MMORPG.com: First off, please introduce yourself and tell us how you got involved in the Life is Feudal project.
Vladimir: My name is Vladimir aka "Bobik", I am the one who had initiated that project and doing everything to keep wheels turning. That includes almost all organizational work, some Art directing and some coding here and there too. Whole game design is also on me.
MMORPG.com: How did the idea for the project come about and how long has LiF been in development?
Vladimir: Well, I had a vision of that game for a long time and it were keeping more detailed as longer as I have played other MMO games of sandbox genre. In the May of 2010 i decided to start that project with a post on one of game development sites in Russia looking for same minded enthusiasts. There were a lot of flame, skepticism and such, but still some core developers appeared and we had start a development of pre-alpha version. It had featured complete terraforming and most of the free building system as a most complex features in a planned game. That allowed us to find a local investor that was outside of game development business and in November 2011 we had started a full-time job on our project.
MMORPG.com: Please explain the setting of Life is Feudal. Why a medieval setting rather than fantasy?
Vladimir: First of all we like that setting ourselves more :) Also, in our opinion, there are plenty of people who are fed with different fantasy worlds. Realistic medieval setting should appeal more, considering amount of medieval reconstruction festivals going all around the globe and success of Game of Thrones book and TV series. That setting issue some game design challenges, because there is no place for classic magic systems in that setting. No fireballs, pew pew bolts, stunning or petrifying spells or pet dragons. But we hope that we still be able to provide other sources of fun to our players, rather than observing tons of particle special effects.
MMORPG.com: The literature indicates that LiF is a true sandbox experience for players. What makes it different from other sandbox titles, for example, Everquest Next or EVE Online?
Vladimir: We have complete terrafroming, with tunnel building and free building. In EvE online you cannot shape the world around you and can place only stations on some moons. In EQ:Next they will have only some destructible landscape features and parts of ground, that will slowly mend into original state - that is not world shaping, rather just another special effect. In our game players will be able to shape world almost the same way they can do it in Minecraft (and Minecraft is an ultimate sandbox IMHO). Skillcap and statcap systems appeals more to a sandbox gameplay, where you can create your own unique set of skills and call it your own class. In EvE in theory everyone can be everything and in EQ:Next AFAIK they just plan to add some multi-classing, but artificial premade classes will still be there.
Also I suggest to take a look here: http://lifeisfeudal.com/Life-is-Feudal-like
MMORPG.com: What are the four or five top features that set Life is Feudal apart from other titles in the genre?
MMORPG.com: Why give players so much control over the game world? Will developers work with player groups to ‘grow’ the game?
Vladimir: Because that is how true sandbox mechanics should work! Our job is to pour out as much sand as we can and give different tools for players to shape it. And then it is up to players what do they want to shape out of it. We do not plan to interfere with player world directly, but if will see some obvious dis-balance or lack of some content or resources - we will adopt and correct that.
MMORPG.com: Will open world PvP be included in Life is Feudal? Will there be any ‘organized PvP opportunities such as guild battles, individual dueling, etc.?
Vladimir: Yes, open world PvP with full loot is one of the core features of our game. And organized Battles and sieges is another ultimate feature that we plan in order to provide best experience in guild vs guild battles. We don't plan to develop some complex dueling system - everyone can attack everyone at any given time, it is just consequences that both of them should be worried about.
MMORPG.com: Why did you opt for the full loot system rather than, for instance, a partial loot or money/currency loot only?
Vladimir: For added immersion of player into harsh and dangerous medieval world. Players will be afraid of dying and should act accordingly. In the world of Life IS Fedual, no one promise you to be a godlike being that do not care about dyeing 100 times a day. We do realize that Fool Loot concept is not that popular amongst most of the players, but hardcore players lack that adrenaline and thrill and are always on the look for it.
MMORPG.com: You recently launched an Indiegogo crowd funding program. Do potential donors seem to be motivated to fund a sandbox title such as Life is Feudal?
Vladimir: Nope, they don't seem like to be much motivated for that :) We had collected a lot of feedback in these passed 3-4 days of campaign and most people do not believe until they can see that and try that themselves and we do understand that. We don't have any past experience and loud titles behind our backs to back up our promises. Also we had some obvious mistakes in our marketing strategy for that campaign. But on the other hand, we gather a huge amount of positive feedback from all around the world, that can be summarized as "that is a game of my dream" and that really encourages us to keep on pushing through different obstacles and bring our game to life.
MMORPG.com: When do you anticipate beta testing and, later, release?
Vladimir: We should certainly have Beta tests going in 2014 and hopefully release in late 2014 or Q1 of 2015.
MMORPG.com: Anything else you would like to add?
Vladimir: Plenty of things, but they won't fit in here :) Good luck, have fun and remember - life IS feudal ;)