In Indie Game HQ’s latest interview, we spoke with BetaDwarf regarding their “Diablo meets Left 4 Dead” style game: FORCED. We got a chance to get inside the minds of the developers to learn about the Greenlight process, what inspired the ambitious title, and future content.
FORCED is a brand new gladiator combat-game, based on tactical cooperative 2-4 player gameplay either locally or online (also includes full single player game). Enslaved and forced to fight in mysterious arenas, the players must survive trial after trial, or face the consequences of their new power mongering master. The more they survive the more they learn about the dreadful purpose of the arenas. Their only ally is their mysterious mentor whose spirit is trapped in an orb. He has no empathy for the weak, yet he often holds the key to success and spiritual growth.
Built from the ground up with cooperation in mind, the game features several innovative features that drive cooperation between players, leaving egotistical players bleeding in the sand of the arena floor.
Indie Game HQ: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us! Tell us a little about BetaDwarf.
Well Kenneth and I founded BetaDwarf two years ago at a University in Denmark. We had experience working effectively in a 4 man team and wanted to try something slightly bigger and more professional – like starting a company to prepare for the future. So we kind of auditioned other students, and we found 5 others who had shown talent and dedication. So when we started on FORCED we were 9 students, all from Denmark.
Indie Game HQ: What inspired you to create such an ambitious project for your debut title?
Good question, well we basically spend our first year were we thought we were making FORCED – on simply learning how to make games. It’s so hard especially with a big team of noobs, so we had to learn it by ourselves. It resulted in a ton of failures where elements constantly had to be done all over. For instance our art style was scrapped three times! It was immensely demanding to ask the art team to redo everything simply because it wasn’t beautiful enough.
Overall I had also directed the team into a very ambitious first project, with 3d, 1-4 player cooperation, online multiplayer, challenging melee combat design, extreme WYSIWYG design, advanced AI and a serious theme as opposed to humour… But as this project has involved so many challenges, we’ve also learned a ton!
I made a game bible for it during December 2010. It actually started as a top down light RPG scroller – like raptor, just with a fantasy setting and more melee combat oriented, but suddenly we were really satisfied with the basic combat controls and we started experimenting like crazy. All kinds of features were tried, we had Heroes of might and magic maps where you went into encounters that you played real time as opposed to turn based. Even resource gathering and co-op city building where you as a team, with controllers used your resources (small stickling creatures) and placed them in patterns to build structures. I should definitely admit that this was also due to me being a non-experienced designer/director. At that time I hadn’t realized how important it was to structure the team’s direction, which resulted in a few disappointments due to feature cuts.
Nevertheless we found the formula during summer 2011, and at that point we had just started working with the Orb. An incredibly challenging feature, as it had to work in co-op and singleplayer. We spend nearly a year finding a mechanical formula that we were satisfied with, cause we knew it was interesting and it was just a matter of revealing its true purpose
Indie Game HQ: What did it take to implement the sounds for FORCED? Who created them?
Jesper our Audio master who has been with almost from the start (but isn’t a student), has been in all kinds of twisted mind states to come up with them. At BetaDwarf we have a solid intranet and we use each other a lot for feedback. So often sounds and graphics, gameplay tweaks etc. are described/uploaded there. Allowing others to comment and offer suggestions that may change the final result of a given element or simply give some thumbs up.
Indie Game HQ: How has the Greenlight process been? Are you getting good feedback from fans?
Actually we are quite happy with the feedback, because the Greenlight community can be extremely honest/offer their opinions without any filters So we are really happy about all the positive feedback we’ve had. Our goal has been to avoid being classified as a dungeon crawler, we had some problems with that in the start. But after changing the tag line to “Left 4 Dead meets Diablo.”
Indie Game HQ: FORCED already supports local co-op. Is it true you plan to implement LAN & Online Multiplayer?
It’s definitely true and we are doing it right now. It’s quite a challenge but we have received advice and ideas from other studios who have dealt with extensive multiplayer solutions. Our goal is actually to offer a beta build with online multiplayer to some of the Kickstarter supporters, after the Kickstarter period.
Indie Game HQ: Roughly how long does it take to complete FORCED?
Well FORCED does essentially include 4 games. As trials vary depending on number of players 1-4. Hence one trial might vary quite a bit from 2 to 4 players for instance. Basically you collect tokens as you progress in FORCED, and these tokens are colored based on the number of players you are. So for instance in 2 player mode, you collect yellow tokens and in three player they are purple. Also each of the 35+ trials in FORCED has 3 collectible tokens. One for completing it, one for completion time and one for completing a certain challenge that makes it harder. So in each mode, there will be around 105 tokens to collect, multiply that with 4 for the hardcore gamers and they would have 30+ hours of gaming. Players who just want to spend a great evening together, might have a chance of completing the main story in 7-8 hours maybe. But it’s really hard to tell, cause FORCED is very challenging, a bit like Dark Souls, so it depends a lot on the player’s skill level.
Indie Game HQ: Do you have a set release date and price?
We are aiming at the end of February 2013. We haven’t decided the price yet, but FORCED will probably cost around $20.
Indie Game HQ: Where do you intend on making the game available post-launch?
Wherever we can, Steam, GOG, PSN, XBLA etc.
Indie Game HQ: Can we expect FORCED to release on all platforms on the same day?
Unfortunately not, consoles are often a different dance. I assume the following way is how it’s going to go down – Mac and pc first, then hopefully followed by linux and afterwards consoles.
Indie Game HQ: Will there be continuing updates to the game following release?
I think we will go with the flow, if FORCED get’s a good community, we will definitely add to the universe. We’ve made so many tools and things that would be hard not use to create more cool content. We’ve been talking about a trial editor, PvP with teams that has Orbs, we’ll don’t get me started
Indie Game HQ: Thanks for your time! Is there anything you would like to add for our readers?
If you like 5 man instance raiding in WoW, you should look forward to FORCED. Or if you simply like co-op challenges that requires you to work as a team, we’ll make sure you’ll be able to do it from the couch and from your desktop computer.
The entire BetaDwarf team is livestreaming from their office for the duration of the Kickstarter. Check it out here.
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