DreamWalker’s Digital are currently hard at work readying GrayWalkers Purgatory, a third person role-playing title with a heavy emphasis on storytelling. for a launch of a KickStarter in 2014. We’ve managed to get to speak to Russell Thomas, who is DreamWalker’s CEO and lead game designer about the title, the teams thoughts on indie development, PC gaming and more.
RGT: You’re currently hard at work on Graywalkers and preparing to re-launch a kick starter campaign in March this year. Can you share how development for Graywalkers is progressing and how you’re preparing for your new campaign?
Russell Tomas: Development for Graywalkers is progressing steadily, at least with regards to preparations for the Kickstarter. We’re currently working on a playable demo to showcase some of the game’s highlights, particularly it’s turn based combat and some of the different missions and environments you may experience in the game. We’re also building more levels of various environments to include in the video that won’t be seen in the demo. For our video, we plan to focus more on gameplay then make it short and sweet. We’re also slowly trying to get the word out and this has been going on steadily.
RGT: Have you considered working with either Sony or Microsoft on their respective next generation platforms? Several developers have pointed out how supportive Sony have been in regards to the PS4 development.
Russell Tomas: Yes, we’ve actually been looking at this. If we can get into their programs, we are hoping to port for PS4 and Xbox One. Unity 3D, the engine we are using currently has ongoing partnerships with both Sony and Microsoft so the support for these platforms opens up this possibility. It also hopefully wouldn’t be too big a problem to port the game to these platforms with the way Unity is normally set up as. We will definitely keep everybody updated with regards to these new platforms.
RGT: What aspects of Graywalkers are most exciting to you?
Russell Tomas: There are several aspects which we find really exciting for Graywalkers. First is the world we have created. It is an rich and expansive world with very deep lore, story and mythology. The second aspect that we are excited about is its emergent feature. This hasn’t really been done in turn-based RPGs so it would be interesting to see us try new ground. Lastly, is the gameplay. We’ve always wanted to mesh all the best features from our favorite turn-based games (XCom, Jagged Alliance, Fallout) and merge them together into one harmonious package, with a combination that delivers a new gaming experience.
RGT: How do you feel the landscape in shifting in regards to indie development on both PC, mobile and consoles?
Russell Tomas: Well, it definitely is a good time to be indie. We hope this momentum that has started will continue. With technology being more readily available now, we feel this growth of the indie industry will continue to grow. With regards to PC and mobile, this is already on the way. For consoles, we hope that these indie initiatives by the console makers would be an impetus for indie developers to start considering these markets more seriously. As multi-platform technologies evolve, the ability for indie developers to deploy on multiple platforms becomes much easier which in turn opens up new markets and opportunities.
RGT: On your website you mention you’ll be porting the game over to the Wii U. Have you had much experience dealing with Nintendo, many studios have said they (Nintendo) are being extremely supportive recently to indie studios.
Russell Tomas: We are currently looking at porting the game later on to the Wii U. We’ve even considered porting over to the PS4 and XBox One especially now that all these companies are starting to be very supportive of indie projects. It also helps that they are also supporting the Unity Engine, which makes it easier for us to develop for these platforms. Unfortunately though, we haven’t had much experience dealing with Nintendo or any of the other console companies yet though we are about to soon. We will focus on this more after the kickstarter relaunch since it will be moot if we don’t get through that stage first. We are excited though to the possibility of coming out on the console platforms.
RGT: There has been of course the recent release of AMD’s Mantle (and low level DX12), huge advancements to GPU computing, and much more happening in the PC gaming space of late. Are your team looking forward to any particular piece of technology?
Russell Tomas: Right now, our team is looking forward mostly to the technology that relates directly to Unity. First of course is Unity 5, which has been announced lately. Also, there are many new unity based technology being created by other developers that we definitely are currently studying to see which would fit. I guess the newest piece of technology that we are most excited about is the one we are building for the game, particularly the emergent game system that will be running behind the scenes making the entire game world dynamic.
Russell Tomas: The idea for Graywalkers first came to me in 1997 i think. It was originally a concept for a graphic novel that i wanted to do solo back when i was still very much into comic book creation. I never got far with the actual book but the concept just kept on growing in my head. When i decided i wanted to get into game development, this was the idea i really wanted to do. The gameplay kept on changing but the gameworld did not. The plan was to make a turn based game but at the time there was no viability for it, so i decided i wanted to make it as a MMO. The concept at the time was set in modern days and back then i felt creating an MMO in modern days would be hard to do successfuly. So I decided i wanted to make the game set in a post-apocalyptic setting. So the concept from the game emerged from the idea that “what if the heroes of the comic book failed”. After that everything fell into place story wise.
RGT: How are you planning to tell the story in Graywalkers, will the game focus on a more open ended story or a more linear, tightly focused one?
The way we are telling the story won’t be too linear. There will be “Key Story Milestones” that will drive the story forward but how you get there is not set in stone. These milestones will act like triggers to the main story and you can only progress when they are set into motion. There is no time limit so you can do a lot of stuff before needing to get back into the story line. The player will have a choice to barrel through the main story early on, or can go around and enjoy all the other side stories that exist in the game while gaining power and resources.
Russell Tomas: What pushed your decision to use the Unity engine over other game engines?
Well, we were using Unity pretty early on and we loved how easy it was compared to other game engines. Also, the ability to port to almost all the platforms make it worth it. We also have built many frameworks already based on Unity, and for every piece we build, we can use them as components for other games or apps. This makes development easier and faster the more we build. And lastly, we believe its truly heading in the right direction. Even now you can see top engines like Unreal and Crytek follow suit and emulate what Unity is doing.
RGT: Many thanks for the interview Russell, good luck in the future! Look forward to trying out the game!
Check out their website here.