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Legends of Aethereus Confirms Linux Version of Action RPG on Kickstarter - Interview

ThreeGates, the Swedish game company is keen

to support the Linux Community

“After looking into Unity 4.0 and running some test builds on the 4.0 Beta, ThreeGates is proud to announce that we will be able to provide a Linux version Legends of Aethereus”, said Don Geyer, CEO of ThreeGates.

ThreeGates Studios was formed to focus on developing great games for core PC gamers. They believe the core PC Gaming audience is really hungry for a game that can deliver a deep experience, interesting choices, and more control over how you look as an individual, as well as how you play the game. While being committed to delivering quality games that include these elements.

This shows quite clearly in their recent Kickstarter update:
In our opinion the Linux Community has been somewhat forgotten by game developers despite its growing popularity. We also believe that Linux users will enjoy the game play style in Legends of Aethereus. Since our aim is to make a product for core gamers we felt it is very important to cater to the Linux Community since such a high percent have the same philosophy as ThreeGates. Nothing could make us happier than to provide a great game for the Linux Community.

We will support both 32bit and 64bit systems, Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) and higher. Everything seems to indicate the game will run great on Linux and we can’t wait to get it out there so the Linux Community can enjoy the game."

Recently, I was fortunate enough to have the chance to speak with Legends of Aethereus CEO, Don Geyer. Having the chance to discuss the game’s origins, development team, the Linux port, and the future of crowd-funding in the video game industry.

So to start things off, could you tell me a little bit about how the idea for Legends of Aethereus originated. Why choose Kickstarter?

The idea of Legends of Aethereus came about because we really felt like the core gamers that enjoyed complexity, diversity, and creativity within game play styles had been forgotten. We felt like there was a large audience of gamers out there who wanted to play a game with more combat control and the ability to develop diverse strategies within a game.

Can you tell me a little bit about who is on this project and what they’ll be doing? How did you get everyone involved?

ThreeGates is an Independent Game studio formed in 2010 by a group of people who all have years of experience in the game industry. So we have over twenty people working full time on the project for over a year now. Everybody in the group joined because they wanted to be part of creating a game that was focused on core gamers.

Did the team decide on the Unity engine? What impact has the recent Linux support had on development?

We chose the Unity3D Engine because we felt it had the largest living community and was progressing faster than any of the other choices out there. We feel Unity3D is the future of Game Engines. We are very excited about Linux support, mainly due to the fact that most Linux users are very aligned with the same philosophies we chose to design Legends of Aethereus. The Linux community is active and passionate, that is just the kind of interaction we are looking for with Legends of Aethereus. We want to adapt, iterate and add features to LoA with an active, technically savvy, and living community.

What features are you keen to include that haven’t been done in the industry? How will this game be different with all the changes in technology?

Well in short our feeling is that games have just been numbed down. Some examples are: Auto-Aim, lack of Character attributes selection freedom, and diminishing choices in skill trees. We want to build more of an open system that allows the players to be creative, developing their own strategies and solutions. For us this is a more challenging and meaningful gaming experience than simply following a linear predefined line.

Do you think the nature and mechanics of storytelling in games has changed in the past years and your current project? How can games convey that in ways that other mediums, or perhaps even older games, cannot?

There is definitely the possibility now to create more complex, personalized, and free flowing narratives now than ever before. This is due to technical advancements and computing power. Procedurally created content (story trees) allow for new levels of variation and customization. I think all serious game developers are looking to see how to use these powerful new systems and enhance the players experience.

Now gamers are also investors in a very real sense. How does that change expectations for developers and specifically, what sort of challenges do you think this raises for Legends of Aethereus?

ThreeGates is looking for a healthy relationship with several contact points to the gaming community. Gamers now have the ability to invest their money as well as their time in a game. Either way, we feel that gamers have always invested a lot in games. We are looking forward to a new paradigm with better and quicker communication between, “gamer and developer”. Gamers should decide the next new: feature, dlc, add-on… Not some corporate marketing department.

The main challenge is to get these channels of communication open so that gamers know we exist and so that we can deliver a game with the features that the community is looking for.

Where does the developer leave off and the fan begin? Overall, do you think this level of feedback and collaboration is healthy for the industry?

In short, yes! We have the highest level of admiration for developers that embrace their communities and cater to them. Tripwire Interactive and Mojang AB are obviously two very successful examples. We strongly believe this is the future of gaming and it is also the most enjoyable approach for both developers and gamers.



With a lot of gamers feeling burned by pre-orders for games that were ultimately unsatisfying and a lot of people saying gamers should quit making pre-orders. Kickstarter is the ultimate pre-order system, with fans paying for games that aren’t even in development yet. Do you think gamers have cause for concern, or does this new crowd-funding model actually represent a net benefit for gamers?

There are always risks and difficulties involved in a new system. But the overall idea and philosophy behind Kickstarter is an empowering one for gamers and consumers in general. Personally I would rather share the risk with a passionate developer in the trenches than send a pre-order to the 15th version of a watered-down sequel.

Publishers stabilize risk and deliver a higher probability of success than the crowd funding model. I do not think crowd funding will replace the publishers, but they will probably take a chunk of their market share over time. The two systems work well together and my guess is the next Civilization, Guitar Hero or Minecraft type of hit will probably come from crowd funding, not the traditional method.

What sort of time table does the game have? How do you think the funding might affect the development process itself?

Our goal is to deliver the game at the latest, in Q3 of this year. The game is running great but we need to polish a few things to get it to the point where our core testers love it. Once that is accomplished we feel very confident to release the game on full scale. Honestly what the funding does is keep us focused on the game. We have dedicated professionals that believe in this title, sacrificing everything to make it happen. Nonetheless, rent needs to be paid and it’s always better to concentrate with a little food in your belly. So the funding helps support the team so they can be 100% focused on the goal of finishing the game.

So what’s your big hope for this game? And do you think this might be a model the team will follow again with future titles?

Our hope is that this game puts a smile on people’s faces and gives them something to look forward to as they go about their day. That it creates a platform for gamers to explore, create, communicate, and most of all have fun.

The model of future game development is changing rapidly so that is tough one. I will say that it was an honor to work with this team and I think we will stick to the philosophy of developing titles with community influence and communication. How exactly that will evolve in the next few years is hard to say but I think we are all looking forward to it. :)

Thank you for taking the time to speak with Linux Game News. We all wish you the best in the Legends of Aethereus Kickstarter campaign.
I would also like to personally thank Sean Kauppinen for all your help and support. Again, all the best to the ThreeGates Studios team.




by

Todd B..
Linux Game News
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