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Tower copy

A Kickstarter for Masquerada? What’s this about?

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Hey everyone,

The team at Witching Hour is planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign this Thursday, 21st April!

Now a lot of you may be wondering – the game is supposed to be coming out this year, right? Why the blooming hell are we doing a Kickstarter to raise funds?

Please don’t be worried and think that we’ve done nothing for the last 2 years, or that the project has been mismanaged or sunk! That is the furthest thing from reality. We’ll be putting out a demo along with this Kickstarter to make sure you know it’s real.

To make things clear: If you’ve been with us at the convention circuit like the PAX shows, you would have heard us saying that we want to deliver the game this summer. Nothing has changed. In fact, we could release the game in about 3 weeks if we wanted.

But in 3 weeks, we won’t be delivering the game that fulfils the promise of the game we set out to build. We need a little bit more time (and therefore money) to keep the team together so we can put the perfect finishing touches.

Also, as an audience, you’re kind of used to seeing Kickstarters for projects that are just at the very beginning, at the concept stage. I’m certain you’ve also seen a whole bunch of Kickstarters you’ve given money to completely fail, or deliver a substandard product that didn’t follow through on the promises of the original campaign. Or better yet, they launch a second Kickstarter campaign to supplement the first.

So yes, we’re doing something a little different from the normal – but we hope that gives you more confidence to buy into a nearly finished product. We just need that little extra love to see this through to the satisfaction of everyone.

If you have any questions at all, hit us up on the Masquerada Facebook page!

Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion – on Steam this August!

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Hey everyone,

So this is a secret we’ve had to sit on for nearly a year, and it’s fine time we got this off our chests. Our very first game and our finest release, Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion, will finally head to Steam on August 6th. We couldn’t be prouder.

Head over to the official Steam page and add it to your wishlist! Pricing isn’t confirmed as of this writing, but we’re thinking about US$19.99 with a launch week discount.

We’ve dug in and made all the adjustments you’d expect of a proper PC port, but wait! There is (of course) exclusive content in the form of the Epilogue campaign, comprising 8 new missions that delve into the aftermath of the Scourge following the Empire’s fateful battles against the Kaysani at Lastwall. If you’ve played Ravenmark: Mercenaries, you’ll see a familiar face or three!

Our publishing partner for this release is none other than Slitherine Ltd, purveyor of fine strategy games for the truly dedicated wargamer. Hopefully, if things go well, you guys will see Mercenaries on PC as well in the future! If you’d like a little trivia – the genesis of this deal traces back to a clandestine meeting I had all the way up in Helsinki, Finland during a Pocket Gamer conference. It’s pretty cool to see how a quick conversation turns things into reality (albeit with lots of work along the way!).

PS: 4 months since my last post? It’s time to admit we’re bad at social media in general. Yup. *dusts off cobwebs* I promise a post regarding Masquerada very soon!

– Brian

EMBED WITH GAMES visits WHS!

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Welcome to 2015, friends!


We talk about how we’d like to see more politics in games. “Games are, at the end of the day, conflict,” Ian says. “And politics are also conflict. A lot of people say they don’t want politics in their games because they don’t want to take a position. Everything in a game comes from somewhere though – it’s fear of scrutiny.”

“They want only the politics they are familiar with,” Brian says.


 

Above is a swingin’ excerpt of some lovely writing by the intrepid Cara Ellison, the one-woman show behind EMBED WITH GAMES, a trans-metropolitan take on game criticism. After swinging by Japan, Cara stopped by our little island to spend some time with the Witching Hour team and meet many of the hardworking, quick-witted folk who make up the Singapore game development industry. We made sure she got a very informed earful into where Singapore game development is headed – not to mention many, many morsels of gastronomical Singaporean delights!

The team is toiling hard on a show-ready build of Masquerada: Songs and Shadows for PAX East, and we’ve got some big news waiting in the wings for our older games, so sit tight, folks! 2015 is going to be a kick-ass year for WHS.

Brian, out!

Inspiration

Damn Elves..

