One of the best things about Game-Wisdom is being able to talk to developers around the world about their games, and sometimes they find me. I was contacted by Camila Gormaz who is trying to get her game Long Gone Days funded via IndieGogo. The concept mixes JRPG design with a future setting around war and sounds very interesting. While the campaign is going on, she was kind enough to talk to me about the game and what she’s hoping to make if they hit their goal.
I’m Camila Gormaz, an indiedev from Santiago, Chile. I have always been a fan of RPGs, and I have been making games since I was a teenager (from short Flash games, to commercial projects). On commercial projects, I usually handle the visual aspects of the game, from character design and illustrations, to the UI and logos. The last two commercial projects I worked on were visual novels; one of them is the first episode of Invisible Apartment.
Since I liked RPGs so much, I started writing my own story when I was 12 years old. I wanted the story to take place in our current time, and to be as real as possible, without magic or superpowers. The most possible modern-day scenario for an RPG seemed to be the battlefield, so I began to shape my story around that. As I was studying about the lives of soldiers, I became attached to the strong feelings soldiers get to experience and how the circumstances shape them as a person.
While it’s true that Long Gone Days doesn’t really need to be drawn in an anime-style, it is the style I feel more comfortable with. For the sprites, I wanted to make the characters as tall as possible, and the current proportions were the most time-efficient size I tried. Any taller sprites would slow-down the production significantly.
This was a hard decision. Since the demo is a prototype of the game, I had only a couple of months to put everything together. Most JRPGs use a side-view battle system, but these require a lot of animated sprites for every type of attack, and the demo would have taken a lot more time to be completed.
I decided to use a front-view battle system, like the one used on my favorite JRPG (Shin Megami Tensei titles). The battle system is still subject to change, but we are keeping the front-view.
Every party member has a set of skills based on their expertise, and they all become necessary for the different missions the player will experience. Some party members will introduce crafting and weapon-upgrading skills; others will allow you to communicate with NPCs that do not speak your language.
The main battle system is a turn-based one, and it’s inspired by sniper tactics, where every body part of an enemy has a different chance of missing, and they serve different purposes (slowing the enemy down, disarming and eliminating). Besides that, it’s important to keep your team members motivated by understanding their fears, and encouraging them to keep fighting through dialogue.
The characters do not level up, since grinding would mean to go on a killing spree, while you are supposed to prevent a war. Instead of that, the player can craft and upgrade their weapons, they can learn new skills and get new party members, based on interactions, the quests they fulfill, the items they collect, and the progression of the story. As you get more party members, the formation you choose for every battle will be important.
At the moment there are two endings planned that are equally extensive and they have two completely different outcomes. The ending you get is based on the decisions you have taken during the game. We also want to add a New Game+ feature and a third ending, but it will depend on our funding.
Since the beginning of the development, I have been working with schedules and they have worked fine. The 45-minutes long demo took 4 months to make, and I was handling everything by myself (from the writing, the art, the development, the marketing, etc), which means at least one month was spent designing and re-designing the battle system, the UI and other visual aspects, and another big percentage of that time was used on building an audience prior to the release of the demo.
For the full release, I am no longer working alone, and most of the designs are already decided, so including QA and testing, we expect to take less than a year and a half. To avoid delaying the release, if some of our stretch goals are met, they will be released after the main release.
We know Kickstarter is the most popular option and we would have taken that route if it wasn’t because Kickstarter only allows residents from some countries in North America, Europe and Oceania to host projects. We truly hope Kickstarter changes its policy in the future, because there are a lot of amazing projects from the rest of the world. We are eternally thankful to Indiegogo for allowing pretty much every country in the world to be part of it, though.
Do not give up and start building an audience early on during the development. It’s important to get feedback before launching, and not just from your friends, especially if it’s going to be a commercial game. By having an audience, you’ll push yourself to continue working hard.
Good luck with your campaign
I always find it interesting when developers attempt to change or grow JRPG design and I’m intrigued by the combat system Camila is talking about. We’re starting to see more games talk about the consequences of war such as This War of Mine, and I hope that Long Gone Days will be another one.
You can also download a free demo of the game to try it out.
If you’re a developer with an interesting game, I’m always looking for new contacts to either talk to them like this or on our cast, or spotlight on the site and Youtube channel. Just send me an email at email@example.com and we can talk.
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