King Art Games’ The Dwarves may seem like your typical tactical role playing game based in a fantasy setting with dwarves. And honestly, that describes it pretty well. Fortunately, it’s also based off of Markus Heitz’s novels with the same name, thus ensuring a solid story. It also helps that the developer is working to incorporate local co-op, display oodles of enemy units for your team of heroes to fight at once and much more. The Dwarves is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter and will be making its way to Xbox One, PS4 and PC when development is eventually funding.
In the meantime, GamingBolt had a chance to speak to the developer and learn more about the mechanics, engine and overall gameplay for The Dwarves. What sets it apart in this day and age of tactical RPGs? Find out below.
"It was vital to us to prevent the game from looking static or boring, but in the end it’s clever decisions that influence the course of a battle, not quick clicking."
What inspired the decision to create a tactical RPG based on the Markus Heitz’s novels?
I first read the novels 6 or 7 years ago and thought to myself that it might be a good story for a video game. Back then I didn’t expect to get in contact with Markus via one of our game designers and really turn it into a game.
Many people may not be aware of the books but be interested in playing The Dwarves when it releases. Will they be able to enjoy the story from the outset? When does it take place in the timeline?
Yes, people will definitely be able to enjoy the story. The main quest of the game is based on the story of the first book in the series, but there will also be many additional adventures and side-quests. Knowledge of the books isn’t necessary to play and enjoy the game.
The Dwarves’ combat mechanics interest us because for all of its tactical leanings, it looks like an action RPG. Could you tell exactly how the combat plays out at any given time?
Think of a game like Warcraft 3, where heroes fight for themselves, but the player influences the outcome of the battle by controlling the heroes’ special abilities. It was vital to us to prevent the game from looking static or boring, but in the end it’s clever decisions that influence the course of a battle, not quick clicking.
Players will be able to assemble four heroes with three companions joining Tungdil in battle. Will there be any kind of co-op implemented for human players to drop in and fighting alongside you?
Local coop will be one of the stretch goals in our Kickstarter campaign.
What can you tell us about some of the companions that will join you in your quest? How deeply can you customize their skills for battle?
All the companions that Tungdil meets in the book, will also be in the game. It is a smorgasbord of characters. There are the combat-hungry dwarvish twins Boindil and Boendal, who’ve fought hundreds of battles, but there are also unusual figures like the human actor Rodario, who is not much of a fighter, but a trickster who can masquerade himself to catch opponents by surprise.
Each hero can level up and you can regularly choose between different upgrades or new abilities. Prior to each battle you not only choose which heroes to take with you, but also which attacks those heroes will be equipped with.
"The basic course of the main story is set by the novel it is based on, but the optional side-quests constantly have the player make hard decisions with far-reaching consequences."
What can you tell us about the engine for The Dwarves? Does it help when presenting one hundred orcs at any given time while still maintaining a strong frame rate? What other benefits did it bring for development?
Just like in our previous games we use a version of Unity that has been adapted to our needs. Displaying hundreds of orcs at the same time and having them behave in a correct manner is a big challenge for every engine. The advantage of Unity is that we’ve been working with it for a while and that it gives us the opportunity to release the game on additional platforms.
Along with the various battlefields in The Dwarves, what other places will there be for places to discover?
All the important locations that Tungdil visits in the book will also be in the game. This includes a wide array of landscapes, from dwarven fortresses, and human settlements, up to Elven forests.
Will The Dwarves sport any kind of decision making system for players to choose their own path?
The basic course of the main story is set by the novel it is based on, but the optional side-quests constantly have the player make hard decisions with far-reaching consequences.
Given the spurt of RPGs in the past year and with even more games out in 2016, how do you feel The Dwarves will stand out from the crowd?
The combat system is unique in any case, at least we haven’t heard of any game that has offered anything similar before. We also think the mixture our game offers, between traveling the world map, exploration and combat works very well, and will provide lots of fun for fans of role-playing games.
Will you pursue any post launch content for The Dwarves like DLC in the future?
We don’t know yet, but probably not. If the game is successful, we will of course consider a sequel.
"Since we are using Unity, a middleware that tries to get as much performance as possible from each system, we expect that we will benefit from it."
Will The Dwarves run at 1080p and 60fps on both the PS4 and Xbox One?
That’s the plan. We’ll see.
I specifically wanted to ask about the development of the Xbox One version. Microsoft have made great strives in updating the console’s SDK. They have also managed to unlock for CPU processing power by unlocking the 7th core for the developers. How have the recent SDK updates helped the development of the X1 version of the game?
We haven’t started with developing the console versions, since they depend on the success of the Kickstarter campaign. Since we are using Unity, a middleware that tries to get as much performance as possible from each system, we expect that we will benefit from it.
The Dwarves will feature a ton of NPCs on screen and it seems like maintaining performance will be a challenge. As you are aware that the upcoming DX12 will improve performance for PC games and to and extent for Xbox One games as well. What are your thoughts on DX12? Do you think it will bring along a drastic change for games development for X1 and PC?
In this regard we’re heavily dependent on Unity and unfortunately Unity doesn’t support DX12 yet. For the next game it could probably become relevant to us.
Is there anything else you want to tell us before we let you go?
The Kickstarter for “The Dwarves” is live. Back us now!