Hi Elliott, This is a great breakdown and very generous in sharing your process and insights, you came a long way from the vending machine days!
Are you planning on releasing the UE4 project to the public? Or only builds? I'd love to play around with it in the editor if possible!
Once we get this surprise hit in our lives, that sort of dominates the whole market. These days most of the surprises come from the UE4 forgery. Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds was a tremendous success. And now Ashes of Creation is getting millions on Kickstarter. In just a week after the announcement, the game gathered $1.5 million and there’s no sign of the community interest dying. Let’s figure out, what kind of game is this?
Ashes of Creation is a MMORPG. A modern take on an old-school style of a game with factions, strong narrative, beautiful design and amazing details. You start with a completely free wild world, with no civilization around. Your main task is to build this civilized high-fantasy world. With a clever system of interconnected nodes players actually have the ability to shape the world around them in a meaningful manner. It’s basically a simulation of Middle-Earth, where you are the ones who wake the dragon.
There’s also a very complex economy inside the game, with production and distribution closely connected. Yes, there are caravans involved. And yes, you can rob caravans (this might be the definitive feature for some users).
Since it’s an UE4 game, it obviously looks gorgeous. We’ve got a beautiful open world with tons of environments, fantastic visual effects, great lighting, and characters. It’s not Paragon’s level of quality, but it’s pretty high. Plus, the dungeons look just incredible. Coolest thing is that you can actually build the world yourself and influence the way your town or the village looks.
Who’s building this game? The creative director is Steven Sharif. His LinkedIn profile doesn’t provide a lot of details. However, other members of the team have a lot of very powerful MMO background. Lead game designer Jeffrey Bard worked on EverQuest II for quite some time. Technical director Jason Crawford worked on a bunch of games, creating client/server infrastructure for the EverQuest Next and Landmark and building servers for Sony Interactive Entertainment. Michael Bacon, who is the Senior Artist on the team, was the Senior Environment Artist on the EverQuest II. Senior Environment artist on Ashes of Creation is Jon Arellano. He doesn’t have a bunch of experience in the industry (and we’ll have an interview with him pretty soon). Level designer Trystan Snodgrass was doing work for Bioshock Infinite and XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Quite a big and versatile team.
It’s kind of hard to tell, where Ashes of Creation is going to get from here, but it does seem like a very strong project. Maybe it will even get 3 million on Kickstarter. We’ll see.