Karnage Chronicles Interview

While browsing through the many unveilings and news coming from GDC, I stumbled upon some footage of an interesting little VR game playing in the background. The art style looked intriguing, but what truly caught my eye was the group of little goblins being hacked and slashed.

I’ve enjoyed a few genres on PlayStation VR, but the one that’s been sorely missing is that of fantasy role-playing. This glint of hope had me doing some Google searches until I finally stumbled upon the trailer and some gameplay footage for Karnage Chronicles.

I learned about a small development team called Nordic Trolls who were pouring their hearts and talents into this action role-playing game which is soon to be released on Steam and later this year on PS VR. The more I learned, the more thrilled I became.

Not only is this a beautiful-looking action RPG, but it will also support cooperative play. Yes! I can slice and dice goblin scum with three other buddies, all in virtual reality! I immediately contacted the team and started a conversation with them about their project. They were kind enough to give me some of their time and answer some questions. Read on to learn more about this promising upcoming PS VR title.

What was your mission in creating Karnage Chronicles? Why VR?
Our dream is nothing short of creating the most immersive and complete gaming experiences on the market and transporting the players into vibrant, detailed, and above all believable worlds.

We believe that Virtual Reality is currently the best platform to achieve this, as it lets us insert the players into the game as an integrated entity and let them experience these worlds first hand from within an engrossing total environment.

With so much effort going into the lore, can you tell us a little bit about the world of Karnage Chronicles and where the players fit into it?
We’ve worked hard to make the Karnage fantasy universe feel like a living, breathing world. We draw upon both classical fantasy races like orcs and elves, as well as some that are more atypical, like draconians and bear-men.

We’ve aimed for first-glance familiarity, second-glance peculiarity, to create a world players can feel at home in, while at the same time peak their curiosity as to what’s going on outside their door.

Each of the major races have their own factions, culture, as well as internal and external issues and agendas. On top of that, the common history of the world itself intertwines every man, orc, and fay, and here is where you’ll find the players.

They come into the game as wraiths, or Murkwraiths, as we have chosen to name them. They’re not living beings, but they have powers, and they have an agenda. Who are they? Why can’t they pass on to Death’s Domain? What, or who, is driving them? These are questions the players will unlock as the story moves forward.

VR has opened the game development world to new possibilities, but most of these concepts are still rooted in some genres that everyone is familiar with. What would you compare your genre to?
Karnage Chronicles sits squarely in the fantasy role-playing game genre, with an action-oriented and tactile interaction model befitting the VR platforms. Most of us are old gamers, and we’re inspired by games like Planescape: Torment, the Elder Scrolls series, and Amberstar, all of which offer great content and gameplay.

Setting-wise we’re heavily inspired by tabletop RPGs, most notably classics like Dungeons & Dragons, borrowing some of the grittiness from the older versions of Warhammer, as well as fantasy and horror from Call of Cthulhu.

What locomotion options will you be offering in Karnage?
We have free movement using your choice of teleportation, FPS controls, room-space movement, or all the above. To overcome some of the challenges we recommend utilizing all the above locomotion options, especially on the harder difficulties.

What is your approach to the weapon system? Are you able to upgrade weapons and/or loot new ones? Are there armor options as well, and will they be visible to other players?
Each class has access to both melee and ranged capabilities to be able to rise to the challenges they face. This is represented by a unique selection of weapons for each class. Armors are also class unique, reflecting the individual themes and roles.

As you progress through the game you’ll have the possibly to replace and upgrade both weapons and armor, and these modifications will be visible to your team members. This feature will be implemented towards the end of our Steam Early Access period, but will most certainly be in place in time for the PS VR launch.

What options do you offer for character progressions?
Aside from weapons and armor upgrades you will also have the option to upgrade and develop special attacks and abilities befitting your class choice, making you an even more formidable combatant.

To take the Warrior as an example, this class can be upgraded with the ability to taunt their enemies, drawing the attention of your foes away from your allies. Or to rend the Earth itself, damaging and stunning enemies in a cone in front of you. Or even launching a phoenix to cut a swath through your enemies from afar.

Each class will have at least one utility skill specific to them and tailored to fit their role in the group in addition to at least one ultimate ability for each weapon set, also class-based, that will wreak havoc when unleashed.

Will the game allow for drop-in/drop out multiplayer? Also, can you hurt your friends? And if so, can you steal from them?
Drop-in/drop-out multiplayer is definitely on our list of goals, letting the game adapt to the number of players dynamically, and yes, you will be able to hurt your friends. Friendly fire will pose a threat on the higher difficulties, demanding caution of everyone involved in the co-op experience.

Or, you could deliberately place a few well-deserved, and behaviorally correctional, blades in the back of your friends to let them know their place. We don’t judge. We also have a pure PvP module in the (early) works where the players can bash in each other’s skulls to their heart’s content.

There are currently no plans for allowing the players to steal from each other in the sense that one player’s gain is another player’s loss.

Since the game is episodic, do you have plans for character stats carrying over to subsequent episodes? How much gaming time can players expect from the first episode?
Our goal here is to make each episode meld together seamlessly as they are installed on your system, forming a complete experience as they are combined.

We still have a few kinks to sort out in this respect so we can’t offer any guarantees there, but at the very least we will of course allow progression to be carried over between episodes – even going back to earlier episodes to replay them after you’ve beefed yourself up.

The Early Access launch version will have about one and a half to three hours of gameplay, and subsequent updates during the Early Access period will buff this to well beyond ten plus hours for the full launch of the game. Each chapter thereafter is likely to be smaller than that, but never a short experience.

Will there be a physical release?
It is too early to tell if there will be a physical release. What we can disclose is that we are seriously considering this option.

Check out the GDC 2017 trailer for Karnage Chronicles, and keep checking back with us for updates on this awesome-looking VR game.

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