Recently I spoke with Felix Laukel, developer for Of Blades & Tails.
What is the background and setting for the game?
The plot takes place in a future where humans have disappeared from Earth and magic has returned. Animals have taken on human-like features and established a society and technological progress that is close to the European medieval era.
At the same time, the emergence of voracious and sometimes magic-gifted insectoid creatures is causing increasing concern among the animal tribes…
The lore is loosely inspired by the 90s classic adventure game Inherit the Earth.
What are some of the classes in the game and their abilities?
There aren’t really classes, as much as there’s multiple specialized skill paths. Each scales with different combination of attributes and provides better bonuses, abilities and skills, the further you invest points into it. There’s also special skills that need to be taught specifically by someone/something in the world. As for the types of skills? We’ve got unarmed, one-handed, two-handed, ranged, different types of magic.. And that’s just the offense-focused ones! There’s shields, athletics, underhanded tactics and much more to discover.
How is level progression handled?
Upon reaching a new level, our character gains both a skill point and an attribute point. This allows to upgrade their base stats, as well as invest in one of the multitude of skill progression paths. Additionally, levelling up influences the level of equipment pieces that may drop from defeated foes.
How much character customization will there be?
The main player character can be customized in a couple of distinct ways. First, we have their base attributes, which provide passive bonuses and weapon/skill scaling. Then, we have skills, perks and abilities, which can raise our effectiveness in combat, as well as provide us with many useful tools, techniques, tricks and spells to shape the battles to our preferences. All and any of those will also be able to be reset and distributed anew, for a price. Finally, we have gear and equipment. Aside from a minor graphical change based on what the character is wearing, pieces of equipment will boost our attributes, provide useful bonuses and multipliers to stats and sometimes enable us to benefit from unique special effects. The pieces of equipment can be further augmented by raising their level to make their performance keep up with ours. Our character can also get an exploration/traversal tool fairly early on, provided we’re able to find it.
What are some of the weapons in the game and how is loot gathering handled?
Usually, equipment has a chance to drop from defeated foes. You can also find some useful gear in any crates or treasure chests you happen to stumble upon. Trading with smiths and merchants is also an option. Types of equipment you may find vary. They’re usually divided by rarity, going from common to epic, and often have pre- and suffixes that modify the bonuses you obtain upon equipping an item. There’s also legendary items hidden around the world… and often guarded.
How did you manage to play-balance the different classes in the game?
Since there are no fixed classes I usually try different builds, that focus on one or two weapon types and see if certain encounters can be done with them. It should be possible to beat the game with each weapon type but of course some of them will play more demanding than others in certain situations. However, it’s completely up to the player to combine skills and weapons the way they want.
How large can a party be online and will there be cross-play?
The game is single-player without any planned online features. This might of course change at some point.
Why is there not a playstation version and might we see one in the future?
Together with my publisher, we’d love to release Of Blades & Tails on PS4/5 as well, but we can’t promise that at the moment. It’s in our plans though and we’ll announce the title for PS4/5 as soon as we’re sure that we can keep such a promise to the players.
What were the biggest challenges with the game and the greatest triumphs?
Adding environmental effects and possible chain reactions to the turn-based system of the game proved to be a challenge. Not something that I’ve seen coming when I thought “Oh hey, let’s add explosive stuff around the world and let them explode when you kick an enemy into them…”. Several issues popped up over the next weeks, but it was a good chance of battle testing the turn-based combat system.
What can you tell us about the music in the game?
The music selection earned a lot of positive feedback from people that played the demo!
When I started with the game I had no budget for a composer so I searched through various sources of royalty free music and actually found a lot of appealing tracks! Each track and composer is mentioned in the credits.
What is the plan for expansion and future content?
At the moment there are no plans beyond the 1.0 launch of the game. I want it to be a great and complete experience. So I’d support the base game much longer and add more content to it rather than separating it with DLCs.