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Introducing 'The Skies': How a Novel Made a Game

By Guest Writer on December 19, 2014 | Developer Journals | Comments

Introducing 'The Skies': How a Novel Made a Game

Our interesting journey started several years ago when I decided to enter a story contest and wrote the novel “The Skies”. The novel won the contest and it was an initial small victory, but still a very pleasant one. 

Already at that time, I was thinking how cool it would be to create a multiplayer game based on the story. The game world, characters, storyline, atmosphere were already described in the novel and could be a great background to work with for a game. I met Anton Ustimenko, Chief Executive of Eforb, and discovered that he had a similar dream: to create a really great MMORPG with lots of opportunities for the players to engage - something that would make history in the game industry. Together, we decided to give life to this new challenging project.

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Since initially announcing the game, we've received questions in community forums, such as "Why did you touch the topic of a post-apocalypse in your game? Don't you have any other ideas?" We also heard feedback that players felt there were enough post-apocalyptic games already, and concern that we wouldn't be bringing anything new to the market. Our game was also initially compared to RPGs STALKER and Fallout. Due to recent geo-political events in our country of Ukraine, I can say with confidence that our team knows what a real post-apocalypse world is like first-hand. Really, our games team had to rescue themselves, their families, and even servers and computers when the war in Lugansk started. To this end, players should get ready to see something special in "The Skies". In all seriousness, I've always been interested in post-apocalyptic fiction, art and atmosphere as well. 


Additionally, the post-apocalypse genre became especially popular after World War II, when the chances of human annihilation by nuclear weapon had reached people’s consciousness. Certain segments of authors, artists and game developers have chosen this genre for their works even nowadays. Besides nuclear weapons, humanity have also contributed to other global issues that might lead all of us to the brink of extinction one day…but, neither our development team nor other content creators develop their post-apocalyptic works just to remind us of pending doom. Everyone brings their own much deeper reasons and inspirations to their works.

For me, post-apocalyptic life and conditions reveals people’s inherent nature and provides the background for writing the naked truth. In such conditions, people become a true version of themselves. While everything in the environment changes dramatically, human beings stay as they are, with their own dreams and expectations, weaknesses and fears, temptations and sins. 

What makes "The Skies" different is that it not only brings to our consciousness all of the ugliness of post-apocalyptic tragedy, and the events, creatures, governments, and weapons as is present in most other great science-fiction stories, but it also brings a specific focus on the people. In "The Skies", I place the emphasis on the people - their unique storylines, relationships, feelings, dreams, goals, life paths, and beliefs to this post-apocalyptic tragedy, which includes ruins, wars, robbery, and battles for the power. Thus, finding a place to romanticize this genre.

The MMORPG we're working on reflects this idea and atmosphere as well, both in the beautiful 3D art of the desert cities as well as the self-developing game world where players can choose their role and find their own Skies. We're designing the game such that you can choose your role in the game - we call this a "self-developing game" - and you can find your own Skies. We're also working on special characters from the novel for our game where you will be able to engage in dialogues and quests. Additionally, we're working on more connections in the game with the novel. For example, by browsing or exploring certain locations in the game, you can find pieces of information reflective of the novel, such as, you might find a letter from one of the characters, or you might meet a character who will tell you the location's history.

Currently we're translating the book into English and already editing the Russian one. By the end of the year, the book "The Skies" will be fully published in English. We're going to present the book to our most dedicated community members who have been supporting us all this time, and please feel free to join our community for more information on the upcoming book (http://skiesmmorpg.com). You can also see here some of the illustrations from the book, and stay tuned for our next article on developing the game world in "The Skies".