Last week Kedhrin Gonzalez, Creative Director at Illfonic, braved the heat of his un-air-conditioned office and spent some time to tell us about his labor of love, Revival. Kedhrin and his team all have experience working on MMOs but have never been able to create a world that did not feel stale when all was said and done. With Revival they have set out to do nothing less than create a revival in the MMO genre that takes place in a living world.
Right away it is noticeable that the graphics look amazing. Kedhrin explained that the way the world in any game looks should invoke strong emotions. With this ideal his team at Illfonic works to prototype games with top notch graphics, they do not just create concept art. They create a prototype that looks like the finished game should.
The most interesting aspect of Revival is that it will have developer-started events that force the players to make a choice. These GM run events are referred to as live storytelling. These live storytelling events will play out like episodes across the course of a television season. Major events will be introduced to players through the GMs. Kedhrin believes that players are dissatisfied with the way that stories are delivered in MMOs currently and that live storytelling is the solution. While most of the live story telling will be planned events, they will be of different size and scope. Players will also have the ability to change the outcomes. While the players will not always be able to stop what triggers the events, they will be able to effect all of the outcomes.
Kedhrin also believes the GMs should always be in game engaging players to do “crazy cool things.” He compared a GM to a dungeon master in a pen and paper RPG. GMs will not be trying to play for or against the player characters. The GMs will just try to present the situation to the players and see how they adapt. Also if players leave a server for a month when they return they should expect the experience to be different. There will be regional servers with GMs specifically working on them at different peak times and the servers should be different based on how the stories progress on each server.
We learned some other interesting tidbits from Kedhrin during our conversation too. For instance you will have to take a bath in game. If not you will see your character get dirtier. I imagine that the dirtier you become you will start to suffer ill effects in the form of negative reactions from NPCs and possibly other players. The game is Lovecraft inspired. It will have a violent and mature game system. Revival will also feature real-time combat. Players should expect to be able to do combos. This will not be a hot bar button game where players focus on creating the most optimal skill rotation.
Weapons will be skill and stat based. While some part of whether you hit or miss will be based upon your character's stats, you also have to actively be aiming at the target. You cannot aim an arrow at the ground and expect to hit your enemy.
The game is based on CryEngine 3 and they have a nice tool set with a real time editor that is already in the game that the GM’s have access to. This allows the GMs to do something as crazy as possessing NPCs and talking to players as if they were gods.
If I had to pick a single word to describe Kedhrin and his Illfonic team's project I would pick "ambitious". They are setting out to do things that will require a lot of developer interaction with the player and are difficult to accomplish. GM run events were always a hit in the past with old school MMOs and I’m sure will prove a welcome addition to the current MMORPG library if they can be pulled off again. What about you? Do you like GM run events? Are you concerned that if you miss a day you will miss an event and become demotivated to log back in? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Interview Part 1
Interview Part 2
Interview Part 3
Robert Lashley / Robert Lashley is a Staff Writer and Online host for MMORPG.com and RTSGuru.com. Rob's bald and when he isn't blinding people from the glare on his head talking in front of a camera you can chase him down on twitter @Grakulen
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