Questions By: Shannon Doyle (Leliah), OnRPG Kickstarter Addict and the OnRPG/MMOHuts Forum Goers
Answers By: Pablo Rodríguez, Co-Founder of 8 Bit Studios and Creative Director on Skara
Some say the MOBA market is already over saturated. There is certainly no doubt that 2013 is the year of the MOBA. It seems like we can’t go even two days without talking about one on OnRPG these days. So you might be asking…Leliah, why are you shoving another one in our faces? I promise you Skara is like no other MOBA you have ever seen.
It has everything a traditional MOBA has but takes it all a step further. Instead of being limited to certain characters, you build your own just as though you were playing an MMORPG. A fan of player made content? They’ve got you covered there too with the ability to build your own arenas. They even abandon the traditional MOBA camera angle. This is a MOBA accessible to everyone from the hardcore MOBA lover to someone just getting their feet wet.
Skara: The Blade Remains is being created by 8 Bit Studios based in Spain. And I had the honor of interviewing the Co-Founder and Creative Director on Skara, Pablo Rodríguez. Throughout it I refer to the Kickstarter campaign which is looking to raise £150,000 in the next 36 days. I highly recommend you take a look through it before reading the interview just so you have a better idea of what we’re talking about. And with that I leave you to enjoy my interview with Pablo.
Please introduce yourself and what your role is on the production of Skara.
My name is Pablo Rodríguez and I´m the co-founder and Creative Director of Skara.
How did the idea for Skara come about?
Four years ago I was drawing a map in a sketch book I always carry with me. I had a clear idea about the ambiance of Skara, but when the map was finished, I suddenly figured out where every race came from, their weapons and combat style, the gods they adored, the stories and myths of every culture.
So, I guess the best answer is that Skara started with a drawing.
Why did you decide to go with Kickstarter instead of pitching the idea to a studio?
This is a project we wanted to develop on our own. We knew that we could recruit a great team, because of my experience as a teacher and game developer. At first we asked for some money from family and friends, rented a small office and convinced some of the best, talented workers in the Spanish videogame industry to come and work with us. All because of the amazing project we are working on.
Kickstarter was a nice option to get the remaining funds that we needed to complete the project as we wanted to involve the players in the creative process, improving Skara with their suggestions and ideas. Kickstarter gives us the chance to engage our future players and build the game with their collaboration.
On the Kickstarter it mentions that Skara will be available for PC, next gen consoles, and portable devices. Can you tell us which consoles and devices you plan on making it available for? Will players on a PC be able to play with someone playing on a console?
That is our intention, and we hope next-gen consoles will allow developers to create cross-platform games. But it is too soon to say, I have high expectations on Microsoft and the possibility to interact among PC´s and Xbox One and probably in the future interacting also with Android devices, Windows Phones or the incoming SteamBox.
How is Skara different to other MOBAs already on the market?
Well, Skara is a MOBA because our game consists on Multiplayer Online Battles in Arenas, but people have in mind titles such as DOTA or League of Legends, and Skara is completely different. Our camera placement, for example will be similar to third person games like Gears of War, but the combat system will be similar to versus fighting games. So I would not necessarily employ those kind of labels.
Do you hope to take Skara into the tournament and eSports scene? To that will there be spectator modes?
For sure. We want to focus Skara on direct competition among players, because they need a lot of skills, practice and experience to master our combat system. It´s not about spending money, raising the level of your character or owning the fanciest armors and weapons, it is about being the best warrior. It will be truly impressive, so the people watching fights on spectator mode will enjoy it a lot.
The description of Skara on Kickstarter says you hope to revolutionize the MMO/RPG/FPS scene by blending it all together. How do you bring together RPG and FPS styles and themes into a MOBA?
We love all kinds of games, and want to blend the best features that we enjoy in every genre. The fast and frenetic action of the FPS with the story and social interaction of RPGs and MMOs, and the skilled combat system of a Versus Fighting game.
Will players be able to customize their characters?
Yes, and it will be an important factor, because a player is defined by his faction, rank and success on the battlefield. As players raise their ranks inside the faction hierarchy, they gain access to new equipment, armors and clothes. They will distinguish from the rest of the warriors on every arena, causing fear and respect among their enemies.
What is the role of cities in Skara?
We have just ten cities defined in the map of Skara. The best players will obtain the opportunity to found their own realms, name cities, build arenas and defend them against the enemies’ raids. Only the best of them - the top players in every faction, will be able to add their cities to the map and become part of the history of Skara.
Will there be an in game store?
Yes, not only for player customization (clothes, weapons, armors, shields...) but also items to personalize their arenas. Players that found their own cities will be able to buy construction packs, and build castles and fortifications for their arenas.
Will there be different modes for those who are more competitive and those who are more interested in casual play?
We want to attract all sort of players. Those who are more competitive will join a faction and try to be the best in Faction Battles. Those who are not will enjoy playing just a couple of games per day, because Skara is very fun to play. And we are willing to develop some exciting offline modes such as Horde or a History Mode for every race.
You suggest players should ignore the health bar but that has been such a big part of games since, well forever…do you think people will be able to let go of that idea that death is the worst thing ever?
Well, Super Mario didn´t have a lifebar (just kidding…but it’s true) and most FPS titles don't either. We just want to remove the non-sense-in-the-real-world things about the lifebar. The kind of “My sword is impacting that Orc´s head again and again and he doesn´t die” situation.
Finally, will players be able to get that awesome mustache David has?
This is the BEST IDEA EVER!! How did we not think about it before? Sorry we are stealing it!
I’d like to say a big thank you to Pablo for taking time to do this interview with me. I’ll be keeping a close eye on the Skara Kickstarter campaign over the next month so make sure to keep coming back to OnRPG for the latest. And come back every Friday for interviews and more from current and past MMO Kickstarter campaigns.