INTERVIEW / Indie developer Still Games and crowdfunding Animal Gods

 

Indie developer Still Games is working on an action-adventure RPG game called Animal Gods, and has called upon the power of crowdfunding to bring it to the masses. The campaign launched on October 9th, and with just a few days to go, is looking for that final push. They recently passed the 75% mark, but are still a ways off of the final $26,000 total. The game is set to be available for PC, Mac, Linus, and Wii U, but includes stretch goals that would include PS4.

Animal Gods looks like a love letter to The Legend of Zelda, as the trailer shows off a Link-like hero named Thistle running through dark landscapes and fighting off enemies with her sword. Taking place in ancient Europe, the game’s aesthetics fit the dark times that have fallen upon the land, as Thistle must work to free the Animal Gods and save the world.

 

animal gods

 

We had a chance to send some questions over to the developers at Still Games to talk about Animal Gods.

Cody Shults, That VideoGame Blog: You make no qualms in referencing The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds being somewhat a basis for the gameplay. Even the protagonist Thistle dons a red hood and cape that looks reminiscent of Link’s garb. What made you want to make this kind of game in the first place?

Still Games: The 360 degree movement you get from a top-down camera promotes exploration and storytelling in solid ways. We’ve always preferred responsive combat elements found in Zelda, so these are elements that are appearing in Animal Gods.

In terms of character design, you’ve got essentially two options when you’re designing characters for a top-down game. You can have a big-eyed JRPG style character, which is great for games that are story-centralized, or you can have an abstract action hero. Someone mostly faceless. A lot of classic Konami games come to mind (Castelvania, Contra) which usually hide the main characters’ face entirely during gameplay. Link from The Legend of Zelda is pretty much obscured by his hair and his garb. Thistle’s face is obscured as well.

What made you want the game set in 15th century Bronze Age? Is this what gives the game such a dark tone?

There’s a lot of mystery from that time period. It’s before writing systems, before history. As developers, we get to fictionalize a good bit of it — but we also get to arrive at places, people things that are very real. Animal Gods is historically grounded with a touch of fiction.

 

AG Charged-Strike2

 

The description of the game mentions that you will be interacting with other characters, but we don’t see that in the trailer. What will these interactions be like? Will they give out quests? Are their companions to join you on your journey?

Here’s an example of a character interaction from Animal Gods — you’re in the overworld, you walk up to a home and you meet someone at the door. He talks with you, and then says something that’s a little bit off. You hear sounds coming from the attic. You dive a little bit deeper into his home and discover something weird is going on. You find out what’s going on and you resolve the story.

So the game also looks to have some almost cut-scene moments when wandering around the world. Are their scripted events that you will stumble upon while out on your journey that may lead to plot lines or side quests?

Yeah, Animal Gods will feature scripted story events. These will help add to story and help transition you between worlds and places — I always think of Bioshock’s dramatic plunge into the sea, into the heart of Rapture.

 

AG Waterfall

 

Watching the trailer, it looks as though Thistle will eventually meet the Animal Gods. Are these bosses in the game?

Yep, you have to fight them and set them free. Mechanically, they will develop off of gameplay devices and hazards introduced in earlier parts of the game.

From what it sounds like you can basically take on these dungeons in any order around the open world. Do dungeons/temples scale to your character and the weapon upgrades you’ve made?

The weapon upgrades will be regionalized, and then taken away from you as you enter the next area. They’ll all come back to you together towards the end. Animal Gods has an interesting & engaging open-world structure.

Will these temples/dungeons offer puzzles or additional challenges besides enemies?

The game will be devoid of puzzles, and temples will stay combat / action focused. So mostly skill-based. That will make Animal Gods feel a little more action focused than Zelda.

 

AG Fiend-Horde2

 

It appears you brought some ideas over from a cancelled project earlier in the year. What made you decide this was the direction to go with Animal Gods?

Yep — We have some terrific artistic and sound assets that are still very much part of the story and the world that will be included in Animal Gods. Our early Kickstarter was more artistic, but we received feedback that potential backers wanted a video that showcased gameplay. Some people were confused. So we cancelled the campaign, then came back with a video that
features a character moving through the world. Really, we’ve reoriented the information we’re sharing about Animal Gods for this Kickstarter. Both of campaigns showcase elements that are part of the same whole–Animal Gods–but they focus on different aspects.

Any final thoughts on Animal Gods and what the game means to you?

We’ve got goals and plans for this to develop into something magical, and we hope that we’ll continue to find the funding to make it. But we need help! The scope of the Animal Gods release is all a matter of funding at this point. Thank you for helping!

Still Games has released a short technical demo of Animal Gods which is available for Windows and Mac, which you can find the links for these respective builds below.

PC Build –
http://www.still-games.com/Animal%20Gods%20Preview%20PC.zip

Mac Build –
http://www.still-games.com/Animal%20Gods%20Preview%20Mac.app.zip

We would like to thank the folks at Still Games for taking the time to speak with us. Be sure to check out their Kickstarter campaign here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1312819457/animal-gods-reborn-wii-u-pc-mac-linux

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