You lunatics will recall that preview of REMNANT KNIGHTS we ran up a little while back. Now, I've just gotten the excellent chance to chat with somebody directly involved in this anime-inspired gaming - - one Mr. Brendon Lindsey. Our talk actually coincides with the inception of Septemberfest, a month-long contest GameSamba's conducting at 7/11s with the participation of FUNimation and Alienware.
A hi-tech laptop's a pretty slick prize but I know that, since many of you users have been so jealous of the FUNi box sets I get for my reviews, you'll probably be more jacked up about the anime being given away for the promotion. Brandon goes into some detail about in the interview, but you can get all the rest of the skinny at GameSamba's official site. I can't remember anime ever being given away at a national American chain, so it feels kind-of historic.
Anyway, without further ado...
ANIME VICE: REMNANT KNIGHTS plays in a sprawling digital landscape, of course, but how would you squeeze that down into a nutshell to explain it to the uninitiated?
BRENDON LINDSAY: REMNANT KNIGHTS is a free-to-play MMORPG set in a fictional world. Large portions of the earth are stolen by creatures called Skalari, and humanity basically rebuilt new lands to live on; in the case of this game, that land is known as Kasmari.
There are three basic class types, each with two distinct advanced classes. Players can play through quests, go through dungeons, participate in Marble Battle PVP modes, Arena Battles, and more.
AV: And what’s your role, exactly, in this craziness?
BL: I’m GameSamba’s Director of Games, and the Lead Producer on REMNANT KNIGHTS .
AV: By the looks of it, the whole gameplay design is quite neatly streamlined. Can you describe the various player classes and how the combat system between them works out?
BL: Sure! Players can pick from three basic class types: fighter, magician, and gunner. Each one of them branches off at level 10 into advanced subclasses. Gunners can be either Dual Gunners or Heavy Launchers; Fighters can be Crashers or Strikers; Magicians can become Priests or Elemantalists. Each one of the advanced classes has their own role. You’ve got most of the standard MMO roles, such as tank, DPS, and healer, but they each bring their own unique twist to the table.
In terms of combat, RK combat features a wide variety of area of effect (AOE) skills for every class. It’s not like other games where if you want to use AOE skills you use the mage and everyone else is stuck to 1 on 1 combat; even the Crasher (the tank) has almost all AOE-capable abilities.
So this makes combat require a little more thought, because you have to recognize how certain skills are going to impact the Skalari you’re attacking. Do you want to attack only one or two? Do you want to hit three? Do you want one group coming after you? Even once you’re IN combat you run the risk of using the wrong skill and hitting another mob which you didn’t have on you, which then just brings more attacks your way.
When it comes to PVP, skills have a lot of bonus effects that will have big impacts on other players. Debuffs, silences, knockbacks – a lot of the things you’d see in hardcore PVP games. So there’s a larger element of strategy when you’re fighting other players, as you not only have to kill them first, but you need to disable them, catch them, keep them away from you, etc.
Skills work on a skillpoint system. So you don’t get to level 5 or 10 and instantly unlock two or three new skills. You have to assign points to unlock new ones, or to make current ones stronger. It gives you a lot of variety in your choices. Do you want to have a handful of really strong skills? Do you want to focus only on defensive ones? Do you want a few points in each so you get all of the benefits but do less damage? It’s really up to each player to decide.
It’s a fun mechanism, and we look forward to seeing how people will assign their skills once they start getting to the higher levels where ladder-based Arena PVP begins.
AV: We first came to know about this title through Gamesamba’s association with FUNimation. How exactly does that deadly alliance work out and when did it come about in the first place?
BL: We’ve been really close with the guys at FUNimation since GameSamba started. We’ll have some more news on all of that soon, but they are a huge help in promoting RK. In the short term not only are they exposing their players to the game and helping us reach an audience we’d otherwise have difficulty talking to, but they’re also partnering with us for Septemberfest, a month-long event we’re doing in all of our games to give away some sweet prizes. FUNimation, 7-Eleven, and Alienware are just a few of the sponsors we have working with us on that.
AV: The story’s written by comics superstar, Jim Krueger. What plot has he worked out between the power-ups?
BL: Which version! As you can imagine over the course of an MMO being developed, new things will pop up requiring tweaks to the story here and there. Jim has been great in coming back when something is changed/added, and fine tuning the story even further.
We have a section on our site where we have a longer version of the story available, but here’s the Sparknotes version:
Many years ago, a tear opened in the space above the earth, and an insane amount of asteroids fell to the earth, destroying cities, leveling forests, and generally doing what you’d expect them to do. People thought it was the worst disaster ever, but then they found out the asteroids were really carriers for beings known as Skalari. In their own dimension, they were sort of like the top dog on the food chain. In ours, however, they had no corporeal form. So they assumed the forms of things on earth. Trees, animals, buckets, whatever they could find.
At first people thought they were adorable, kept them as pets, and basically treated them like stupid animals. But the Skalari were really waiting to strike. Strike they did, and a war between them and us broke out. Scientists worked around the clock to find ways to hurt them, and a brilliant guy found a way to re-open the portal to try and send them back. That corrupted him, though, and he sort of went mad with power and became their leader.
Eventually humans won the war, but as a last hurrah the Skalari and the mad doctor used his technology to steal parts of the earth and take them to the Skalari dimension. So humans had to build new land to live on (tough to live on water, after all) and opened up schools to teach students to be prepared should the Skalari ever return.
And, obviously, they did.
AV: Obviously, there’s a profound anime influence on this game. What are some of your personal favorite titles? Did any of them have an influence on REMNANT KNIGHTS, in particular?
BL: There’s references to a LOT of stuff in the game. Bill Murray movies, Harry Potter, League of Legends, books most people have never heard of, etc. So I would say quite a few anime titles have had an influence on the game in terms of design and writing. And as we move forward you’ll start to see a lot of specific things from some anime franchises in the world.
AV: Finally, the game’s in an open, free-to-play Beta at the moment. What can players expect from the game in the near future?
BL: We’re working hard on trying to optimize the play experience. So expect a re-work of some of the higher level areas, more quests so there’s less of a grind, and more things for players to do. Also some new items in terms of costumes/mounts, and of course this month we’re doing our huge Septemberfest event so for quite a few people they can look forward to the daily, weekly, and grand prizes!