Techraptor interviewed Daniel of SolarFall Games, the developer behind Umbra, to ask about their new game and Kickstarter campaign. Umbra is an RPG game being funded through Kickstarter that's gained traction for its eye-catching combat and open world gameplay.
TechRaptor: (Just so everyone's on the same page) What is Umbra?
Daniel: Umbra is an isometric view open world action-RPG taking place in a corrupted world that’s falling apart. The idea of the game is to create a large environment for the player to freely explore, full of secrets to unlock. Umbra is an action game, so the gameplay is very nervous and intense during the many combat scenes that happen. We bring a lot of attention into freedom of character building and its personalization, so your character evolution is free from class restriction and it is up to you to find the gears and skills you want to play with! Also, the game feature a very cool craft mini-game, a very nice housing system and the ability for player to temporarily shape-shift into an “Apocalyptic Form”, granting you new powers from hand-picked “mutations” like horns or wings! The game looks gorgeous thanks to the next-gen technology of CryEngine3 and our experience using it!
TechRaptor: What does your team hope to accomplish with Umbra?
Daniel: We aim to deliver a game that we dreamed about and have worked hard to create, with passion and commitment. Umbra aims to be a game with a lot of freedom, and a great story to tell. We hope that players will enjoy the story of the game and that their interest into it will bring them to unlock some hidden secret that will be revealed only by understanding the scenario – there will be no marker on your mini map to find these rewarding hidden places!
We believe that the key element of a Hack & Slash are quality of action, loot and personalization, and we tried to design all game’s feature by remembering these three concepts. That’s how we decided to create the “Apocalyptic Form”, and we hope player will enjoy it as much as we did designing them!
TechRaptor: Where did the idea for Umbra come from?
Daniel: Umbra’s development started more than 4 years ago and hasn’t stopped. It was originally supposed to be an open source RPG development platform for the modders of Crysis, but was quickly oriented towards a fully fledged game of the Hack and Slash variety. When it was decided that the project will be a game on its own self, we already had the story idea we wanted to build upon, and that’s how Umbra was born!
TechRaptor: Was Umbra inspired from any games, films, etc.?
Daniel: Apart the obvious Diablo and Path of Exile, most of Umbra’s game feature inspiration comes from various pen and paper RPG, like the Apocalyptic Form. The freedom of character development comes from the Elder Scroll Series, and visuals aims to be close to what you have seen in Crysis. Finally, we take a lot of inspiration from the Lord of the Rings while designing our outdoor environments, and we are really happy that some people have noticed it online!
TechRaptor: Why did you decide to make Umbra open world? What advantages to your vision for Umbra did this bring? Were there any obstacles or shortcomings that came with deciding for an open world game? If so how did you overcome them?
Daniel: When we decided on what we wanted to bring in to the world of Umbra, we hadn’t decided to make it open world. However, when we designed our first levels, we soon realized that based on all game’s feature, an open world would be much more suited to everything we planned for the game. The lucky part is that our scenario describes hostile world full of danger and monsters around, so in the end, the open world and the hack & slash world fit pretty well with each other.
TechRaptor: What can players get from Umbra that they can't get anywhere else?
Daniel: The Apocalyptic form is something that players will not find anywhere else, and our crafting system too! The Apocalyptic Form is a very special feature allowing you to create an avatar of destruction to temporarily shape-shift into to spread devastation among your enemies. This form is created by choosing up to three “Apocalyptic Upgrade” options that will not only change your look, but also your powers!. You will be able to gain horns, wings, a third arm with a weapon to equip, the ability to passively raise undead everywhere you walk and much more! This is something unique to Umbra and we are really excited about it!
TechRaptor: Can you talk for a bit about creating your own house? What can players do with creating their house? Can they put their weapons on display? Can we create multi-storied structures? Can we design the outside as well?
Daniel: A quick video has been released about the subject! The idea is that the player will be able to build their house by creating the floor and walls, and adding furniture on top of them. It allows you to have a great control on its creation. You will also be able to showcase trophies of killed enemies, and of course your gear. You will be able to place weapons all around to decorate your house! Multi-storied structures are not planned since they would not fit the Hack & Slash view very well, but you will be able to create higher position in your house and placing stairs to access them. It is not planned for players to be able to design the outside, since it will be way too much of work for our small team!
TechRaptor: Can players expect to see a demo at some point?
Daniel: We haven’t planned a demo yet, but backers on our Kickstarter can receive a reward to access our early prototype build for Game Developer Convention 2015. It will be a glimpse of what they can expect from Umbra in the future!
TechRaptor: Why did your team decide to go through Kickstarter as opposed to a traditional publisher? Did you try to go through a publisher first, or did you know from the start Kickstarter was the best fit for Umbra?
Daniel: We want to go as far as we can as indie. Umbra was designed and created as an independent game, and we would love to remain that way. Kickstarter is the best option we had to keep that independence, since our resources are now depleting and we will need a way to continue developing the game!
Umbra's Kickstarter page can be found here. TechRaptor would like to thank Daniel and the Umbra team for sparing some time from their busy schedule to interview!