Keeping the Balance
First of all, thanks to all 35 backers who filled that short survey we sent last week.
We would usually provide cool graphs, but since most people wrote comments inside the form - which we appreciate a lot - it would not really represent the actual content of the answers we received. We also received a lot of feedback by people who played our demo at the Montreal International Game Summit. That being said, here are some answers to concerns some people pointed out:
The Survival Confusion
I hope survival is not a major mechanic in the game. Being constantly stressed out about not freezing, starving, getting eaten etc. is the opposite of fun.
One thing we noticed during the Kickstarter campaign and in the survey is how some people perceive the survival word as survival sim.
Let us be clear with this: Kôna is not a Survival Sim. Like we said in the Kickstarter presentation video and many times in interviews, Kôna is first and foremost an adventure game.
The Silent Hill Case Study
Silent Hill is a Survival-Horror, but the player doesn't have to hunt for food in order to survive. There is simply this constant pressure that pushes the player to avoid wasting important resources. In the context of an horror game, that means the player don't have a lot of munitions and has to be careful as he moves through the in-game world.
Surviving in Kôna
In Kôna, similar to how the first Silent Hill handled its Survival tagline, we want the player to feel immersed in the experience. In an immersive context, we don't feel it is right to spawn - for example - flare gun munitions out of nowhere because the player wasted all of his flares by shooting without purpose in the air. It means that if you ever find a flare gun, you should keep it and not waste its munition.
Another survival element is the weather. The player has a map, a journal and some clearly-defined goals. He has all the information it takes to know where to go and where not to go. We could have placed invisible walls to block the player from running into the woods, but we decided not to do that. If the player walks straight into a forest that he knows leads nowhere, the character will freeze to death. Like in real-life, you won't freeze if you frequently visit houses or pilot the pick-up truck. You will only encounter this difficulty if you don't think a little about where you are going.
Keeping The Balance
So far it looks very promising to combine open world and point and click adventure, but there is a big danger that the player gets lost.
The goal with Kôna is to create a balanced, multi-genre experience. That certainly comes with its dose of challenges.
"The player might get lost" is one of these things we have to be careful with. Our solutions to that is twofold. Firstly, we are creating a map that will reside in the Journal. Secondly, we are making sure that there are visible and memorable landmarks around you at almost any time.
There is also the danger of having a game that is either too easy or too hard. Our goal is to allow the player to clear some situations in many ways. We want to reward the player who thinks rather than the one who rushes. However, both will likely make it to end of each episode. There will also be rewards for the player who explores, and sometimes for the ones who take risks.
Creating a game that "feels right" is our goal. So whatever you think "don't fit" are things we are really looking for through our posts and surveys. We appreciate the comments that underline those elements that "don't fit the aesthetic of the game". These are at the top priority of our "to-think" list :)
The User Interface
I don't personally like the descriptions over items you can observe ("broken window). It's a small thing but it makes me feel like someone else, like a senior investigator, went through the scene and put post-it notes on everything important, and I'm just going through and collecting them.
The user interface is still work in progress, but here are things that we plan to do that might answer to some concerns:
- Removing the description over interactive objects (no more "broken window" thing). Instead, we will provide a one-word description of the action or - as the quote suggest - a simple logo that means "interact" or "investigate".
- Removing the dialog box when you click on objects. Instead, we will temporarly "print" the text on the nearest flat surface in the environment.
- Changing the font for something that is more "1970".
Again, it is work in progress and might change in the future.
From what I have seen so far, the English translation has been very rough. I strongly recommend getting a native English speaker to proofread your translation, or perhaps a contractor to handle localization.
We know about it and the game will be translated by profesionnals, only later in its production. Right now, we are focusing on creating a solid game in French and we translate it ourselves to show it off to the world. Once we will be satisfied with the overall experience in its original language, we will push all the texts to a competent firm and the afformentioned roughnesses will simply vanish.
If the game ever comes out on PS4, Xbox One or any other console, backers will have these download links: PC/Mac/Linux + One console. Everyone will have the PC/Mac/Linux version and will also have a console version of their choosing.
We hope it clears things out!
Have a good week-end!
Alex, Etienne and Max