French indie company SolarFall Games is a minute development team working on something that is anything but minute. Umbra is a top-down , action RPG of the hack-n-slash variety. It’s also open-world. It also has free-form character development. It has crafting. It has home building. It has companions. It’s nothing short of gorgeous to look at.
It also has, like, three guys working on it full time, with a further five who work part-time.
Alarm bells? Possibly. The Kickstarter description for the game is ambitious. It’s super ambitious. It’s Diablo III meets Skyrim (The Witcher 3 now?) kind of ambitious. They also only want $225, 000.00 to make the game. Granted, the game’s lead designer has been working on Umbra in some form for the last few years, but the core team of three have only quit day jobs and devoted their full time for about a year now. Still, Umbra is worth checking out and, if it doesn’t go the way of numerous other overly-ambitious Kickstarter projects, could be something truly special. Plus the team is adamant that their $225, 000 goal is all they need to get the job done. Hey, they’d know better than us, that’s for sure.
The game is being built on the CryEngine, which explains the gorgeous presentation. The team has also had several years of design and development experience while using CryEngine, so that’s good news. In fact, their work so far was so good that it caught the attention of Crytek’s creative director at a recent GDC.
Umbra sees you taking on the role of a former officer of the Human Republic. Unfortunately for you, you developed some latent magical abilities, and magic is a big no-no in the Human Republic. As such you flee into the wilds, to be pursued by the law and magical creatures that want to suck your brains out through your eye-sockets. Fortunately your newfound magical abilities means you get recruited by the Templars, and as such you get to trek all over the world doing all sorts of Templar-ey things while furiously clicking your left mouse button.
Drab plot aside, the game has potential. The team is particularly excited about the “Apocalyptic Form” ability, which sees your character gaining a massive power-up that includes a visual transformation (think: sprouting fiery demon wings or the like). The Apocalyptic Form, however, is created dynamically based on your play style; odds are YOUR Apocalyptic Form will be different to MINE. In that way you get another layer of character customisation on top of the already open-ended character class development. There are no fixed classes, but rather character class development based on your preference of weaponry, and a mixing of the three resources: Rage, Stamina, and Mana.
Insofar as the game world goes, the team is using a combination of hand-crafted locations and procedurally generated areas. The world will be about four square kilometres big, but that could expand depending on funding. Insofar as cave areas and dungeons go: those will be entirely procedurally generated to add some randomisation to your experience.
There is a behemoth of a Kickstarter blurb, which details almost every aspect of the game. You can check it out over in source link below; also give the Kickstarter introduction video a watch because it is loaded with gameplay footage.
How great does this look? More than 3, 000 backers already think it looks good enough to fund. Currently the team is sitting on just less than $100, 000 of their goal, but they still have 27 days to go.