I have something new for you this week. I have asked questions about the story of Overfall to our awesome writers Selin and Kaan that i tought you might want to know, and actually i also really want to know.
So, let’s get to it!
If someone would come from another world and stole your favourite item, would you follow them through the portal to get it back?
Selin: I’d rather summon heroes to fetch it for me!
Kaan: If I had the Berserker as my companion, then yes! (Or maybe the Crypt Raider.)
You gave life to many companion characters. Which one would you want in your life as a friend?
Selin: Raindancer can be a useful friend during summer heat waves! Other than her, Riftstalker looks badass. I’d love to hang out with her.
Kaan: If I were being selfish, I’d pick the Oracle – she may not really be able to tell the future, but she’d know what to say to make me feel better!
What can you say about race relations in world of Overfall? Are Overfall’s people racist?
Selin: Most of them are racist, yes; but contrary to the racism in real world, Overfall’s people don’t form an opinion of you depending on your race, but your actions. You can be admired or hated, and that doesn’t have anything to do with you being a human. There might be some cases of prejudice, and some hostile people, but like in real life, these are individuals who don’t speak for their entire faction.
Kaan: Most of the people and characters in Overfall are racist in some way, it’s true, but not entirely without reason. The world of Dys is composed entirely of islands (as far as we know), which means most communities live in isolation and don’t get many visitors. Most of what they know comes from rumors and tall tales. It’s unfair, but it’s understandable that you’d be suspicious and frightened of outsiders in a world like that.
It’s worth noting that there are many instances in Overfall of people who live with, learn from, and even risk their lives for those of other races. Race isn’t the final determining factor of what kind of person you are. In that regard, the world of Overfall is much less racist than, say, Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, where people are more or less locked into a worldview based on their heritage.
If you were sailing in Overfall’s world, which ship would you be in and which island you would never approach in your journey?
Selin: I’d love to travel around with Dwarfs. They know their ale well, and are delightful storytellers. However, I’d avoid going to their homelands, the volcanic islands. Not a pleasant place to be.
Kaan: I’d sail in a Goblin ship. Goblins aren’t all that pretty, but they’re very polite, even when they’re trying to kill you. And a Goblin ship is bound to have some interesting gadgets on it, like an automated kettle or something.
I’d stay far, far away from the desert islands. When it’s too cold outside, you can always put on another layer of clothing, but what are you gonna do when it’s too hot? There’s only so many clothes you can take off!
How did the world of Overfall change since you joined the team? Try to avoid spoilers as much as possible, please.
Selin: I joined the team at a stage when the only things made certain was the art style and core mechanics. We had the characters, we had a main objective and a combat system, but there was no background story, no world lore that connected the characters to the plot or even to each other. The races didn’t have any in depth context that separates them, other than their appereances. My first priority was to take what we had at the moment, and create links between them so that everything was in the game for a “purpose” and they all served your cause in a meaningful way. I didn’t want to leave any coincidences or plot holes where the player doesn’t have the necessary explanation or motivation to do something in the game. Now every element in the game makes perfect sense, our universe has a rich history to uncover and characters with unique behaviours. So, to answer your question, a LOT changed!
Kaan: When I joined the team, Overfall was a fairly straightforward game in the mould of a high-fantasy rendition of FTL: Faster Than Light. The turn-based combat system and basic visual style had been decided upon and were more or less settled, but the game had next to no story beyond the basic premise of “get to the Citadel from the Portal with the bad guys chasing you.”
My main job was one of world building: taking the basic premise and the high-fantasy aesthetic favored by the development team and weaving them into a setting with a consistent history and tone. This involved fleshing out the outlooks of each race and their shared history and thinking through the underlying laws of nature that allowed for certain game mechanics. In particular I wanted to create a world which could make a degree of sense in the context of the roguelike metagame – but to go any further on that would be getting into spoiler territory…
In summary, the game had a definite feel to it before I joined, and my job since then has been to fill in the details that support that feel.
And finally, from a player perspective, what stands out in Overfall’s story compared to other similar games? And of course, are there anything you wish to add?
Selin: Our game’s universe is full of secrets and surprises. The main story has many plot twists, and it keeps evolving even after you finish the game for the first time. And that’s all I’m going to say! 🙂
Kaan: That depends on what you’d define as a similar game! What appeals to me about Overfall’s story is that it rewards you based on your level of interest. If you’re only in it for the challenge, you can play through it as a flavor-heavy combat game. If you want the feeling of an adventure – i.e. getting yourself into trouble and meeting colorful characters – you can do that too. And if you want to dig a bit deeper at the hidden history of the world, there’s room for that as well.
There is an overarching narrative that guides the underlying logic of the game, but the individual encounters are just as important, if not even more so. I wanted to leave room for Selin and myself to write loads of fun, quirky encounters that would fit with the spontaneous nature of a roguelike. So the story experience isn’t just about saving the world and watching the dramatic cutscenes, it’s also about meeting a drama-queen Gladiator, or going to see an Orcish performing troupe, or finding a bottle floating on the ocean carrying a love letter.
Like the gameplay, the story is first and foremost about having fun.
Being such a big part of a game’s story design is a terrifying job, but it’s also just about the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I hope you’ll have as much fun playing it as we did writing it!
The best part of asking questions to our writers is the fun, creative answers. I hope you guys enjoyed this little questionnaire as much as i did.
What do you want to know about Overfall? Do you have any more questions that you want to ask to anyone? Let me know in the comments below, please!