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So I was asked a series of questions about the background and inspiration for the nations of Eclisse over at the TA Forums and I thought t’would be good to share those answers here. Big thanks to Uberskooper for giving me the opportunity. =)

Uberskooper:

To start with, how did you come up with the background, story, and visual elements? I mentioned a long time ago that I think that you did a good job at staying away from Tolkien fantasy tropes that every fantasy setting now uses to ad nauseum. Your elves are short, feral, savage, and greedy. In terms of visual style, they remind me of American aboriginals and Japanese. Likewise, there isn’t a single dwarf with a long beard. Instead most of them sport mustaches and have a definite British/French aesthetic. Some of the other nations/cultures are less unique. The Kaysani are basically early modern Spain, Estellion is Rome with medieval weapons, and Esotre is an early industrial mix of Britain/France/Switzerland. I do love the Kaysani aesthetic though, golden armor against white robes. The sun banners on the backs of the important guys are also very cool. Can you reveal more about your thought process behind creating the different cultures and story?

Wow, yeah, I think that’s enough for a proper write-up. Lol.

The background is heavily steeped in a D&D campaign I use to run for my friends. I think what took me away from the Tolkien influence is the fact that I really hate elves, so I started switching things around. In my campaign, elves became the “goblinoid” race, while the actual goblins became the noble, clannish “dwarven” race. Which led me to civilising the dwarves. Goddamn, elves. =P

 

I think the credit for the visuals belong to my art team. Heya Hadrian, Darius, Xinwen, Peter! They really ran with it after I gave them the initial brief. I love history, so most of my briefs pointed towards certain points in history that had some parallels in the nations of Eclisse.

 

Estellion: The Empire was stretched out to the boundaries of conquest, so they started building walls. The thing about empires.. they need to keep conquering to survive. Their stagnation would result in decline.. much like the late Roman Empire. Estellion’s armour is based on the utilitarian Roman armour.. while it does look simple compared to other nations, it’s hugely believable that the Empire was churning out such equipment at a relentless pace. (My team would tell you that believability plays a huge part in my design direction.)

Kaysan: I liken the exile of the Carsis nobles and the subjugation of the elves to the Spanish conquistadors landing on the Americas and subjugating (albeit, only somewhat successfully) the Mesoamerican peoples. The elves of Kaysan are far more willing subjects.

I can’t pinpoint the exact reason I went with the Japanese aesthetic for the elves, but I do remember the Anime craze was annoying the crappers out of me at the time. I think my grandmother’s stories of the Japanese Occupation of Singapore played a part too. Horrid stuff.

Esotre: It’s a young, isolated nation that depends on technology to outperform its neighbours.. which depend on its holdings far away (Lyri) for natural resources. Sound familiar? Hah. Napoleonic Period England. How could I not tap on those dashing uniforms?

I do wish we could have done voice acting, then people could tell the difference between humans (French) and dwarves (British). I actually picked out accents for each region/nation.

(Ok, I also have to give this one to Bernard Cromwell. I -love- the Sharpe series and I’ve even had Brian pepper a few references in the script. Makes me smile when people notice.)

Don’t know if you guys wanna know about the minor nations, but they kinda go through the same process. Their individual histories had to somehow mold them into what they were. That’s my process, anyways.

Uberskooper:

In terms of the mechanics, how did you decide to make a turn-based medieval warfare game? To my knowledge, this is the only game that attempts to implement the limitations of a general that has to dispatch messengers and guys with flags everywhere. In almost every other game, the soldiers have a direct line to their leader all the time. You just have to point and click them in the right direction. The thing I love most about Ravenmark is that if you position your formations right, even crappier troops can beat superior ones if you outflank and gang up on them.

Mechanics-wise, it’s simple – Ravenmark was always meant to be a tabletop/board game. Lots of inspiration comes from giants such as Warhammer, De Bellis Antiquitatis. Some of these games had similar messenger/command system, but what really inspired me was the movie Gettysburg. You could tell how important information was at the time and how uninformed Command could be of the battlefield situation.