons why I also asked about the coop is because I’m into 4X games and one of my co-host is into first-person games, hence it would be interesting to play this Co-op.
The main quest will last for 12 to 14 hours maybe. But then you can continue endlessly by side-quests on newly generated maps and events and follow them.
I know you said it isn’t turn-based but are you going for that one more turn feel, I don’t want to leave the game right now?
Sure, I think every 4X game has that.
Some make it easier to leave.
We’re trying to make it as continuous as possible.
Story-wise in the game, I know 4X’s are not known for their stories but what are you…?
There is a main story and it progresses as much as you develop your kingdom. Most of the quests will have a requirement for a minimum amount of units, or conquering places So that you won’t get in a situation where you can’t beat the game or you can’t progress. But generally speaking the main quest are supposed to be just a natural advance.
So there’s a story behind some of these set-down roads?
Yes, there’s a story.
You managed to make a game the two of us (Drac and I) would like to play as long as we can play together as I play Sims and he plays first person shooters.
Nice, so both of you want to… yes that’s the idea.
You should play the December version that’s going to be a big update. Right now you don’t have the strategy mode.
How much do you customize, as a player you customize your own look but can you customize the armys?
We are planning on that, but we’re not promising that. It may come as a DLC or something because we are trying to finish in February. We already made the UI for that and if we can we’d like to make that but we may not have the time to finish that for February.
Ok that means that, if it comes out, I can equip the army the way that I want to.
Exactly, pick specific units and what they use. If not then we still will have the default light infantry, heavy infantry, and archers. Each of which you need to research and they cost money and resources.
And when you say DLCs does that mean you’re planning to continue developing for the game after release?
Yes, we need to make multiplayer and we need to support multiplayer, and that’s not close. we may want to add modding support…whatever is in the interest of the community.
Are you looking to make it as for purchase DLC or for free?
Depends, some of them will be for purchase like the necromancer is for purchase. But maybe armor customizations could be free.
Let’s say you make multiplayer and you have a necromancer that’s purchasable are you not playing into pay-to-win?
No it’s a class which has benefits and drawbacks.
You’re being careful not to skew the game?
It’s like for instance, War Games. You can buy a whole country’s attack with new military equipment so somebody can buy the Swedish army. He may have some benefits others don’t but he’s not paying to get this DLC to be stronger. It’s balanced with the other ones already in the game.
We all know payers have this tendency to say “everyone who has this DLC wins.”
It’s not going to be like that. We hope not to make that. That’s why we’re working with the community. It’s balanced with the others as well.
What is magic in the game, in this world?
There are three classes, you have the elemental mage, the void, and the rift mage. The elemental is only damage, like fireball and burn-them-up magic. The rift mage has shields and teleportation so he actually has benefits over the elemental who doesn’t have much to defend himself. And then there’s the druid who can also only summon creatures he has some offensive magic but can only summon creatures. Which is a good thing for you if you will spam creatures to summon. The void is good against the rift mage, the rift is good against the elemental, and the elemental is good against the druid.
Like rock paper scissors?
Yes. Exactly. It’s also good for players who want to be smart they’re going to choose the rift, if they want to be destructive they’re going to choose the elemental. Everyone with their own desires.
Can you get these for your army? Can you put an elemental Mage in your army?
We’re planning to have those only as your heroes, either mages and warriors so you can play as either elemental or the others. And we’re also planning to add followers. So you go into a cave and you find a wizard and he now helps you and is part of the army. So he’s just an elemental wizard. But you can’t just provide them. It’s not like a group of mages that you can just spawn. It’s a special thing otherwise it would make the army redundant. Magic is very rare in the game, only for players, only for the heroes.
And you said you wanted to do more platforms for right now you’re just Windows PC?
Which platforms would you like to go?
Xbox, PlayStation. But not phones or mobile. We haven’t checked Switch yet.
We made it in unity to support multiplayer and to support cross-platform and all kinds of shaders that we need to use and technology that we would need to use. it’s supposed to be easy for consoles and then whatever we can do after the release of the game.
Considering we’re coming up on the next console generation are you targeting this one of the next one?
Probably the next one. We’re going to start porting it in February.
Because we’re expecting the PS5 next year.
It also depends on how easy they make it for us, if they didn’t make the API, it’s always hard with new technologies.
That’s on Unity I guess.
They’re very good at that, it’s not easy to keep up with Unity’s latest version. Every time they make an upgrade they lose some backwards compatibility but we managed to stick with Unity. We are happy as developers with Unity.
Responsible for many of the day-to-day operations, for messing up website code, and generally for whipping the rest of the team into an odd shape, G took on the Evil Overlord title because the rest ran around like headless chicken. He doubles as the other main host on Rated-R, when actually around and awake.