Recently, there have been some hot discussions in the forum about if the sequel of Lords of Xulima would be more casual to attract more potential buyers or more hardcore to please the old-school fans. So we would like to talk about this topic and clarify this aspect before the rivers of blood flood the forum. ;)
First, don't confuse Accessible with Casual
A game can be more casual or more hardcore independently of their accessibility level. Lords of Xulima is big, challenging and deep, with lots of mechanisms and possibilities but, it is very accessible. It is very easy and simple to play (move the avatar, talk with NPCs, disarm traps, level up, combat...). We dedicated a lot of work to achieve that level of simplicity of playing. On contrast, old-school games seemed much more hardcore than they actually were because of their obscure and awkward interfaces.
We will always try to make the games as accessible as possible so any player can play it, but with the same level of challenge and depth as they were originally designed.
Was Lords of Xulima casual or hardcore?
Of course, we would never say it is a casual game but it was also not designed as a hardcore one. We wanted to align it to the feel of the old-school games like Wizardy 7, Might and Magic, Ultima... Were those hardcore games? We wouldn’t say that. They were challenging. There was no hand holding, no tutorial, not linear, and they were complex and deep, but they were not hardcore at all. For us, a hardcore game is one that is mainly designed to challenge the player and always try to make him fail so only players with a lot of experience and a lot of understanding of the game mechanics can advance and overcome those challenges. That is what happens in most roguelikes or others like Dark Souls.
Lords of Xulima was designed and balanced to make the best experience possible for the Old-School difficulty mode. Then, we created two more modes as variations of the main mode:
- Normal: It represent a much lower challenge. It is perfect for people that prefer a much straightforward adventure and enjoys the game without needing to worry too much about game mechanisms.
- Hardcore: Just the opposite. The game parameters are modified to be much more difficult. Players should have a stronger understanding of the game, optimizing their party and way of playing to advance in the game. This is especially true if they active the Ironman Mode where they cannot save outside the towns.
We think it worked very well for most players. And for those that choose the hardest settings, the game rewards them with a better score (and also achievements and leaderboard position) that is impossible to achieve in lower difficulty modes.
So how will the sequel be?
Let’s just say that in Numantian Games, we will always focus on creating deep and challenging games. It is our seal and always will be. So, of course, it won't be a casual game and it won't have casual options to disable mechanisms of the game. We will use the same method for casual players: a low difficulty mode, but they will have to play the same game with the same mechanisms (food, traps, encounters...) as any other player.
Indeed, the game will be even more challenging, more open, with more depth, more options to evolve the party, and many more secrets. There will be a special ending that will be a truly hardcore experience ;) and more special rewards for the higher difficulties.
Also, we are thinking of making the Ironman mode setting as mandatory or at least implement new features to prevent save-scumming as much as possible. But don't worry!, it will always be implemented in a fair way.
What do you think? As always, you are invited to leave your feedback here.
See you soon!