Hello Prodigy backers!
Things have gone incredibly well and we are very motivated by the positive feedback we have received and the support that you have showed. To say that things went quicker than we anticipated is an understatement, and with the whirlwind of things that happened since we launched last week we feel there a number of topics we should address for our community.
So here’s a more extensive update – please read it through and let us know what you think on the comments of the update, or (even better) on our forums.
First of all:
We’re currently working on a detailed description of each Company’s gameplay so you can choose your Faction more easily. We plan to have this update ready to post tomorrow.
We’ve gotten a lot of requests for additional sets of board and Arcana cards so you can play with a friend or family member. These are now available as an add-on.
You’ve also asked for a pledge for two starter sets (with 2 boards, 2 sets of Arcana cards, 2 Companies, and 2 Symbols of Power). We are working on it and it should be available as a reward shortly.
A few backers have asked for a way to pay via PayPal: we are working on it, but it is a bit tricky so we cannot anticipate when it will be available. Rest assured that we will make it available - we hear you!
Now for the update itself :)
What we’ve presented so far is a prototype; we’ve done our best to minimize the costs for our backers and we’re looking forward to hearing what you’d like for stretch goals - AND of course a big thank you to all of you who’ve supported us so far! We hope some of you will come to meet the team and check out the board and figurines this weekend in booth #188 at PAX East. :)
At the end of this update, find more about our gameplay and about a project we love!
We are at prototype stage / This isn’t even an Alpha yet
When we put our Kickstarter campaign together, we wanted to showcase our vision for Prodigy and the quality we’re aiming for. We spent a lot of time and effort to make figurines that Jean Bey is completely happy with and technology we're satisfied with. We met with lots of press and they played with our current prototype, as we knew this would be the best way to get the word out that what we are building is real.
That being said, we want to emphasize that what we have at the moment is just a prototype. Prodigy’s concept is new on a number of levels, and we needed to prove that our vision was feasible. The prototype is playable. You can get into the game and face another player, move the figurines around the playing field, use the Arcana cards to perform different actions and eventually win or lose.
But the main reason we went to Kickstarter is because what we’re building is very new. We want you to play the whole game with the board, just using the figurines, the Symbol of Power and the Arcana cards. We have a lot of designs already, but they aren’t playable just yet. To make the best game possible, we need to have real players start early on so we can get proper feedback from outside of the studio.
The main purpose of the Kickstarter is to start building a community and recruit our very first Alpha players. We also purposefully designed the campaign to allow for backers who couldn’t afford to be Alpha Founders to still be able to get some cool rewards and give their feedback on what we talk about. We know that not everyone can afford to be in the Alpha, but if they like our concept and invest in the Kickstarter, we also want their feedback.
All this to say that we’ve seen a lot of questions about how the game plays. We have answers to most of those questions, and we will answer them as best we can. We also saw questions about gameplay elements that, in all honesty, we are still working on or thinking about. We have a number of ambitions for those – but we would rather test out our design before committing to it.
We’ve added details on game mechanisms on the main page, but we just want to restate that Prodigy’s gameplay is still a prototype and we are still months away from being ready for the Alpha Founders to play. Prodigy is very innovative and complex and it will take time to get everything in. We look forward to being able to release more information about the gameplay as it develops.
(As an example, we are working on an active turn-based system in which both players play at the same time - but we have not done the actual development yet.)
Some backers have asked about the price of the game. We’ll be honest, the board is very expensive for us to make. It’s nothing like Skylanders’ portal (our board has 12 NFC detectors!), and was very complex to create - we even earned a Creation and Development of Innovative Technologies award in the process (a French prize awarded by the minister of higher education and research). We have been working on the board for almost 3 years. The quality of the figurines themselves is extremely high, as you can see from the photos.
We are still an indie studio, and we can’t do any economies of scale like big game companies can. We did our best to minimize the prices for the Kickstarter and keep them low for our backers.
You want more Rewards
We have seen in the comments that, as backers, you want more types of rewards. When we put our campaign together, we added exclusive Kickstarter editions of the Guardians to reward our first backers with a limited item. We also added a number of things that would show the world that you were a backer, like the special FX when your characters enter the game and unique mana color.
A number of you are board gamers and board game projects tend to add a lot of “special extras” to their campaigns. For us though, anything we add needs to be created in both the physical world and the digital world. Besides the figurine, we need to animate them, create their related storyline and quests and skills, create sound effects, and so on. Adding extras is not an insignificant task. But, we want to make our backers happy and this leads us to the next part:
We are incredibly happy to have reached our funding goal over the weekend. We had a few stretch goals set aside just in case, but we were a bit taken by surprise by how fast it all went and maybe we jumped the gun with the first stretch goal. Some of our backers have expressed understandable concerns about the imbalance of adding an extra character to just one Faction. Our next stretch goal was a character for the Free People...
