Hanakai Studios Puts The World At Your Finger Tips In Prodigy
By Peter Nolan-Smith
Players interact with their games through buttons, joysticks and the occasional light gun. The controller and keyboard has more or less stayed the same since the early days of the industry, attempts at major changes generally don’t sell well or have much lasting power.
Few gamers pine for the days of the Nintendo Power Glove.
Paris’ Hanakai Studio doesn’t think the standard system is immersive enough.
The solution, eliminate the mouse, keyboard and controllers all together.
“Since the beginning of the project, my only concern is what we offer a strong and unique gaming experience at the end,” Jean Bay, the studio’s founder told Cliqist. “This means that we first think about the game we want to create and after we adapt the technology to be able to do it.”
The company’s flagship title, the fantasy RPG Prodigy, utilizes near field communication (NFC) to bring aspects of tabletop gaming to the screen. Players interact with the digital world through a white electronic board. Figurines, cards and a unique ring that stores the player’s data within all interact with this device to control the game.
While not the first to utilize this system it separates itself from Skylanders and Disney Infinity by relying completely on its system for every aspect of game control.
The board is an impressive piece of engineering and Bay is remaining fairly tight-lipped about who and what went into its creation.
“We designed it by thinking of all the different type of games we could be able to make with a board like that, a mix between something intuitive, thanks to the natural feeling you get by hands-on manipulating and controlling of real figurines, and cards and featuring in-depth gameplay.
“We are working with different partners depending of the needs and components of the board. At this point we can’t really give you more details.”
Bay was originally a developer of table-top games and beyond the shiny new technology needed Prodigy’s most impressive aspect is the character design. When the development is done there will be 13 playable characters, each crafted into a small statuette.
“Every character is painstakingly crafted and has to come through the hands of artists dedicated to each aspect of the production.
“From the 2D concept to the 3D game model and the figurine, a character can take up to three months to create.”
Set in the medieval fantasy world of Thasys the plethora of unique races rely on the increasingly rare magical energy, Mana to survive. While the rest of the planet erupts into war and uprising in the wake of dwindling magic supplies, players enter the role of a Guardian, an individual able to create the resource. They transverse their conflicted lands to stop an evil darkness threatening to destroy everything.
It is an ambitious project, both in scale and expectation.
Thankfully the heavy lifting has been done before the pitch had even been released online. The necessary hardware that merges the real with the digital already exists. The project has only hours left and more than doubled its Kickstarter goal of $100,000.
Backers have even unlocked an impressive stretch goal of an additional game mode called Path of Survivor, which allow players to challenge their group of Heroes. In this special game mode, you play with another version of your characters. The group is at their maximum possible level, but their skills are randomly determined by the game. Each turn only lasts a few seconds, so players must decide their strategy very quickly.
What’s next for Hanakai isn’t set in stone, though Bay isn’t going to rest on his laurels.
“Developing other games with our board and NFC system seems a very cool idea. However, we are focusing on the development of Prodigy and the release of the game right now.”
[Google][pinterest][follow id=”Cliqist” size=”large” count=”true” ]
[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Peter_Nolan_Smith.jpg”]Peter is an online journalist and freelance writer trying to make it in this crazy digital world. After leaving the University of King’s College’s journalism program he relocated to Toronto where he’s currently a working union actor and stuntman, with a short web series he’s written in development. Born in merry ol’ England, Peter remembers his love of video games starting with Zelda: Link to the Past. He loves big expansive virtual worlds and long walks on the beach.[/author]