[dropcap size=big]R[/dropcap]oguelikes are one of those genres that are so umbiquitous on Kickstarter that it can be difficult for many of them to stand out. However, the recently launched Overture from Black Shell Games sets itself apart in a big way. Graphics wise the game is the sort of retro-pixels we’ve come to expect, so while they look nice they’re not likely to catch your attention. What takes Overture to the next level are the gameplay changes Black Shell are bringing to the mix, including two dozen character classes. The fact that you can already buy Overture means that you can try it out before you back, not bad. To learn more about Overture I recently had the opportunity to speak with the gang at Black Shell Games.
Cliqist : Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Black Shell Games : We’re Black Shell Games, and we make games! The team behind Overture consists of Daniel Doan, development lead, Raghav Mathur, marketing lead, Rafael Langoni Smith, composer, and Nick Dechiara, programming assistant.
Cliqist : Tell us a little about Black Shell Media? What’s the story behind the name?
BSG : Black Shell Media is a multimedia studio that consist of Black Shell Media—a marketing firm—and Black Shell Games—an independent game development studio. As far as the name goes, we’re big fans of Mario Kart and its iconic blue shell. We took the message it carries of being able to take you miles ahead of the competition, as well as the stability and strength associated with the shell image in general, and created our brand.
Cliqist : Can you explain in your own words what kind of game is Overture?
BSG : It’s a bit of Zelda, a bit of Diablo, and a bit of River City Ransom. Slay enemies, get loot, go deeper, level up! The most interesting part of the game is its roguelike aspect—every single time you play, it’ll be different. Levels and encounters are randomly generated. You can play Overture a thousand times over (please do!) and it’d be different every time.
Cliqist : What video-game, film, literature or artwork do you believe influenced Overture?
BSG : Games like Zelda, Diablo, Binding of Isaac, River City Ransom, Realm of the Mad God, and more influenced us.
Cliqist : Overture “offers dynamic game play with action and roguelite elements at every corner,” please elaborate.
BSG : There’s a delicate balance between powering on through the dungeons and trying to strategically grow your character and gather companions and tools. You have to stay on your toes and figure out what works best, all while facing horde after horde of randomly generated armies of monsters.
Cliqist : Overture will feature 24 classes, an array of weapons and unlimited upgrades; can you explain these features and provide examples.
BSG : You start off with four characters unlocked, each from a class of character. You have the class categories Warrior, Rogue, Mage, and Shaman, and can pick from a diverse array of character classes. When you start, you can play as either a warrior, ranger, wizard, or priest, but as you defeat enemies and collect gold you can unlock more characters.
Cliqist : What kind of difficulty level can gamers expect in Overture, would there be settings for both casual and hardcore gamers?
BSG : Overture currently only has one game mode, and it’s a typical permadeath-style dungeon crawl, but we’re open to new game modes in the future! The game was crafted to be easy to pick up, but difficult to master. You can play more casually and spend time carefully building your strength. You can also dive on in head-first and go a little crazy cutting down creature after creature. Up to you!
Cliqist : What kind of game-engine will you be using for Overture?
BSG : We’re using GML with GM Studio. It’s pretty amazing and allows us to iterate much faster than our previous project, SanctuaryRPG: Black Edition, which was made using C++. Game Maker is fantastic and has a ton of capabilities. It allows us the flexibility of implementing everything from the most basic of combat features all the way to advanced dungeon-generation algorithms.
Cliqist : Can you give a general break down on how the funds collected from the Kickstarter will be used?
BSG : We’ll spend the bulk of it contracting a programmer to port Overture to iOS and Android. There’ll also be a slew of costs associated with licenses and software to get the game on Mac and Linux. Plus, getting a product on the Play Store and App Store will cost us money. We also need to be able to cover costs like website hosting and marketing funds to make sure that the world knows about Overture.
Cliqist : What made you decide to launch a Kickstarter project for Overture at this time?
BSG : We’re not the richest of folk, but we still want to make games! This money will serve to keep us afloat as we try to both add more content and port the game across platforms. Kickstarter has proven time and time again that it’s reliable and an always-growing source of fantastic crowdfunding and customer engagement. We’ve hopped on board and we’re loving it!
Cliqist : Would you be offering DRM-Free copies as pledge/add-on for backers that might request them?
BSG : DRM-Free all the way, baby!
Cliqist : Apart from PC what other platforms are you planning to bring Overture to?
BSG : If funding is successful, we’re looking into OSX, Linux, Android, and quite possibly iOS!
Thanks to the guys at Black Shell for taking the time to answer our questions. If you’d like to learn more about Overture be sure to head over to its Kickstarter page before the campaign ends on January 31st.