By royal de­grees

Former Klei and Mi­crosoft devs roll the dice on a boardgame-in­spired Rogue­like

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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

Mo­ran

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.

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