Last year, we came across Decay of Logos, an RPG drawing on inspirations from European folklore and gaming traditions seen in The Legend of Zelda. This month, we had the pleasure of catching up with development team Amplify Creations, checking in on how the project is coming along. We’re incredibly excited about the style and exploration possibilities in Decay of Logos, as evidenced in our initial reaction to the game, so speaking with the team has been a great experience in getting to know the title better.
We explored the trials and tribulations of moving from a personal project to a team development, as well as getting down to the nitty gritty on some of the team’s more innovative game mechanics. André Constantino began the project as a personal prototype, before joining Amplify Creations in 2015 and the team grew in artists and animators from there.
My first question is about moving from the game being a personal project of one team member to including a whole development team. How did the project evolve in this respect? Were you all originally on the same page or did certain new ideas change any fundamental aspects of the game?
There was a general idea of what had to be done during the early prototype stage but not an official “fully realized plan”. Going from a personal project to an official project, with other developers, actually helped solidify the core concepts that define Decay of Logos. Thankfully, we were all on the same page when it came to the theme and the tactical combat driven gameplay with rpg and adventure / exploration elements.
One of the main advantages of joining a team of developers is that I could count on other people to help me develop the game’s unique identity. There was a small, but critical, pre-production time that allowed us to test different visual style and development workflows, fine-tune our predictions for both development costs and time, and actually hire the right people to help is make Decay of Logos a reality.
I believe it paid off. The core concept and story did not change much but, by carefully planning it, we were able to improve it greatly.
Your Made With Unity article details how each artist brought their own artistic expertise and looking at the original concept art the environments look all the better for it. How much of the narrative will rely on these environments? Will they be used for a predominantly visual method of storytelling?
Adding new talent to the team really helped us expand our original idea. Since the early prototype stages, our storytelling approach has relied heavily on visual queues. Some are obvious, others more discrete, more observant players will definitely get more out of exploring the world of Decay of Logos. We use quite a few tricks to guide the player, early testing of these mechanics was critical. Be it a simple smoke sign from a distant camp, bird feathers on the floor, environmental sounds, or even corpses around a corner.
For more elaborate dialogs we rely on traditional text. Hints and backstory messages can also be found throughout the world.
How will the companion function within the game, and what level of interaction can we expect? Is teamwork emphasised, or is the companion more of an aid to your individual play?
The companion is crucial to story progression, players cannot complete the game, or even leave most areas, without the Elk. It can definitely be considered an aid but, through the existing interaction mechanics, we try to make it feel as authentic as possible. It might not be possible in every situation but we want players to really feel that they are interacting with a living creature with its own personality; within reason of course. For gameplay sake, some mechanics will be simplified when it comes to direct interaction.
In the early stages of the game, players have to feed and protect the Elk in order to gain its trust, you won’t be able to ride it otherwise. As the trust grows, later on the game, the Elk might even help the player in some near death situation.
We don’t want to reveal much at this stage but teamwork will be critical when it comes to solving puzzles and overcoming progression barriers.
The Elk also serves tactical purposes when it comes to inventory management by offering extra carrying capacity. The player inventory is purposefully limited; they can only carry a few potions, 3 types of weapons and quest items. This will come into play in some situations, particularly when they are forcefully separated; either by enemies or by the actual level layout.
That sounds really exciting, it’s too rare that games actually acknowledge the fact that you’ve just claimed an animal and it automatically does whatever you tell it too! You say that your gameplay is inspired by Dark Souls and The Legend of Zelda. How have you worked with the difficulty and accessibility of the game to reflect both of these inspirations? How will we see these inspirations come into play in the final game?
We are constantly balancing the difficulty so that it remains challenging but not extremely hard. The combat somewhat borrows the z-targeting controls introduced back in Zelda – Ocarina of Time, which is also the inspiration for the lock system in Dark Souls. It’s very important to learn your enemy moves in order to best evade and counter-attack during combat, like in Dark Souls games. The way the story and lore is told is also similar to the Souls series. In addition to those base mechanics, we give it our own spin by adding puzzle solving and companion interaction to the mix.