Artix Entertainment is one of those game studios that many may not immediately recognize, though it has been around for a decade plus quietly plugging away in Land O'Lakes, Florida. What most fans of MMOs have probably heard of are the Flash-based games that include AdventureQuest, AdventureQuest Worlds, DragonFable, MechQuest and others. These games have attracted literally tens of millions of players over the years.
However, with Flash ready to die, as CEO Adam Bohn said, "a terrible, horrible death very soon", the company turned its eye to another way to keep its most beloved IP alive. Thus was born AdventureQuest 3D, a world that will be both familiar and brand spanking new all in one go and one that was wildly successful in its KickStarter initiative.
We had the chance to sit down and talk about AQ 3D with Artix Entertainment CEO Adam Bohn and Senior Vice President of Business Development Daniel Vasile and got to see it first hand via its current Early Access program via Steam.
Thrown into the game with a male warrior, I was treated to having my character changed to a female with a new name and fully geared up for war. Landing in the instantly familiar town of BattleOn, I was told that players of either of the other two versions of AdventureQuest will be 'at home' and will easily recognize iconic locations such as Yulgar's Inn and the Magic Shop. But it's not yesterday's locations that players will encounter in BattleOn or anywhere else in the game. Yulgar's, for instance, is packed with things that players can interact with. Adam mentioned that clicking on a painting on the wall might send a player through to a mysterious location or sleeping upstairs might st off a bizarre chain of events.
Yulgar's is also home to the performance stage, a community favorite event where well-known artists are invited in to provide a concert for players and to set off new events and quests as well.
The Magic Shop has a fireplace that is mysteriously connected to all of the town's other fireplaces and passing through one can send players off to a magical void that is packed with monsters and jumping puzzles.
What becomes immediately clear is that the AdventureQuest 3D world is interconnected and can be nearly infinitely expanded, though not at the price of device memory. It is a self-cleaning program that, if certain data is not used for a set period of time, it is deleted until accessed again. This is, of course, something that will be of great value to players on mobile devices as AQ3D is being natively developed for a plethora of platforms including Steam, Android & iOS phones and tablets, all with pure cross platform game play included. Groups of players taking on one of the game's dungeons might include someone on a phone, another on PC, yet another playing via iPad. There is literally no restriction on playing with anyone on any device.
Don't think, however, that working to achieve the lowest bar required for the highest quality that the look and feel of the game lacks presence. The server code has been hand-crafted and coded from scratch and all with no sacrifice to quality along the way due to the use of the Unity Engine, so chosen for its cross platform compatibility. In the end, the graphics are easily on par with many PC and console titles on the market today and feature a fantastical cartoon-like setting and character models.
AdventureQuest 3D will ship with a ton of classes, most of which will be accessible for free by unlocking them via game play. Players can look forward to Warrior, Mage, Rogue, Guardian, Paladin, Necromancer, Ninja and Dragon Slayer when the game is released.
Game play is a lot of fun too. The skill pad is in the right hand corner of the screen and players can choose from one of four skills to utilize in battle. Monsters are plentiful and spawn quickly, so it's worth it to keep moving. Out of combat, players can also change to another class at will. As long as it is unlocked, it is accessible, a great feature that will make customizing groups for a specific fight dynamically possible and will render the wait for the "perfect party" a thing of the past.
AQ3D will have a game shop that will utilize Dragon Crystals and will feature customization items and time-saving convenience items only. The team is firmly committed to not providing any possible way for 'pay to win'.
Currently on track to hit open beta in mid-July, the same date will also mark the final release of ALL KickStarter features, something that many crowd-funded titles cannot boast.
"Over-delivering is our goal. We want to be the anti-KickStarter failure game." Adam said.
The experience of touring AdventureQuest 3D was one-of-a-kind. This is a team that, from the CEO down the line, truly believes in its products and is totally and constantly in touch with its community. The commitment to community involvement is central to the core development of the games that millions of people have loved over the years.
If you're looking for a family-friendly, easy to learn / difficult to master game, AdventureQuest 3D is definitely worth a look. You can do so by visiting the AdventureQuest 3D site or the AQ3D Steam page to learn more.
As for us? We'll be keeping a close eye on this one.