We say "was" because we also found that our stretch goal (while we personally love it) didn’t get the reaction we hoped for from our backers. It’s not like anyone said it was lame – but it didn’t seem to be especially motivating. We are still new to Kickstarter so we hope you will bear with us as we work to make the Prodigy campaign awesome. :)
We’re now considering going back to our plan to change what we will offer for the stretch goal and instead do something to add value to everyone at their current pledge level (an extra game mode most probably). It could increase the current stretch goal threshold though, so we would need to make that change quickly. What do you think? Please let us know in the Kickstarter comments or on our forums!
We need your help
The more successful the Prodigy campaign is, the better it will be for the game. Every campaign on Kickstarter says so, but it is so very true. Helping is very easy – just think about 2 friends of yours you think would like our crazy idea, share it with them, and tell them that even a $1 pledge helps make Prodigy a reality.
We hope this update has helped explain a bit more of where we’re coming from. We worked very hard to build our vision and we are very excited about sharing it with the world. Now you have seen it, have let us know you like it and have asked for even more. It’s incredibly motivating to see this reaction. Thank you so much!
More on Prodigy's Gameplay
Finally, on your numerous questions about the game’s current state (what of the solo campaign, what of the multiplayer, what of the story, the controls, the map, everything?): Prodigy is still in development - please keep in mind that this Kickstarter is a way for us to reach out to you, get your feedback, and make the game better. Prodigy is pioneering a new way to play and we do not want to develop it without the input of our Alpha Founders and backers.
What does the combat system look like?
You can find an overview of the combat system on the main page of our Kickstarter campaign. We will go into more detail in an upcoming video. You will also be able to watch a live Twitch session during PAX East (April 12th, from 2:30-3:00PM Eastern).
Here’s what we plan for the combat gameplay:- Victory: you have to kill specific characters of your opponent, depending on your game mode
- Initiative (which character plays when): this depends on the order in which you placed your characters at the beginning of the fight
- Mana: you’ll get additional Mana each time the Guardian plays
- Number of characters involved in a fight: between 3 and 12. If you play with fewer characters, you’ll get more Mana and thus more opportunities to cast special moves (as your Guardian will play more often). If you play with a lot of characters, your Health Pool will be much bigger.
How do characters evolve ?
During the game, your characters gains experience points and levels. They progress during both solo quests and multiplayer fights.
Each character has his own progress tree. The player will unlock the specific skills, statistics and items of the character by placing Perk Points (points gained through leveling up) in his progress tree.
It’s impossible for a character to fill entirely his progress tree, so each of your choices is very important and makes your character really unique.
Finally, the progression curve is more horizontal than vertical. When you level up your characters, they will unlock new skills. They won’t necessarily be more powerful (in terms of HP / damage / etc.), but they will get new balanced tactical opportunities.
If you read this far, are still paying attention to these words and are already attending PAX East this weekend, send us a message here on Kickstarter and let us know which day you're coming. The first 10 backers to send a message will be invited to play the prototype at our booth (limited appointments are available - we'll do our best to get you in).
This system has three different points:
- The progression is directly linked to each character. It is not a generic system.
- A high level character won’t crush a newbie, but he will have a broader panel of tactical options.
- Your character’s progression reflects your choices. The figurine of your character has a unique tag, a memory which stores its unique experience and story. Your character is your own.
Can I equip items?
Each character has his own pieces of equipment, unlockable in the progress tree.
We want each digital character to look like its figurine. So, some characters will be able to unlock more equipment while other will just have access to a few (for example: Toboro won’t have a lot of different items; Elae will have more stuff).
This update is already quite long - we’ll tell you more about the game modes, world map and dialogues tomorrow, along with more details on the gameplay of each company.
Thank you for reading this far! Look for the next update tomorrow!
Speaking of tactical games, there’s a Kickstarter project we really love: Duelyst, a tactical turn-based strategy game, brought to you by veteran developers and creators from Diablo III, Rogue Legacy and the Ratchet & Clank series.
Just look at it. The pixel art is insane! (It's made by Glauber Kotaki, aka unseven or 7even if you know the guy.) They have a ton of characters and skills, deep gameplay and awesome music. If that wasn't enough for you, they offer two awesome 75mm collector minis ;)
Their campaign ends very soon, so be sure to check them out here: Duelyst.