SolarFall Games’ work in progress, action RPG Umbra, has been greenlit by the Steam community. Better yet, after just a few days on Kickstarter, it has already reached 50% of its $225,000 target, leaving Game Director Daniel Dolui “humbled” by the progress.
SolarFall have already provided plenty of footage to tempt you into backing Umbra, which makes a lot of sense as it looks pretty damn fine in all its CryEngine 3 glory. Magical effects are, as you would expect from the genre, visual treats that can span across the entire screen and beyond – they’re arguably better than anything currently out there.
Choose your weapon…
Taking further advantage of CryEngine 3, customization features heavily in Umbra. Not only are you free to choose your character progression without class restrictions, you can also customize your gear to a level rarely seen in an ARPG. For example, pommel, hilt, cross-guard and blade type are all user-selected within the crafting system, which requires you to gather the requisite resources in game to forge new items or add new powers. “But why would you bother?” many may ask. Well, because each part of the weapon will affect stats such as attack speed, damage and range.
But does it do anything ground breaking? Will it change the genre? Arguably, from the footage available, not much. Environmental effects impact your spells (so electricity attacks on wet targets will stun them), but we’ve seen this before in Magicka four years ago. We’re told that your in-game choices will also affect your ‘Apocalyptic Form’ to create a unique character, but we’ll have to wait and see how different this is to usual skill combos.
Despite this nagging feeling of deja-vu, one facet of Umbra excited me… a lot. In the trailer I saw a house being created using an in-game UI, “Are you able to create your own levels?” I wondered, mouth open. “Is this going to let me create adventures for my friends to play? Can I be a DM?” Unfortunately, the answer was no. Well, at least, not yet. If released, you’ll only get to build your character’s house, not a dungeon for others.
Alone in the Dark?
In fact, there isn’t any multiplayer in the base game at all, which is a little disappointing. But what is very exciting is a stretch goal that mentions multiplayer and a ‘Dungeon Challenge’ mode which would allow all of this level creation malarkey. It’s heartening to think these features could yet become real, especially as Umbra actually began as an open source platform for RPG mods back in 2011.
Nevertheless, Umbra still needs about $100k before even just the base game gets made. Keep your eye on it though; with multiplayer and level creation it could be invigorating for the genre. It could maybe even take up the baton from Neverwinter Nights.
Should Umbra be successfully funded via Kickstarter, SolarFall Games estimate release in October 2016.