Developer: PixelCount Games
Release Date: 2018 (Early Access)
Check out our interview with Charlie Edwards, the designer at PixelCount Studios, who is working on the upcoming sandbox RPG life sim Kynseed:
How would you describe Kynseed to someone who had never heard of the game?
I would describe Kynseed as a quirky sandbox RPG adventure life sim. Which probably makes them none the wiser.
With similar games such as Stardew Valley soaring in popularity, it seems like Kynseed will certainly be welcomed with open arms. What would you say that Kynseed offers that makes it different to similar titles though?
We have features such as aging, and not just for the player. We have reactive NPC’s who remember things and have their own lives. We have a dark faery tale rather than a modern setting. We also have the ability to run various businesses…the farming is purely optional. You can just live your life and mess with the sandbox, be a monster hunter, nurture your family to succeed you or just travel the land as a bard. It’s up to you. We don’t tie the player to one specific role.
One of the big features of Kynseed is that the people you meet remember all of your actions, with everyone around you growing older and maintaining memories of your antics of yesteryear. How does this play a role in gameplay? Is it simply a case of NPCs sharing their memories with you, or can it have a big impact on how things play out?
The NPC’s will comment on you and your family and businesses. The reputation you gain can spread, attracting customers from far and wide and even beyond. Wrong them enough and they can launch a vendetta. On the other side of that scale, get them to love and adore you and you can get them to spill their secrets which will help you manipulate other people, monsters and so on.
Players seem to be able to do a myriad of things within the world of Kynseed – they can run their own businesses and live a quiet life, or even become adventurers and wander out into the unknown and take on an assortment of beasts. What sort of perils can players expect to get into out in the wild? Are there dungeons full of puzzles, or is it simply a case of finding and killing monsters?
There are a number of dark forests off The Path, and some caves and mines that the player can enter. Each is named by difficulty. There are a few ‘puzzles’ and mysterious places to find, but we won’t have the usual room by room filed with firetraps and spinning blades.
The monsters don’t have to be killed to get their goodies…you can farm the ingredients they protect or eat, gather their poo for fertiliser and so on. You can even just go prank them if you wish!
You’ve revealed that each character or monster around you will have a variety of different traits, with things like ‘allergies’, ‘shrinking’, ‘insomnia’, ‘flatulence’ and ‘luck’ playing a role in who exactly they are. How do these traits play a role in gameplay? I’m pretty intrigued to see what a monster with flatulence and shrinking would be like…
Each NPC and creature has Traits, and by finding out what they are you can manipulate them and have some fun (or help them!).
You could give the runs to a tough monster and make it leave an area briefly. You could get things to sleep so you can rob them blind. You can just have a laugh surrounding someone with an allergy to cats, with cats. Then sell them the cure for their rash.
Your workers may have narcolepsy and fall asleep in the shop. Or you could shrink yourself to enter new places…
The development team consists of members that worked at Lionhead Studios, which, as everyone knows, are famed for the sheer ambition and scope that their projects contained – you’ve only got to look at the Fable series to realise this.
Whilst the Fable series was superb though, a lot of the ideas that were initially mooted never really ended up playing too big of a role in the game. A lot of the aspects of Kynseed actually remind of the Fable series, both within the style of the game and its ambitious ideas. You grow old, you form relationships, you partake in adventures, you die, and your legacy is continued by your children. How do you plan to make all of these ideas worthwhile? What’s the incentive to carry on with you adventure for the second time and are you still able to change the world that your ancestors were already a part of?
The satisfaction will come from the growing of your family and businesses. Finding everything in the world plus striving to the ultimate goal.
There is a lot to collect, a lot to mess with, a lot to read, a lot to level up, a lot to own and build the rep of and a lot of info gathering. Then there’s the nurturing, story elements and sandbox possibilities.
I’ve seen that you’ve already changed some of your character art from what was initially shown off during the game’s reveal, so it’s clear that a lot of work is going into Kynseed. In my opinion, the game’s visuals already look fantastic (I’m a big fan of the art style), but can we expect to see a lot of changes to the art style of other areas of the game? Or is most of it set in stone by this point?
We have the style we want now….the only changes will be to make what we have look nicer by way of particles, shadows, getting the colour grading for day cycles right and things like the water movement.
You smashed through your initial Kickstarter goal by an extra £20,000, which is a pretty impressive amount of money. Whilst you obviously had stretch goals in place anyway, did the extra money change your outlook on development and how you approached it in any way? Did you anticipate the game being such a success on Kickstarter?
I personally thought we might fall short, but that’s because I don’t like to tempt fate.
We never expected to smash it like that so are very honoured and humbled that people shared our vision. Our mantra has always been to make what we have better with extra funding (by getting more help)…not make more, because we are pretty ambitious as is.
When can we expect to see Kynseed get released and on what platforms?
Still PC, and still aiming for 12 months after Early Access starts.
We absolutely ache to have a Switch version, but we owe our backers the version they backed for. If we get the funding and opportunity, then Switch is next priority, followed by PlayStation 4 then Xbox One.
Finally, can you tell us a neat fact about Kynseed that no-one outside of the development team knows?
It was originally going to be 3rd person, and had a team of 10 interested while it was still brewing at the start. Sadly we lost those people through job jitters and we had to be sensible about how to realise the gameplay and ambition, so went 2D.
The UE4 in-game shot looked fantastic though…save it for Kynseed 2: Electric Boogaloo.