One of the most popular, if not the most popular genre in gaming right now, is the action-RPG. Many developers are putting their own spin on things, but nobody has been doing what Gamera Interactive has done with its current project Alaloth: Champions of the Four Kingdoms. Currently on PC in early access, we spoke with Gamera Founder and CEO Alberto Belli about the state of the game and what’s to come.
As a little background, Alaloth: Champions of the Four Kingdoms is in a genre by itself. The game seamlessly combines elements from so many genres while adding brand new ones, that Alberto himself laughs when describing the game. “We used to say that Baldur’s Gate and Dark Souls had a baby. This is probably the most easy way to describe the game. It’s something in between an old school RPG and a modern action RPG. We are trying to stay in the middle”.
One of the elements that Alaloth utilizes is the isometric camera environment while integrating the Souls-like, physics based combat. The added difficulty of blending the camera angle with this fighting style was not as easy as it sounds. In fact, convincing the people making the actual game that it was even feasible was the first hurdle.
"“The first thing is convincing the team that this kind of thing could work properly. **laughs**. So we had to convince our designers. Every single dev teams tries to pitch a game that is going to revolutionize the industry. Something new, something unique. We started with a very clear idea of not reinventing the wheel, but trying to mix all this stuff the proper way. So, yeah the hardest part was pitching the game to our team”."
What you’ll notice about Alaloth is that although the game is based around elements of Diablo, Baldur’s Gate, old school RPG’s and modern action RPG’s is that if you play it as any one of those, you will most definitely fail. This is what so intrigued me about it, and how and it operates as it’s own mini-genre so to speak. Another good example is how it’s most recent Winter update on Steam describes new content in the form of new standalone areas outside of the main map and story. Now, this sounds exactly how MMO’s release content, and Alberto clarified how they are utilizing this system in continuing to develop Alaloth.
"“So let’s say that the game is completely modular. The point is that right now we are very fast with things we have in place. We have a lot of ideas of things we want to implement. It acts as kind of foundation. It’s possible to add any type of content on top if the game which is 100 hours contents right now. We can add multiplayer features. We can add new single player campaign. Right now we are just testing”."
When originally announced, Alaloth was said to be in early access for around a year. After releasing last June 30, we are about four and a half months away from that time. Even though publishers have been approaching them with various requests, Alberto commented that console release is still coming but time frame depends on who they end up working with and the time frame agreements behind it. With a console announcement at the onset and the game initially optimized for controller anyway, the team is currently working on console release stuff now to get ready.
The most dynamic feature in Alaloth is the active map. It drastically impacts gameplay as different players may encounter an enemy in completely unique locations. The typical NPC with an exclamation point quest is nowhere to be found in Alaloth. Instead, the world map shows ever moving icons of people to find. Not only does this impact location, but your character does as well.
"“That’s one of the pillars of the world game. We used to describe the game as lore centered instead of player centered. You have the perception that the world is not waiting for you. If a dwarf or an elf enters the human throne room, it is not the same. The king is reacting a different way”."
Alberto went on to comment on how the time of year even impacts gameplay with certain character quests being limited to certain times of year and quest lines being tied to your character’s race.
With so many choices and available options, there is so much replayability in Alaloth. With a campaign of over 100 hours on one race alone and four playable races in the game, one quickly realizes what he means when Alberto comments that any type of content can be added into the game. Even more brand new content is due out this Spring in April with dragons being added to the game on top of more areas. Combat features weapon durability, strategic timing and physics-based reactions while attacking and blocking. Surprisingly, with a team of only 10-15 people, Gamera has managed to blend these features with the hand-drawn backgrounds so beautifully in Alaloth. He attributes the success to the dedication to his team first and foremost.
"“Our team is one of the most active dev team on Steam. We try to answer every single review, every single topic, every single private message. We answer to everyone basically”."
This dedication is what has led to the success of Alaloth after the years of struggles it undergone. Many if not all of the initial issues have been resolved, with the complaints remaining over a result of difficulty rather than development.
Alaloth: Champions of the Four Kingdoms is available now on Steam early access and in development for consoles. It is available for $24.99, with a supporters edition for 30% off at $38.46 as well. With that, you receive an artbook, soundtrack and a host of in game items.
Make sure you check it out, as it functions as a phenomenal blend of multiple aspects in order to create its own mini-genre. Not too many games can say this, but because of the game’s setup there really is no other game like Alaloth. Have you tried it out? Let us know below.