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Vault Dweller interviewed by Forbes about Age of Decadence

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Vault Dweller interviewed by Forbes about Age of Decadence

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 15 March 2013, 00:32:23

Tags: Age of Decadence; Iron Tower Studios; Vault Dweller

Yes, you heard right. Our friend and former editor-in-chief Vault Dweller, sometimes known as Vince D. Weller, managed to score an interview with Forbes about his upcoming game, The Age of Decadence. The interviewer is Erik Kain, a gaming commentator who has been making a name for himself in the past year or so as "the last honest man in the business", and he gives the game a fair appraisal. I quote:

Age of Decadence is a hard game. I’ve been killed so many times I’ve lost count. Combat is among the most challenging I’ve ever encountered in a game, and even the text-based portions of the game—sneaking into a castle, for instance—are rife with challenges that often lead to your untimely demise.​

The game isn’t like most modern role-playing games. It’s neither cinematic nor fast-paced. It requires you to read a great deal, not to mention reload.​

Basically it’s a tactical, turn-based fantasy RPG with a Roman-inspired setting. It’s a single-player RPG with a deep story, consequential choices, and no hint of “Kill Ten Goblin” fetch quests. In other words, it’s basically the antithesis of the MMORPG.​

As an indie game developed by an indie studio, Iron Tower, Age of Decadence is unlike any other game on the market. And while technically it isn’t actually on the market yet, you can play the demo and get a pretty good feel for what it has to offer.​

I’d only recommend doing so if you’re up for a challenge, however. This is not a game for the impatient or the action-minded. Quite the contrary.​

Indeed. The interview itself is very in-depth - VD spares no detail in his description of the game's systems and mechanics. I assume that many of our readers are already familiar with AoD to a large extent, but I'll quote the interesting bits:

Forbes: Tell me a little bit about Age of Decadence. What’s the setting and why did you choose that setting? Where did the name come from?

Weller: It’s a fantasy role-playing game set in a world inspired by the fall of the Roman Empire. Nowadays, ‘fantasy role-playing game’ tells you absolutely nothing, so let me elaborate to give your readers an accurate picture.​

It’s a hardcore game. What does it mean? Well, if accessible means ‘a game that can be enjoyed by everyone, including your grandma and the neighbors’ cat’, then hardcore would be the exact opposite of that. It’s a game made for a very specific market, a market abandoned long ago simply because it’s a niche within a niche. Even been in the middle of nowhere? Endless empty land stretching out in every direction, an antique gas station, and a diner that says, “I bet you a silver dollar you ain’t man enough to eat the special and live to tell the tale”. Well, that’s our niche. We’ve moving in and setting up shop there.​

Traditionally, many fantasy RPGs are about killing things, clearing up dungeons, and being a hero. Now, there is nothing wrong with mindless fun and wish fulfillment, but we serve a different meal here.​

[...] Combat difficulty is integrated into the setting. You can’t say that the world is harsh and unforgiving and then allow the player to kill everyone who looks at him or her funny. The game has to be hard, dying should be easy, and you should have reasons to pick your fights.​

You aren’t a powerful hero who can defeat anyone and save the world and it is the difficulty that reinforces this notion. Make the game easier and we’re back to the powerful hero setup.​

Is this a solo game, or will you be able to build up a party of companions?

It’s a solo game for story-telling reasons. You’re trying to work your way up in the world and doing it with a bunch of buddies and romantic interests wouldn’t fit into what we’re trying to do.​

What sort of revenue model will the game use? How are you funding it and why?

[...] Why not Kickstarter, you mean? Feels like a cash grab more often than not, to be honest. Mind you, I’m not talking about established studios like inXile and Obsidian – I backed all 3 projects. They truly need the funds to keep the studios in business and people employed.​

At the same time, way too many people are reenacting the Klondike gold rush and jumping on that wagon, hoping to get some too. We simply prefer a different approach. Prove yourself first, deliver something playable, then ask for money.​

What’s the biggest challenge about making an independent game?

Keeping faith. Making an independent game means working on it part-time for years. It’s like having a very demanding second job that doesn’t pay you anything but makes you wonder if you will ever see the finish line. You have to believe in what you’re doing, you have to believe in your ability to do it, and most importantly, you have to believe in your vision and that even if the game fails commercially, it was worth it.​

Erik will be posting a follow-up to this interview in the near future, describing his experiences with the Age of Decadence demo in further detail. As one of our readers said, Erik Kain keeps the incline coming. :salute:

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