|Another journey begins. A long, long journey.
We've put a lot of information about the new story and a video on our Kickstarter page.
We're getting older, enough so that the end of our careers is in sight. We only have so many new stories in us now. That is why we've put a lot of work into planning Queen's Wish. I've been designing it in my head for years. It's a very personal project in a lot of ways, and I've thought a lot about what I want to say.
This long blog post is for our fans, who might care about what we're thinking.
|All-new (old) graphics style. All-new art. Note that all of these screenshots are very early and will heavily change.
The Queen's Wish series, starting with Queen's Wish: The Conquerer, will hopefully be a trilogy for Windows, Mac, iPad, and, for the first time, the iPhone.
Our earliest games, the Exile series, had a simpler top-down graphics style. Many fans have, over the years, asked us to go back to this. We're finally doing it. I like this style a lot. It's very graphically clean, and makes it clear what creatures are in what spaces, which is necessary for a game like this on small screens like the iPhone.
We're trying to give the series a nice unified look and interesting graphical effects. where you can always be sure what space you are selecting and where all the creatures are. Our games will never look that fancy. We can't afford it. But we do try to improve things with each new game.
However, the indie game business is super-difficult and competitive right now. Outside of a few hits, most indie games don't make much money. At the same time, replacing all of the art in a game is very expensive. How can a small company like us make our own unique sort of game without going bankrupt?
Fortunately, the internet has provided a way ...
|These brigands dared to steal a fort from Haven. Set them on fire.
In a lot of ways, Spiderweb Software is the sort of company Kickstarter was made for. We're a tiny company. We make unusual products for a loyal niche audience, and we sometimes need help.
We're moving to Kickstarter very late. The big crowdfunding boom was years ago, and customers are rightly nervous about backing video games. A lot of careless game developers took peoples' money and gave nothing in return.
Happily, we have a very long record of shipping good games on time. We know what it takes to write a game, and we aren't going to rip anyone off.
But why support a Kickstarter to make a new indie game. Aren't there too many indie games? Isn't the turn-based RPG market totally glutted?
It's on us to prove that supporting us will create something new and worthwhile.
|Collect resources, upgrade your forts, and get stronger characters. The sort of upgrades you buy improve you in different ways.
Most computer RPGs are about killing some big bad guy. There's some evil demon/wizard/monster/robot and it's totally evil and you get strong and kill it. The End. There's a lot of good games that follow this pattern, but it's not our thing.
I've always been obsessed with story, politics, power, and choices, and all my games reflect that. Every one of our games is about a huge power dominating others, and you have to find a way to survive under it. Support it. Fight it. Remake it. Destroy it.
I am obsessed with the history of Empires (successful and failed), and this comes through in the stories I write. This is appropriate. I am, after all, the citizen of an empire, and so are most of the people who play my games. I'm not ashamed of this. Sometimes Empires do good. (But often not.)
I love my country. But this doesn't keep me from thinking about my homeland and the power it holds, and what that means. These thoughts work their way through my brain, bubble and transform, and come out as game designs.
Video games are art, and art should reflect the world. The world very rarely gives us one end boss to kill to solve all our problems. The real world is much more complicated.
More Stuff About the Game
So this is another game about an Empire. But with a big difference.
You are not some peasant or bottom-rank soldier changing things from the bottom. In Queen's Wish, you are a prince or princess. You have power. You make the decisions, and you have to clean up the consequences.
You will be dealing with other nations, poor but proud, weaker than Haven but just as brave and determined. Each has its own history, beliefs, grudges and resentments. I want them to feel real, both sympathetic and infuriating, and then force you to deal with them.
People who have played my games for a long time know that I hate the idea of a Bad Guy. Whenever I introduce a faction, I let it plead its case as convincingly as possible, and I try to win some players over to their cause. If I introduce a faction and no player ever joins them, I have failed.
A Lot of Stuff About Forts
In Queen's Wish, your power comes from forts and trading posts. You will be trying to rebuild old keeps, once held by Haven. You can get permission to do so through force or diplomacy. These will increase your wealth and power and your standing with the Queen.
I love games that let you make fortresses and fill them with stuff. However, those forts seem to only rarely make a difference in the game. In Queen's Wish, you will have power to build and make decisions, and those decisions will give you noticeable power and bonuses.
Note that, if you aren't into this sort of thing, you can do the fort stuff very quickly. Just think of it as another way to train your character.
You can also make furniture and cosmetic improvements. My younger daughter told me that she wants this, so I put it in.
|You can just build your shops quickly and get on with the fighting, or you can decorate your forts and make them all nice.
It will still be turn-based combat with hand-edited fights, like all our other games. We're working hard to make sure the fights are fresh and don't repeat themselves.
The game system will be skill-based. There won't be character classes. You can pick your skills from four different trees, hopefully allowing for a wide variety of different builds and strategies.
Your characters are stranded deep in a hostile land, and I want the feel of combat to support this. When you leave the base and get into fights, they will wear you down. The missions won't drag you down with lots of trash fights, but each battle will exhaust you. You will have to conserve your power and choose when to use your best abilities and items to push all the way to victory.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Aaaand ... we funded.
I wrote this blog post before the Kickstarter started, planning to post it on the second day of the campaign. I genuinely didn't expect that it would have funded by now. I am humbled by your generosity and faith in us.
Barring my getting run over by a bus, we hope for Queen's Wish to be done by May, 2019. Based on the size of game we have planned and what we have done so far, this seems very doable. It's a crowded market, but I will do my best to make something surprising and unique, and I think I will succeed.
If you have more questions, feel free to post them on our Kickstarter page. We are really excited about this new story, and we are grateful for any support you can provide!