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First Look Preview

Dana Massey Posted:
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Image from cinematic trailer

Image from cinematic trailer

Image from cinematic trailer

Image from cinematic trailer

Africa: First Look Preview (Page 2 of 2)

The concept has not fully been fleshed out, but Spaight envisions this as a type of personal spiritual quest that will allow each player to develop uniquely as they explore highly personal aspects of their character.

In terms of game-world, they’re starting with a focus on North-Western Africa. He chose 1300, partly due to his own fascination with the period – this was the time of the Mongols in Europe and Asia, China at its technological best, Russian Kiev society, the Aztecs and Mayans in America and Africa as a sort of ideological melting pot – and hopes to expand the world over time. He even goes so far as to say that ultimately, he’d love to do the entire world.

But first, is North-West Africa. He chose the area due to the diversity of tribes, the lack of barren areas, variety of terrain and the fact that its history and mythology had been largely ignored. There was also a fascinating interplay of trade between the various peoples, which plays perfectly into Africa’s design that will incorporate factional PvP wars and kingdom control elements, similar to those planned for The Chronicle.

After that, Spaight hopes to move east and incorporate Egypt, before moving South to the rest of Africa, such as the shamanistic tribes of the central-African rainforests.

Another area in which Rapid Reality wants to innovate is combat. Completely tired of “get a sandwich combat”, Spaight says his team plans to employ a system that combines both player and character skill. Essentially, players will receive a bonus if they make the decisions themselves, rather than letting the computer do all the work. However, he would not go into great detail on the guts of the system.

The game also plans to incorporate player housing, unique modes of travel and all sorts of player vs. player options. The guts of PvP in Africa are not yet nailed down, but two areas Spaight mentioned were factional tribal war and trade wars where players would need to trade goods by caravan, but be flagged for PvP when doing so.

As a huge fan of crafting, Spaight aims to ensure that his game has in-depth options for similarly inclined players. Trade and the relations between the tribes seem to be a backbone of the game. Crafting plays right into that.

Another unique aspect of Africa is the game’s plans for music. Music was a language onto itself in Africa and Spaight wants to do that justice. He foresees a system where players – through an as-yet unrevealed mini-game – play music in groups. How well they do can influence everything from battle-bonuses to the quality of items being crafted.

To help, Rapid Reality has partnered with Heavy Melody Music, a New York based sound design company that has previously worked with companies like AT&T, Gillette, Pepsi, General Electric and KFC on advertisements and Blizzard and Electronic Arts in the game sphere.

Tracy Spaight himself is probably not a recognizable name to most, but fans of the MMORPG genre are probably very familiar with his work.

Spaight is best known for “Alter Ego”, a project with photographer Robbie Cooper that juxtaposes regular people beside their in-game avatars. The project received a lot of press last year, including this article on the BBC. He also has been working on the as-yet unreleased documentary film “Real People, Virtual Worlds” with Andy Kolker and Louis Alvarez.

Now on his first game development project, Spaight has set the bar very high.

“I want [Africa] to be a landmark people look back at,” he said.

With Beta planned for later this year and an ‘as long as it takes’ approach before launch – they insist they want Africa to be a polished AAA project that does its subject matter justice – he has his chance to create just that.

Rapid Reality has not yet released any in-game screenshots or visuals of Africa. For this reason, we have yet to add it to our game list. You can, however, see a cinematic trailer (complete with sound by Heavy Melody) on their website.

Thank you to Tracy and the team at Rapid Reality for having me down there. More news, concentrating on Endless Ages and The Chronicle, will be posted next week.

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Dana Massey