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Interview With Austin Smith

Mark Schembri Posted:
Interviews 0

Our own Mark Schembri recently sat down with Austin Smith, the President of Evil Gamers to talk about the status of their MMORPG game "RageKage Online". Here is what they had to say:

Talk about your career prior to becoming president of Evil Gamers? How did you start in the gaming, and specifically the MMOG, industry?
I worked with several larger companies in animation. I am an animations expert and make things similar to 'A Bug's life' or 'Shrek.' I have always been in some field of business and that is what my degrees were in. I started the game with an idea with my and my vice president that later developed into an MMOG. The idea of repeat business is quite profitable, think, publishers get 95% of the sale of the box, but we get 100% of the monthly fees AND the sale of the box.

What kind of MMOG would you classify RKO as from a sub-genre perspective(fantasy, sci-fi, etc) and why?
I cannot classify it. It is however you look at it. One could see the past as fantasy, and the modern as…. Well modern/fps, and the future as Sci-Fi. Although I guess the overall theme would be Sci-Fi.

Can you give the fans some details about the story behind the game? What role does the player have in that story?
We decided to let everything be in control of the players, even the Game Masters Power (of course admins don't need the players For that for obvious reasons.) As a player worships a GM so to say, their power can increase. It's complicated and I'd like to leave it as a surprise for the time being.

Talk about your alter ego, "Sir Kage." How does he fit in with the game and how do you see him evolving over time?
Sir Kage was a name derived from my days in Ultima Online that was my alias. In a way, a lot of our story characters H ave been based on real players I have met. Kage was a character I made, but when playing UO my guild leader "knighted" me for. My superior performance and sacrifices to my guild. The name always stuck with me. In RKO, he won't have much of a role, during the first few months me and the GMs will lead the players of the game into the large event kind of going through the storyline, although players helping it go along, then the characters will simply vanish. However in due time, a contest may be given out to allow the winner to play as the story characters, of course a major event would be tied to those players.

Talk about the different ages (past, present and future) players can choose to play in and how those ages interact with each other on a global level.
3 ages by default, maybe more with expansion. The idea is players choose a time, and their "family" is stuck in that time. They can have a total Of 3 "families", 1 in each time zone. As for families, your first character is the "parent" character, or the Main Char. You can make an alt as soon As he/she hits age 18. By default you can only play as a human, but your "children" can be half of another race, half of human. This system will develop over time as we discuss it and have more players input.

How do the "gods" fit into the game? What types of interactions will these beings allow for with the player base?
Gods are GMs, or players who received the gift from a GM. They start off as an angel or demon, and as they prove their worth to the game, they will be promoted to a GAD (godlike administrative dominance.) They grow in power as players worship them, and can even be leaders in Holy Wars. A GADs power is limited to the area in which its worshipers own land. As such, if you want a powerful god, destroy other. Religions. To make a GAD gain power, sacrifice items to them at a shrine devoted to them. If the shrine is destroyed, then they cannot receive Sacrifice Points (SP), which are used to benefit worshipers. (IE resurrects a great leader, or help one overcome a disease or something). And eventually the religion will die out, and the GAD must restart as an Angel or Demon. The idea is to give our staff some fun too, while at the same time doing support. Of course for serious matters, like bug reports, they forward it to someone, like an Admin who will deal with it.

It's been said that RKO will not have a magic system. Can you share what the motivate was behind this design choice?
Magic sucks. Period. It's sacrilegious too. Allow me to define what "magic" is- Drawing power from a source other then God. (I know I use lots of religion, but where better?) If you're drawing it from a source other then God, well, the other source is Satan, hence its EVIL. There will be a source of magic, VERY limited, VERY hard to get, and VERY opposed by everything, it's almost pointless. Instead of magic, we offer players the power of invention. Instead of a Fire Spell, make a object with the fire skill, ala Handgun, or Flaming Arrow, or if you ever see the movie Timeline, “Greek Fire.” Magic is overused anyways, we are trying to be unique here not a D&D copycat.

In a previous interview with MMORPG.COM, Steve Siverling, RKO Project Lead, told us that regularly scheduled events are planned and that these events will allow players to change the world. Can you talk in more detail about this and provide some examples of how it might work?
Ok, say a player destroys a kingdom. That changes nothing in another time zone, because throughout history it can be rebuilt. Say you… prevent The extinction of the …. Hmm random name…….. "Hot pink jackrabbit of dementia" race, well in the later time zone one will see those races. Instead of just walking around and finding one appear out of air, a TV broadcast might say like “And today, a whole pack of rabbits were found in the cave of ********.” Also players CAN prevent the future from turning into what it is, however this won't affect future players because it happens sooner or later, so what we do for that is tack 1000 years to the current year or something. Players are truly in control, imagine this as Age of Empires, only you're a citizen in the city, not the leader.

Steve also mentioned in a previous interview that that when players die, they would go to either "heaven" or "hell." Can you discuss the thought process behind this concept and give us more detail on how it's intended to work?
Not using the same terms of course, but Hell is endless PVP, you die; get right back up, die again. If you can win long enough you can fight a boss for the chance to redeem yourself and become alive again. This is 1 time only. In heaven, you must earn the respect of 13 saints to return to mortality. However if you were truly a great person, it might be possible to be resurrected through enough sacrifice of your religion, but….. The cost is severe…. Would it be worth it? On top of that your alts are existing anyways with the same knowledge, and they inherit those players' items, and a couple skills because of your main's "journal log" which kept track of his moves. If you have been to heaven or hell once, you live as a spectator/ghost for eternity, so why play as that char? Well, when you die, you have a chance to fight the Angel of Death, 5 times, once a day, each time regaining your former self, if you survive all 5 days you can return to physical form, weakened, but still alive and recovering. If you fail you will be "harvested" to the Angel of Death, Seraphic, and will cease to exist. It is risky, but the only way to get a second, or even third chance. Death is the highest cost, unlike other games. TAKE YOUR LIFE SERIOUSLY. LIFE IS NOT A GAME. (That's the message we are trying to give.) To make up for this, players aren't level based, and as such if you're a good player you wont really get killed, if your not a good player, stay with friends, be like the heroes in books, they never went alone to the enemy and expected to win.

The trend in the gaming industry has definitely turned toward MMOG titles, how will RKO distinguish itself in this sea of competition?
By not being D&D based like everything else is. Everything is original, hell we don't even have Orcs and Elves. A completely new concept, game play, market idea, player involvement, everything is a fresh idea. Why do we think it will work? Because no one has done this, that's why. We are trying to do things most people would never think of.

We would like to thank Austin for chatting with us. We look forward to watching the RageKage project evolove and grow!


Mark Schembri