In the Indie Game HQ’s latest interview we had the privilege of speaking to Haoran Li, Project Manager at Photon Productions, about his upcoming survival RPG Forsaken Fortress. Haoran gave us a little backstory regarding their game and a little insight into future plans for the game. The game is currently being funded through a Kickstarter, and the final overall project depends upon the amount of funding the game receives.
About Forsaken Fortress:
Unlike many other existing post-apocalyptic RPGs, Forsaken Fortress emphasizes simulation features such as base building, character personality/interaction, and resource collection. You will need to lead a group of survivors to construct your base and maintain its basic functions, such as electricity generation or food storage. Meanwhile, you will ensure the base’s security by building defenses and setting traps. You will also need to lead your expedition team to the wasteland to gather supplies and to work on missions, balancing their professional skills in order to maximize their effectiveness. Characters in Forsaken Fortress are highly dynamic in their behavior. They have needs, goals and personalities which will influence their daily life and decision making. Some of them may fall in love and some of them may not get along, but all them bring life to the devastated, forsaken world.
Indie Game HQ: Can you tell us a little bit about Photon Productions?
Haoran: We are an indie studio comprised of two artists and two programmers and a few helpful freelancers in a small underground bunker near New York. We have known each other for years and we are all good friends but Forsaken Fortress is something that really brought us together. We enjoy a lot of video games. For example: Fallout, Jagged Alliance, X-com, the Sims and Diablo. We thought it would be cool to combine some of them to form a new kind of game. There are a lot of games which have photo realistic graphics, realistic combat, massive world view but none them really interest us.
We want to focus on unique game mechanic, character personality, freedom of gameplay and a dynamically evolving world which will really draw players in. We want to create a game that follows a fascinating story as well as a world that constantly changes based on cause and effect.
Indie Game HQ: How long has Forsaken Fortress been under development?
Haoran: Forsaken Fortress has been under development for almost 6 months since we had the original idea.
Indie Game HQ: What types of buildings and defenses will be available in the game?
Haoran: For infrastructure facilities the player is able to build rooms, electricity generators, water purifiers, heat generator and so on.
Production facilities include a small vegetable garden for a limited amount of food, beds, tables, storage spaces, a workbench for crafting weapons, chemical lab for making medicine, etc.
Player can also build defense structures such as walls, electric fences, bunkers, heavy machine guns, or setting up traps such as landmines.
Indie Game HQ: How many different types of weapons, vehicles, and armors will be available?
- Haoran: Ranged weapons including various of pistols, sub-machine guns, rifles, machine guns and rocket launchers. There will be around 25 total.
- Melee weapons such as knife and axe. There will be 5-10 total.
- Vehicles are mostly light and used for transportation purpose. There will be about 6 different vehicles player can find somewhere in the field.
- There are different types of armor: Light armor, heavy armor and armor for environmental hazard protection. There will be 15-25 total sets available.
Note that almost all items can be modified or upgraded.
Indie Game HQ: How large will your party be in the game? Can you find additional tea members throughout the game?
Haoran: We haven’t decided on the party size yet since it will greatly affect the game balance, but approximately up to 15 at one time. You can find additional team members in many different locations and through many different events.
Following release can we expect continued support through DLC and updates?
Haoran: We will provide free DLC download for our backers after the game is released. A few possible expansions we can think of right now are:
- Expanded story and map.
- Expanded items, weapons and characters package.
- Expanded monsters package, faction package.
- Expanded game mechanics (more things you can do in the game).
We might even release a multiplayer mod for co-op in the future.
Indie Game HQ: What is the planned number of enemies? How will these enemies vary from one another?
Haoran: Enemy party-scale varies from one to several hundreds. Enemies can be beasts, zombies, mutants, animals or even normal humans.
They vary in shape and physical ability factors, such as strength, intelligence, technology, needs and goals. A mutant has incredible physical strength but is also dumb. Humans are physically weak but very intelligent.
Indie Game HQ: How large of an effect does morale have on your team, and how do you go about managing morale?
Haoran: Morale is like a bonus. Team members with higher morale will tend to do everything more effectively. You can manage morale in many different ways, such as fulfilling their needs, providing a good meal or entertainment.
Indie Game HQ: While exploring the world of Forsaken Fortress, will players happen upon other groups of people? If so, will they always be hostile, or can a player choose to trade or form an alliance?
Haoran: Factions are dynamically evolving in the forsaken world. Just like the player’s party, other groups of people also have a place to stay and move around for supplies. You may or may not encounter them in the wasteland, and their attitude towards you also changes dynamically based on the encounter. For example, if you and another party are going after the same resources, they might turn hostile.
Indie Game HQ: With Forsaken Fortress having destructible environments, what kind of mayhem can players expect to create?
Haoran: You can cut down trees, empty a water pond or destroy enemies’ bases. Pretty much all objects in Forsaken Fortress are destructible.
Indie Game HQ: Should the unthinkable happen and Forsaken Fortress doesn’t get funded, is there still a chance we can see this game release?
Haoran: We have been working on this game for quite some time and we have put a lot of effort on the concept, game mechanic, coding and other stuff. We will make this game no matter what since we believe in it. And of course the reality is, if we are not funded, the production quality and duration will be affected. But we will try our best.
Indie Game HQ: Thanks for your time. Is there anything you would like to add for our readers?
Haoran: We want people to know that this game is not made only by Photon Productions, it is made by all the contributors. We welcome any comments, ideas, suggestions and we really enjoy working with gamers on this project.
We want to give this game meaning: Yesterday we destroyed the Earth, but today we survived and we left. Is the destiny of humanity going to end peacefully on another planet? The rule of survival will eventually make us fight each other again for the depleting resources and everything goes into a circle. The same thing will happen in the base. Will people still get along with each other when there is no more food? Maybe the beasts are the last thing to worry about, aside from humanity itself.
We are very conscious about keeping a video game meaningful. A successful video game should be something that people emotionally get attached to, and that is why we incorporate simulation elements into Forsaken Fortress. Soldiers might get angry because the lack of supplies, people get devastated for losing a loved one. Hate, affection and jealousy; all these reflect the real situation in a post-apocalyptic world and this is what really engages the player.
We believe our team members’ knowledge in psychology and humanity, our passion and qualifications in gameplay design, art and coding, will make it possible to implement such complex features in the game.
As an indie studio, our best chance of survival is to make something different than others, and something gamers will really enjoy. The only way to achieve this is to collaborate with gamers. As a small team we have more freedom and pleasure to interact with people and to work on deeper game mechanics and meanings instead of making games just for money.
We have a vision and we’d like to share.