Here at the Xbox Tavern, we like our action RPG games, so we caught up with Raffaele Mele, President and Creative Director over at Hybris Studios, currently working on Champions of Odin. Check out what he had to say!
Xt – So, for those that are unaware, what is Champions of Odin all about?
RM – Champions of Odin is a first-person, action role-playing game that combines the fast pace and intensity of a first-person shooter with RPG elements. The story and theme of the game draw from Norse Mythology. You play as a magical frost giant named Gymir, who makes a deal with Odin, the god of all gods! Odin promises to revive the fallen Freya, the love of Gymir’s life, if he will return important favors for each of Odin’s godly champions.
Xt – Do you have a launch window, or rough ETA, in mind?
RM – Champions of Odin is being released as an Early Access title on Steam August 25th, with a full release on Xbox One & PC early 2018.
Xt – In terms of gameplay, what can players expect to be getting involved with, once the game arrives?
RM – The game is inspired by modern classics that focus on combat and death. So get ready for intense dungeon crawling and fearsome enemy encounters! Each type of enemy is unique and will force you to be creative with your spell casting and melee abilities. You have a plethora of magical abilities to fight the horde of giants, these include slowing down time, torching your enemies with fire, freezing enemies in place or summoning a powerful frost elemental to aid you in battle! Melee abilities are still in the development pipeline.
Xt – You say that the story and the theme of the game is based on Norse Mythology. What drove the decision to tie your game to that?
RM – I have always geeked out on Norse Mythology, I am attracted to the depth and darkness of a lot of the characters. I thought it would fit perfectly for the game because it has such a great variety of tales for me to pull from and make the storyline and quests super interesting. A big theme of this game is dealing with the loss of a loved one, which in real life would be permanent. However, in a mythological world it does not have to be permanent, and I thought this would be really exciting to explore!
Xt – The gameplay for Champions of Odin looks very Lichdom: Battlemage-esque. What would you say defines your game in comparison to other like-minded titles?
RM – I have not played Lichdom :) I mentioned this briefly before, but Champions of Odin will have melee abilities as well as magic, which will come later in the development pipeline. To put it very simply, my goal for Champions of Odin is to take all of the great things about these like-minded titles and shave off all of the bad stuff that we as gamers are sick of. I think when you combine that with unique & intuitive combat and a powerful story, Champions of Odin will stand in a league of it’s own.
Xt – Games like Champions of Odin offer up a decent degree of replay value, and with that in mind, how much longevity would you say your game offers up?
RM – The way I am developing the player abilities, I think replayability is only limited by the player’s imagination. For example, you will be able to pick your load out of abilities, and they range from magic, defensive or melee attacks. So as you unlock all of the abilities and mix and match your load out, the gameplay changes dramatically offering a lot of replayability.
Xt – Can we expect to see a broad range of different environments to take to?
RM – Absolutely! This is an area that I have been having a blast designing, because there are really cool environments in Norse Mythology. The 3 worlds I have planned, again to oversimplify, are a tropical world, an ice world and a fire world. Jotunheim, Niflheim and Muspelheim. The level that is on Steam Early access is from Jotunheim, homeland of the giants!
Xt – How many different protagonists / classes are you hoping to dish up for launch?
RM – In early development, I planned three classes. These were a magic class, a warrior class and a beastlord type class. This has been scrapped, and I have decided on a load out system that will allow you to mix and match whatever abilities you want. You basically have 7 skills you can use at one time, and you pick from your unlocked skill trees. You have two main attacks that have no mana or cooldown, and then you pick 5 specials that have very brief cooldowns. I want players to be able to experience every awesome ability of the game and have a great time experimenting!
Xt – How will players be progressing these characters through the story? New powers, new abilities, etc..
RM – As of right now your character does not level up like in other games. You will learn new abilities that tie into the storyline. Finding and retrieving Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, for example, unlocks that weapon for your load out. Each ability, whether magic or melee, progresses in a similar but specific way. I think this kind of character progression is much more interesting and satisfying than grinding for experience points.
Xt – Do you anticipate DLC?
RM – Yes! I would like to release more worlds from Norse Mythology as DLC in the future on Xbox and Steam.
Xt – In terms of difficulty, especially for a game like this, it’s important to find a challenging balance. If it’s too hard, the game becomes frustrating. If it’s too easy, they tend to feel repetitive. Would you say you’ve found a good balance that bolsters the overall experience?
RM – This is something I am very, very carefully studying. It is the biggest factor in my decision to release the game in Early Access, because it allows many people to playtest and give feedback on the game while it is in an early state of development. I have had streamers playtesting and so far this feedback from the community has been crucial. The AI for the game is still being developed and I think the game will be a bit harder towards release, but for now I think I have found a good sweet spot for players of different skill levels. There will be difficulty settings when the game is released which helps customize the players experience as well.
Thanks a heap for your time Raffaele. Readers, be sure to stick this one on your radar and ready up for when the game arrives in 2018.