By royal degrees
Former Klei and Microsoft devs roll the dice on a boardgame-inspired Roguelike
Former Klei and Microsoft devs roll out Roguelike For The King
Iron Oak Games’ perennially autumnal For The King is a tur-nbased, co-op Roguelike steeped in nostalgia. Based on a prototype boardgame that was itself inspired by videogame RPG classics, it aims to evoke memories of tabletop and videogame sessions as much as childhood adventures.
“When it came time to decide what the art style should look like, it was important to me to retain both [the boardgame and RPG] connections,” art director Gordon
tells us. “The low-poly style hearkens back to the late-’90s era
of classic JRPGs, while the stylisation of our characters and creatures is heavily influenced by tabletop miniatures. It was important to retain a tactile quality to the graphics because we wanted an emotional connection between the player and the characters.”
The low-poly aesthetic was inspired by Moran’s time at United Front, where he worked on ModNation Racers and LittleBigPlanet Karting, and Don’t Starve creator Klei Entertainment. “Klei has some of the best artists and animators in the industry, and it was a really inspirational experience working there,” he says. “But I’ve been fortunate enough to have had the chance to work with many amazingly talented people throughout my career, and they’ve all inspired me to varying degrees.”
In keeping with its mechanical inspiration, For The King’s beautiful worlds are procedurally generated and populated from what Moran describes as a “massive library” of assets and enemy types. “As an artist, working with procedural content can be tricky at times due to the lack of control over composition,” he explains. “However, on the flip side, it’s amazing to see some of the worlds our game engine creates. That’s the thing about procedural content – what you lose in terms of control you gain back tenfold in terms of variety and unexpected beauty.”
Having smashed its $40,000 Kickstarter goal, For The King clearly resonates with its intended audience. The game is planned to debut on PC in June 2016, but Iron Oak hopes to follow up with console versions, too.