Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms, a deeper kind of hack'n'slash #IndieWednesdays

Once upon a time there was a game called Kult: Heretic Kingdoms. It was a fairly successful take on the hack'n'slash genre; a refreshing title, a bit more complex than its competition, by which me mean Diablo. It never became the next big thing in the video game industry, but managed to acquire a steady fanbase that wouldn't let Kult fade into obscurity. And now, finally, after 12 long years, we have a sequel.



#ShadowsHereticKingdoms: an #indie #rpg familiar yet complex. Players actually shape the story! #indieWednesdays


The world is falling apart. Demonic soul-eaters ravage the kingdoms and everything that's our reality is being reshaped into a dark, shadowy reflection of itself. Can anyone stop the apocalypse? That's for you to find out.

At first glance, Shadows looks quite familiar: it's a simplified (not simple, though) RPG with bird's eye view, health and mana bars, quick use panel and everything else you'd expect from a Diablo clone. However, Shadows isn't just a Diablo clone.

First of all, it's more than a hack'n'slash. There's more emphasis on story: characters are reasonably fleshed out and are way more than quest givers and item sellers. What's more important, the player can actually choose dialogue options, and his choices impact the game world.


No MP in #indiegames #rpg @HereticKingdoms = richer, polished single player. Way to go! #KinguinLovesIndies



There's plenty stuff to look forward to for players who like to hack and slash in their hack'n'slasher. Varied character builds that require different playstyles, a unique party system and morphing into other characters, and finally: the dark shadow dimension – an alternate game world to explore and conquer.

Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms is a single player only game, but that's actually its advantage. It means that the developers didn't have to use a part of their resources to produce a tacked on multiplayer mode. All the effort went into making a polished, addictive RPG that knows what it is and who has it been made for.


If you like the genre, make yourself a favor and try Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms.

 

#IndieWednesdays interviews Peter Nagy, CEO of Games Farm, maker of #ShadowsHereticKingdoms - only @KinguinNet



Kinguin: Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms is a sequel to Kult: Heretic Kingdoms, a game released in 2004. What has changed in the hack'n'slash genre since then?

Peter Nagy: Genre changed a lot in the recent years. I believe it turned out a lot more casual than previously. The focus is on easy access and simple gameplay so players can even today enjoy the game without spending hours learning background mechanics and systems.

Visuals expectations increased instead but also the development tools have improved a lot. Before we had to work with own technology, engine and systems, everything was much more hardcoded and complex. Today there is a wide range of technologies available which massively simplify the development process and allow the developer to focus more on the gameplay side, instead of solving low level technical issues.

We as players were unavoidably affected by this environment development and I believe it is reflected in Shadows too. Some systems were abandoned to make the game more easily available to the wider audience. But we tried to keep as much from original Kult’s concept as possible – Dreamworld, story focus and others.

I believe we did a lot things way better than with Kult and the game has still a lot to give to players.

K: Let's assume I'm a new gamer with no experience in hack'n'slash games. There are dozens of titles available. Why should I choose Shadows?

PN: Well, that depends. I believe Shadows offer a lot of unparalleled features – Shadowrealm as a parallel universe, unique storyline which is much more engaging than usual with other hack’n’slash games.

We also offer a lot more tactical combat compared to other hack’n’slash games. We plan to strengthen this approach even further with the upcoming Book 2 which will be available for free to the buyers of Book 1.

Game is fully narrated and offers fair amount of dialogues. Of course players looking for actions can easily skip those, but I believe that for a lot of players this can make a difference.

Each main playable character offers a unique personality which is reflected in dialogues and improves replayability as you can have only one of three different characters during a single playthrough… Playing a demon possessing souls is quite unique and unparalleled in the genre. Dialogues between party members can be funny too – speaking to demon possessing your soul as well as other souls offers a lot of funny opportunities.

Shadows may not be the best game but is very positively acclaimed by the players and press; a lot of players consider it one of the best games in the genre, bringing innovations and fresh air to the industry. Important to note is that we are still working on the game and there is planned additional content in Book 2 as well as further beyond… We will also improve the gameplay elements and bring some new features, so stay tuned.


K: There's a thin line between a game being challenging and frustrating; accesible and too easy. What did you do to glue the player to the screen and make sure he or she won't get bored or annoyed with your game?

PN: That’s always difficult, especially without social component in form of multiplayer. But Shadows is not only about killing. I prefer to name it storytelling party hack’n’slash RPG. It truly offers a lot of additional features – story, dialogues, quests, Shadowrealm and others which adds a lot of fun and freshen the gameplay. Overall the concept is quite unique and we try to harvest as much as we can from demon/Shadowrealm concept ; bringing new features, monsters, combat and new tactical choices and styles continually during the gameplay to make it a lot more diversified.

K: Is it difficult to create a lore for a fantasy game? How did the creative process look like?

PN: We benefit from vast universe of Heretic Kingdoms. There are two unreleased sequels to Kult which were never completed for various reasons. This allows us to work with a HUGE amount of lore and it is very beneficial in storytelling and for settings. We don’t want to do another high fantasy with elves, dwarves and other classical settings. Instead, we want to make things differently in many ways. We have our own races and systems unlike any other world.

Our artists are very creative and want to bring unique point of views to the industry – I believe this can be obvious in a lot of visual elements from Shadows. We hope to further strengthen these differences in the upcoming Book 2 and future sequels.


K: What can we expect next from Games Farm? And when?

PN: This year there will be announced a new great RPG we have in the production now. We aim to improve our qualities with each new game so I am sure there is a lot to look forward to.

We also work to bring you more stories from Heretic Kingdoms, this year as well as in the next one, so I hope that Heretic Kingdoms will get more fans than it did so far.

hope you will enjoy Shadows and thanks for reading this to the end! Stay tuned for more news from Games Farm!

***

See you next Wednesday! Get ready for Rogue State!