[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]his interview is about a 2D hack n’ slash game set in 8 bit pixel style, yup just like pretty much any other game project you see premiering on crowd funding every week…gotcha! Children of Morta is everything you have seen in roguelike retro-games if it was turbo-charged and kicked up ten notches. The flow of animation looks like one is watching a movie length GIF that is crammed with enough pixel-art to make even the most jaded SNES fan salivate. Plus the plot isn’t bad either considering it’s a roguelike game: the Bergson family has been living on Morta for generations by working the land peacefully. One day this changes as they notice an evil corrupting effect on Mount Morta, and now with the player’s help they will seek out and defeat it. The player will pick any family member from the Bergson family, each with their own unique weapons and abilities.
Being the curious cat that I am I fired a message to the developers over at Dead Mage in the hopes of getting a bit more information about Children of Morta. Amir Fassihi, the team lead for Dead Mage, was kind enough to set aside some time and answer my burning questions, enjoy.
Cliqist – Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Amir Fassihi – My name is Amir Fassihi and I am the Team Lead and founder of Dead Mage. My background is in Engineering and I started game development with programming and then some design.
Cliqist – Tell us a little about Dead Mage Studio, what’s the story behind the unusual name?
Amir Fassihi – Well there are many interpretations and ideas behind the name :). Some might be correct! Death happens a lot in videogames (Game Over), Mage is a popular videogame character. Thinking about death makes you more productive! A Dead Mage does not exist like we did not exist in the game industry but yet again it is a mage and you never know what can happen with magic! A Magi, as depicted in our logo, is an ancient Persian name and that way it is related to my ethnic roots, and those Magi are now dead. Anyway, either of the above or anything else can work.
Cliqist – Can you explain in your own words what kind of game is Children of Morta?
Amir Fassihi – Children of Morta is an action roguelike game with a stress on narrative both in the form of predetermined and designed narrative and emergent narrative, and with a lot of stress on Family!
Cliqist – What video-game, film, literature or artwork do you believe influenced Children of Morta?
Amir Fassihi – Well there are a lot. This game is the result of the input from all members on its team (7 developers and I think this is the real beauty of indie development). Everyone in our team has had a lot of influences from games and other art forms. To name some of them: Miyazaki animations, other roguelike games like The Binding of Isaac, Rogue Legacy, Nuclear Throne.
Cliqist – “A story-driven hack ‘n slash roguelike game ” Please elaborate?
Amir Fassihi – Well the action part of the game has a lot of hack ‘n slash feel to it, you would need to slay monsters with melee or ranged weapons and a lot of special abilities, you would need to be quick and quite fast. The roguelike part brings permadeath and procedural content generation to the game. You never play the same level twice. And then there is an overarching story around all those where you experience the events with the family and witness their journey.
Cliqist – What kind of difficulty level can gamers expect in Children of Morta, would there be settings for both casual and hardcore Gamers?
Amir Fassihi – We have not finalized this decision yet as to whether we will have difficulty level selection. Overall I can say that the game is not very easy and there are a lot of deaths waiting for you, customary of many roguelikes I assume.
Cliqist – What kind of game-engine will you be using for Children of Morta and why?
Amir Fassihi – We are using Unity3D. We started using Unity3D when we wanted to make our first game for the mobile platforms, Shadow Blade. The tools and engine is very easy to use and it provides most of the functionality we are looking for so that is why we have decided to continue using it.
Supporting multiple platforms is another main reason.
Cliqist – What kind of game length(hours of gameplay) has Dead Mage planned for Children of Morta ?
Amir Fassihi – We can know exactly towards the end of the project but for now something close to other roguelikes. However you can expect a lot of hours from this genre since you die over and over again and have to start from the start of the levels. For the play session that you go from start to finish and beat the game, these games usually take around 2 to 4 hours. You would need to spend maybe close to 50 hours in order to do that.
Cliqist – Why should people back Children of Morta Kickstarter?
Amir Fassihi – If we know we have the support of the people and they like the ideas we have laid out for this game, then we would need to spend some time and implement the ideas and polish the game to have the desired quality for the large audience. All these would require time and money. Kickstarter would tell us first whether people like the idea and this game has potential and two whether we have the money to work on all the details we have planned.
If the campaign is not successful, we will still finish the game but with a much smaller scope and features.
Cliqist – What platforms are you planning to bring Children of Morta?
Amir Fassihi – PC/Mac/Linux for sure, we just revealed stretch goals for PS4/Vita. We would love to make it for other platforms too but we have to see how everything proceeds in the coming months.
Cliqist – Can you close us out with a Children of Morta related haiku?
Amir Fassihi – My favorite is: A family that slays together, stays together!
Does not follow the haiku rules though! 🙂
Thanks to Amir for taking the time to answer my questions! If you’d like to learn more about Children of Morta be sure to check out its Kickstarter campaign before it ends on February 19,2015.