The 90s can be considered as the golden age for role-playing games (RPGs), as it was that time that the mentioned genre flourished. This is exactly the inspiration of Snowcastle Games in creating a mix of modern trends and classical gameplay, and from which "Earthlock: Festival of Magic" was born.
The game is an adventure/RPG that revolves around the journey of Amon Barros, a desert scavenger. In his quest to rescue his uncle, he recruits the aid of some unlikely allies, and, along the way, he discovers that he is more than just a mere scavenger.
Aside from the reverence to classic RPG games and adaptation of current technology, what makes the title unique and a cut above the rest in the vast library of the genre? Sony Computer Entertainment Europe contributing editor Roland Fauster talked with Snowcastle Games' lead artist Fredrik Dahl, where he explained the premise behind the title's development.
During the interview, the first point that Dahl emphasized was that the game is created by turn-based RPG fans. "When we sat down and had a round table after we finished up our previous production, it quickly became clear that we all had fond memories of turn-based RPGs," Dahl explained. "When we set out making 'Earthlock,' we missed those type of games, and believed that to be true for a lot of people that had grown up playing them."
This was where the idea of creating a retro-styled RPG began. They, of course, made necessary tweaks that they felt was amiss in the RPGs in the market nowadays.
The biggest problem they saw was the grinding. Although it wasn't necessarily a bad thing, it stopped creating a challenging experience and was replaced by a tedious one, thus the gameplay revolved more on tactical advantage. This further trickled down to relationships with other characters, ability, and party setup.
The user interface was also made less bulky, allowing players to enjoy being in the game rather than taxing on too many menus. "They have two pages of these button-mapped abilities making anything in combat less cumbersome to utilize," Dahl added.
"Earthlock: Festival of Magic" comes to the PlayStation 4 platform on Jan. 27.