Today, the team at Darewise Entertainment pulled the curtain back on their upcoming online persistent open world – Project C. That’s it’s working title, because at its core, the game set on the world of Corvus is going to be player-driven throughout all of the testing process. Described as a blend of everything from Zelda: Breath of the Wild to World of Warcraft, Project C’s ambitions are through the roof. The team, comprised of folks from games like Assassin’s Creed, Half-Life 2 and Dishonored, is no slouch either. We caught up with Benjamin Charbit, the CEO of Darewise, and Remy Boicherot, the Systems Designer, to discuss just what players can expect from their ambitious online world.
MMORPG: Project C sounds ambitious, at the very least. What sort of games are you taking inspiration from?
Rémy: Thanks, we are striving to be innovative with Project C and look to existing open world games as a good starting point. We’re looking at games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild all the way to World of Warcraft. We want players to feel like they’re in a living, breathing, evolving world when they play. We’re also looking beyond games for inspiration. We’re fans of Westworld and Ready Player One and felt both showed a sense of immersion, identity, and critical choices. The tech, such as SpatialOS from Improbable, is putting us in a position to deliver on this promise.
MMORPG: The first thing I want to know is if it will be "Yet Another Survival" game, where we start off punching trees, crafting crappy items, and losing everything on death?
Rémy: We don’t consider Project C to be a survival game. Sure, Corvus, the world you’ll be living in, is dangerous - in an inviting sort of way. We are purposely striving to avoid oppressive system so we’re designing progression to give you a tangible sense of achievement in each game session. We do find survival games are pretty interesting from a game design perspective. It proves there’s a high level of interest for open-ended games built around systemic experiences.
We want to motivate players because Project C has interesting equipment, fun gadgets and meaningful interactions within the world. We’re going to push for fidelity too. We want our crafting and construction systems to rely on physical interaction with the world, not just asking you to do repetitive tasks to advance.
MMORPG: Would you classify it as an MMO, in terms of how many people will be on the world of Corvus at once, or is it more like a "shared world shooter" sort of like Destiny 2 - thousands online, but mostly only a few at a time sharing a single space?
Benjamin: Project C is a persistent open world and you’re living this adventure with other players. This is the core of what we want to accomplish, to be a single, seamless world where the entire community is playing together. Now, we admit, we might have to make compromises based on technology limitations and the popularity of the game, but we’ll avoid different game instances for as long as we can.
We want to create a living, breathing persistent and evolving world populated by in-game artificial intelligence that is running the gamut of everything from creatures to plants. Even the planet's biomes react to changes within the planet's ecosystems. And a peer-to-peer economy of goods and services offers deeper social interactions.
MMORPG: Open World Games are known for the amount of things there are to do in the game, "busy work" I like to call it. Will Project C seek to offer as much diversity in content? And if so, what happens when someone's done it all? What will keep players coming back for the long term, in your vision?
Rémy: Yes, we want to offer a wide variety of activities to experience in Project C. Our goal is to make sure every activity is fun and has good replay value. This initial test is focused on team interactions and teamplay with a focus on exploration, resource gathering and building. But as we get further into development we will offer more activities. And as this happens, players should start to enjoy the freedom to play Project C how they want. Our challenge from a design perspective is to keep players coming back because there’s a sense of progression within activities. Knowledge and skill will always benefit those trying to master something and our progression systems will reward the time investment you’ve made too. We don’t want to create one path to greatness in Project C. Choosing a path and mastering it should allow for multiple approaches.
And as a persistent world, we want activities to be multiplayer - both co-op and competitive. There will also be plans for players to generate their own content, offering challenges to others and creating additional depth and value to the experience.
MMORPG: Online games, on the other side of the coin, tend to be known for how players can interact, but how little interaction they might have with the world itself. They're usually an endless sea of monsters and activities that don't really affect the world - you kill them and complete tasks, and then the next person does. How will Project C try and become something more?
Benjamin: We’re trying to solve some of this with technology, using AI to create a persistence to the world that means even when you’re not there, plant life and animals will be evolving and growing. Actions you make will have an impact on the world. We want there to be a bit of a “butterfly effect” to how players interact on this abandoned planet. This is another great example of why we need players much sooner than other games typically invite gamers to test.
MMORPG: How can players get involved, and what kind of tester are you looking for?
Benjamin: Great question. Interested players can sign up at http://project-c.darewise.com, then will be asked to take a survey and once approved after the survey, will be asked to sign up for a 10-minute video call with a Darewise developer. We’re going through a more in-depth onboarding process because we want to start developing the muscles required to excel at Games as a Service. It’s also important for us to show a commitment to our first players. They will be so impactful on Project C and our company - it’s important we build a real relationship with anybody who steps up and joins us. We are looking for a specific type of tester - somebody who is already active with gaming communities, enjoys open world and multiplayer gamers.