What inspired Arclands?

Hello Arclads and Arcladies - we’ve surpassed 650 Backers! That is already amazing - thanks to everyone who pledged and shared around the campaign. In this update I want to talk a little about what originally planted the seed for this game. What games inspired Arclands? What games can Arclands be compared with? Buckle in, this is a wordy one!

This is it. The secret formula. Well, not really, but you get the point.

 Video games are, among other things, escapism. Growing up I loved getting lost in RPGs and I’m sure many of you did as well. One thing that always felt special to me, were all the little towns scattered across the vast, dangerous lands I was exploring. Do you remember the feeling of finding Kakariko Village on your way to Goronia? Do you remember walking from Prontera to Payon because you couldn’t afford the Kafka fee? Looping back to Firelink Shrine after exploring the Undead Burg? This feeling of finally reaching a safe, lively place is something that stuck with me. These little towns and spaces have always fascinated me - which is why I also developed a taste for city building / strategy games like Stronghold, Settlers and Warcraft. These games captured my imagination like no other - but one element was missing. While it was fun building castles and towns, you were never really anchored in the world you were building in. You could explore the map but there never were any surprises hidden. There were no little storylines unfolding. There were no boss fights you could stumble upon. There was no life - Maps in these games always just were a thinly veiled abstract canvas, nothing more. I want Arclands to feel more like a space that promotes wonder and curiosity. So much for the wishy washy stuff - I’ll get concrete now and list some games that inspired Arclands. 

Take Warlords Battlecry IIIs RPG Elements and add a pinch of Strongholds beautiful castle building. Let them simmer for 2 years. Medium heat.

Let me start with my two favorite RTS games. Warlords Battlecry is one of the rare RPG/RTS hybrids - it did a lot of things that Arclands aims to do. The game allowed you to level up your hero in an almost rogue-like fashion. It also hid little temples on its maps which you could get quests from - completing these quests would either yield experience or special units that you could recruit into your army. You could even hire these special units in subsequent plays! Stronghold has a very special place in my heart: it was the first game I ever played which let you build actually beautiful castles - something that is really important to me in Arclands. I want the player to look at their creation and think: "Yeah, this is my little town. I like being here.".

Mix Link's awakenings atmosphere with some good ol' ARPG Combat and character-progression and stir until it feels like Arclands.

I looked into my past to find out which RPGs influenced Arclands design decisions the most. Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening was an easy pick - its weird yet cozy atmosphere is something that I decided to reflect in Arclands early on. It seems super cute on the outside - something doesn't feel right though. Under the cheery exterior l a very weird darkness. When I was deciding how the combat of Arclands should work, I took a good look at all kinds of action RPGs. Their combat mechanics most often aren't far off from real time strategy games. Since Arclands focuses more on spell casting and controlling your main unit than most other strategy games, feeling out ARPGs like Torchlight was a natural fit. 

Of course I focused on games that are a little past their prime here. It goes without saying that contemporaries like Banished, Northgard and Kingdoms and Castles all have injected themselves a little into the DNA that makes up Arclands. 

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this was interesting to some of you. If so, why not check Arclands out on Kickstarter? See you next time!

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