One of the new games that managed to get some positive attention and traction from gamers on Steam Greenlight is Faux-Operative Games’ Ruin of the Reckless. The title is an isometric, action-packed, hardcore roguelike that features a two-player cooperative option along with multiple floors with various enemies to overcome and a diverse range of weapons and gear to outfit your character with.
I had an opportunity to bounce some questions off of Charles Webb and Daniel Crockenberg from Faux-Operative games regarding Ruin of the Reckless and they offered some insight into the design of the game mechanics, the combat, dealing with the press, getting through Steam Greenlight, as well as the road ahead. You can check out the Q&A below.
OAG: I imagine there’s going to be a lot of comparisons of Ruin of the Reckless from the gaming community to Heart Machine’s Hyper Light Drifter. Were you going for a similar theme with the game? And how do you feel about those comparisons?
Faux-Operation Games: Well, I can’t actually remember if Hyper Light Drifter had been announced when we first started but a few months in it certainly had been and as we were putting together the aesthetic… of course we had Hyper Light Drifter in the back of our minds.
At the end of the day, we went to our artist at the time (John Sandoval) and we told him ‘we’re not artists, but we LOVE your art, we want you to determine the aesthetic.’ We worked with him to find a style that worked, but I think it’s clear that Hyper Light Drifter had an influence on his designs.
As far as comparisons to Hyper Light Drifter, we are of course happy to be compared to probably the most beautiful indie title ever made, but I should mention that, game play wise, we couldn’t be more different. As far as Nuclear Throne goes… Vlambeer is also one of our big influences, and we have really pored over a lot of their design talks. We feel honored to draw comparisons to those titles.
OAG: In the trailer on Greenlight we see a mix of projectile attacks, magic spells and melee skills on display. It’s mentioned on the Greenlight page that players will have an option of wielding two weapons at a time. Are magic spells separate weapons or does each spell count as a single weapon? Is it possible to mix and match different spells, cards and orbs or are there limitations?
FOG: The way it works currently, is that players carry a primary weapon which comes from finding items in the tower. