I’m a Backer: Fargoal 2
Welcome loyal readers to another weekly installment of “I’m a backer!” I know you’ll all be pleased to know that since we last we spoke, both “Mars needs Mechanics” and “10,000 Hours” have made their goals and been funded successfully. I’m sure the trend will follow with today’s feature: “Sword of Fargoal 2.” This game is a sequel to a remake to a bona fide classic video game. The creator of this project, describes the original game as “an extremely popular “Roguelike” dungeon crawler game with random dungeon generation and tons of replayabily.”
In the interests of full disclosure, I have already made it clear that I am, shall we say – predisposed toward’s Roguelike games. With that in mind, by all means let’s dig right in.
When I reviewed FTL recently, I made it clear that my love affair with Roguelike’s has been a long one. Though I have played some of a similar vintage to the original Fargoal, such as Rogue on my Amiga when I was a child, and Alphaman on my 486 as a teenager, I confess that I have never played the original of this series. I have however played the remake on my iPhone, and I loved it.
The modern Sword of Fargoal, hits all the high notes you would expect from a Roguelike, with the twist being that the infinite dungeon has a bottom floor, and once you get there and retrieve the sword you have a limited amount of time to get back out, and the sequel promise’s more of the same. A year or two ago, I would have said that classic Roguelikes were a dead genre, ever since the success of Dungeons of Dreadmore, though – they are back with a vengeance. If you have an iPhone, and you really want to know whether you will like this game, you can get Sword of Fargoal right now for free at Apple’s app store. Try before you buy!
So the project is to create a game, which you either will or will not like. How about the project itself though?
I am pleased to report that the project is nothing less than I would expect from an industry veteran and obvious Kickstarter enthusiast. The page layout is professional and art heavy; in a perfectly logical order we read through reviews, the current game’s history and pedigree by way of a concise overview of its predecessors, and then we read about the game itself. It is at this point the sheer amount of features and art assets they throw your way convince you that the people behind Fargoal 2 know what they are doing, in fact, it is so much information that you begin to wonder why they don’t just release it now rather than Kickstart the thing.
There are also a lot of positive details that make me want to invest in this project. The reward structure is both good a logical, with something for everyone and more variety than I normally find in projects of this type. Though I think the 10k reward is unlikely to be claimed, the fact that it is THE sword of Fargoal is quite charming, and the Commodore 64 is a nice touch. Another stand out detail is the fact that the project’s creator is not just using Kickstarter, but is actually an invested and interested member of the community – he has been putting into the system since 2009, and backed over 30 projects to date.
After taking the time to write this review, I had a chance to ask the creators a couple of questions about this wonderful project:
When you are remaking a classic, how do you decide which features to keep, and which to update?
We’ve always taken an organic approach toward what to add and what to keep – not much has been taken away over the years. Fargoal, LLC co-owner Paul Pridham (who goes by Madgarden in the Indie Dev world) played the original Commodore 64 game as a kid, so his approach to the design and coding has been to keep the original spirit, but add subtle enhancements to each version. Sword of Fargoal 2 (http://far.gl/sof-ks — *support us*!!!) is the biggest leap forward. We’ve already spent over a year rebuilding it from the ground up: the monsters are now ‘smarter,’ the dungeon environment is much more varied and detailed, players will be able to explore more by doing side quests and solving puzzles,they can set up chain reactions by “tinkering” with traps, vials, explosions and the like, and finding their own way through the perilous underground labyrinth in ways we may not have even thought of yet.The same ‘retro’ look is still there, but everything about the game is set up to help you to form your own story in a much more vivid way. Fargoal has always been all about you forming your own story. We do have a Fargoal legend, but it is just as easy to simply jump right into the game and start exploring. Plus, we’ve enhanced the capturing of your story with “Action Cards,” which are new to Sword of Fargoal 2. You will be able to save and re-watch your quest through a sequence of cards you get while playing the game that capture your key moments — much like a slide show.
Why make a sequel rather than develop new IP?
There is a lot of room for Sword of Fargoal to evolve; we haven’t talked about this very much in the press, but if we can justify creating it, we’ve always wanted to so the “second half” of the Sword of Fargoal story. We’d love to explore the Great Forrest Lands a couple of hundred miles from the dungeon itself! After all, it is because the Sword was taken from the Great Forest and hidden deep within the magical dungeon that the lands are being lorded over by the evil wizard Umla in the first place!
This game has a lot of new features over its predecessors – what single update is the biggest improvement in your mind?
It is hard to put my finger on one specific element, because the game is so broad and deep. If pressed though, I’d say that the interactions with the monsters when you are trying to avoid, pursue, outsmart, or battle them. Many of the more intelligent, or “human-like” foes will be able to do the same things as the Hero — casting spells, setting or disarming traps, avoiding pitfalls, etc. Paul has said we might add “pets” — either by taming specific monster types or possibly us adding something new. Imagine having a “pet troll” to help you do some of your dirty work. (though I have to be careful what I say lest Paul set a acid flask trap for me in a barrel for promising a feature not yet planned on).
A lot of your stretch goals seem straightforward, but I have to ask. Why $87,000 for the second goal? Why not $85,000 or $90,000?
No particular reason. When we did the calculation for what it would take to accomplish the balance of our #1 priority: New game content — with fun things like “plushies,” we have to account for where the money will be devoted. The key fact though is that all the money we are supported (that isn’t going toward the specific reward costs) with will go directly into making the game much richer and more fun!
Any more hints about project X? Will we be seeing a Kickstarter project for this in the future if you fund at a lower level?
Suffice it to say, that super secret “Project X” is cool enough and a big enough. Whole Kickstarter campaigns are set up around this sort of thing. If your readers decide to, they can re-watch the video for a hint as to what the project is. It is something that we have been thinking about and working on for some time.If we don’t reach that stretch-goal (which we realize we may very well not), we have set the $75 DARK WARRIOR level such that backers at that $75 level will automatically be upgraded to the $100 level and get the rewards at that level instead! So really, if you were wanting the $100 level rewards and also thought supporting an unnamed super secret “Project X” might be cool to do — or better yet if you think you might know what it is! — then supporting at that level and being upgraded at no extra cost would not be a bad strategy…