It is unlikely that you have ever played a game set in the world that you'd find yourself in while playing Raji: An Ancient Epic (be sure to check out the Steam demo). The game takes its inspiration from Hindu and Balinese mythology and blends it together with the look and feel of Ancient India, complete with music that sets the perfect mood. We had the chance to chat with the good folks at Nodding Heads about Raji, the KickStarter that's currently running & about what the future holds.
MMORPG: You have about a week left on your Kickstarter. If it doesn't reach its funding goal, what will happen next?
Nodding Head: We've invested too much to give up on our dream project. We have a wonderful and dedicated team who do not want to do anything else but to see Raji on the shelf. The overwhelming sense of achievement would be sensational for this little team from India and this is a real story of the underdog surpassing all expectations. We have faith in our community and all of the amazing 1500+ backers who believe in Raji, who’ll spread the word during the last 48 hours.
MMORPG: How do you classify the game? Action? Adventure? RPG? A combination of any or all?
Nodding Head: We’d lean more towards the action-adventure - Hack and slash genre rather than your typical RPG.
MMORPG: How close do your mythological stories and characters stick to the "official" cultural lore they represent?
Nodding Head: We looked at many mythological stories, both from Hindu and Balinese cultures and we chose the ones which we found engaging. The same can be said for lore and the game's mechanics. As you can tell, there’s an awful lot which inspired us, most of which was not overlooked. And when combining all of these elements together we came up with a compelling story which we feel needs a greater audience.
MMORPG: Ancient India is an unusual setting. Why did you choose it over a more modern setting?
Nodding Head: Ancient India has a wealth of treasure to offer, it is like an undiscovered diamond which no one in the gaming world has explored. As an Indian team, having grown up with these myths and lores, it seemed to be a natural choice. Furthermore, we took a large chunk of inspiration from the medieval architecture of Rajasthan, India, which we all seamlessly gravitated towards. A modern setting wasn’t discussed or explored for the above reasons, not to mention we wanted to do justice to Raji’s setting/Universe.
MMORPG: Why did you choose a female protagonist?
Nodding Head: The point here is that we didn’t purposely choose a female protagonist, however, if our protagonist was male do you think anyone would have questioned our choice? This is a story of empowerment and inner-strength, hence we chose to empower the character, not the gender!! And we purposely did not want to over-sexualize the character which is too often the case these days, as we wanted to portray Raji as authentic to her ethnic background.
The inspiration for our storyline goes back to the classic fairy tales, like Hansel and Gretel, where an emotional grip is formed between the siblings because of the dire situation. Something similar will be reflected in the game as you progress through the story. Because of this, we went with Raji as the protagonist, and we didn’t want a damsel in distress or a “save the world” storyline, on the contrary, as it’s been overused. And dare we say...cliche?
MMORPG: You have a demo available. How far along in development is the game given its estimated ship date of early 2019?
Nodding Head: We’re ending phase one of our development, which was to make a demo and launch on the Kickstarter. Now we’ll be entering phase two, where the entirety of production will take place. Right after phase two will be where we will be polishing the game constantly and working towards the release of the game which is the third and the last phase.
MMORPG: What's the best way fans can help spread the word?
Nodding Head: Our fans can simply share our Kickstarter Campaigns’ link via there Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or their preferred social media platform. The campaign ends on 12th Dec, so take action now!!
MMORPG: Anything else you'd like to add?
Nodding Head: We’d highly appreciate if the viewers can take a moment to check out our Kickstarter campaign. If you like what you see, do back us on Kickstarter and spread the word. We will need all the support to make this game a reality...we’ve gone through a year of struggle to come to this point. We are the true underdogs..and we have a wonderful story to share with the world. We'd highly appreciate it if you could give us few moments of your time, this project can only see the light of day with your support. Please follow think link and lend us your support.
As part of the KickStarter, Nodding Head released a demo on Steam that provides a good look at early game play and graphics. You start the game waking up on a pedestal high in the mountains. The first minutes are to inform about controls and so forth as you take on a number of large creatures. Given the demo status, there is little information provided about what you're fighting since the purpose is to show off Raji in good regard, both visually and from a gameplay perspective.
Movement is WASD as well as fairly standard keyboard controls for an action combat game. Raji will need to aim, dodge, roll, charge up her abilities, jump and all the things you'd expect. It is clearly, however, easier played using a controller than with mouse and keyboard, something a bit frustrating at time.
Still, all of this is done with music playing in the background that is literally to die for. It's got an Indian feel to it that is unlike anything I've played before. In fact, the entire game features such an unusual setting that it makes it instantly intriguing.
Anyone can download and play the demo via Steam and it's also well-worth the time to stop by the Raji: An Ancient Epic KickStarter to learn even more about the game. Though still needing quite a bit of funding from backers, the game will, as the interview said, continue with or without it. I believe this is a game worth taking a serious look at for many reasons.
Will you be trying out the demo? If so, let us know what you think!