During E3 we had an opportunity to sit down with developer SloClap for a hands on playthrough of their upcoming combat RPG Absolver. We left the demo impressed with the experience but also with many questions. After a recent livestream that revealed more, we still had so much we wanted to know so we reached out to SloClap and had the pleasure of sitting down with Creative Lead, Pierre Tarno to discuss the game. Read on for what we learned!
Pierre: The main part of exploration is located in an open map which is located near the ruins of a city that was once the capital of an empire that fell centuries before the story of the game. This will be the main environment you will be progressing in but there will be other environments, even though they are smaller. It’s very much interconnected, with different options for what you explore first, and shortcuts so in a way it is open and seamless. We want all areas of the game to feel as if they are a part of a consistent world so you will always have a feeling of place when you travel from one place to another.
Pierre: In the game you explore, meet other players, build relationships with them, and you can do some PvP game modes, and PvE co-op. We do intend to have additional content after release that would focus more on actual what you could call dungeons. Zones that are really focused on tackling PvE coop missions.
Pierre: We will probably tend more towards a Dark Souls than Mass Effect. Although we’re not trying to make something that is as esoteric or obscure as the Dark Souls games. In Dark Souls it works because it’s a very dark fantasy setting in the world of the dead. Bloodborne has a nightmarish, dream feeling to it so it’s always quite vague. Our world is more of a low fantasy setting. It’s very much real stories about humans and their struggles rather than mythical tales about heroes and monsters. It’s a different type of story. Although everything will not be presented to the player. One of the main motivations is finding your place in the world, why you’re here and why the Empire fell apart.
Pierre: It’s too early too tell. It’s hard to say exactly how long the “story” will be, since in our game, exploration, story, PvP and PvE game modes are blended together, so you may find unexpected elements of story, driving the narrative forward, when you explore the world again after playing PvP or PvE. Also, the updates we will release will all make sense with the narrative and add minor or major elements to it. That being said, we are a small indie studio, and we like to focus on quality rather than quantity, so don’t expect 20 hours of cutscenes.
Pierre: We don’t have different modes like “Campaign” and “Multiplayer” that you choose from the main menu, in the game everything is seamless and integrated. You’ll be accessing both PvP and PvE game modes from the game world and all this is integrated and justified in the narrative. The beauty of PvP content is it’s endless. As long as the game is balanced you can play different modes as long as you want.
Pierre: Loot for sure, such as equipment pieces. We are presently working on how we dish rewards between PvE and PvP. All equipment has gameplay impact, and we are creating different equipment types. Learning attacks will be an important component as well as items and powers.
Pierre: At this stage it’s too early to tell. We are going to do interesting stuff with weapons and with the combat deck. The idea is to be able to engrave moves on weapons. I don’t want to spoil too much about that but we can discuss that in the future when we have that feature in the game.
Pierre: I don’t know. Haha. It will be…limited.
Pierre: We want every weapon family we create to be as deep and interesting as the hand to hand combat and to have as much variety in the creation of combat decks so we don’t want to rush anything else. For the moment we have the sword and everything related to hand to hand such as gauntlets and gloves.
Pierre: Not in the traditional sense. You start with a blank slate. You can build your own.
Pierre: To put it shortly stats will impact your gameplay parameters and the ability to use attacks you learned as efficiently as possible. When you’re in the combat deck customizing your moves and choosing sequence of attacks, the attacks you have there have stats. If you want to do the max damage with an attack you need the required stats. As you progress and invest xp in these stats you will be more and more efficient with the attacks you use and can use. Progression also impacts different things like health, stamina, etc.
Pierre: This fits into the whole concept of combat styles, creating a character or build with a playstyle that is unique or identifiable.
Pierre: Oh yes, you will want to try different types of builds.
Pierre: This is too early to tell.
Pierre: I won’t give any exact figures but in terms of moves there will be a lot. As for combat styles we have implemented currently three that are great fun to play, we’ll do more but it’s too early to tell. We’d rather launch with content that is polished and balanced and add stuff in updates down the line rather than rushing stuff out.
Pierre: This is something we’re currently discussing. We haven’t implemented or tested enough to have a definitive answer. It’s hard to say. There are different ways of dying, whether you fall at the hands of an NPC or a human player. We do want that engagement and tension in encounters because you could be losing something which is a good way to build pressure and importance to encounters, but we are still deciding how to do that.
Pierre: Yes an experience reward. It may be different between random encounters in the world or when you’re actually doing PvP game modes.
Pierre: At launch our focus will be on providing players with matchmaking that allows them to play with people of their skillset and experience and so that everyone can have a fair and balanced and deep experience and this will all feed into leaderboards. I’m not sure if we will be able to have leagues and tournaments at launch but if in the first few months of release we see that the community really digs the PvP content and wants it to be more organized to have events we will certainly provide to the best of our abilities.
Pierre: 2017 haha.
Pierre: We haven’t announced which consoles yet but we do intend to have a PC and console game at launch.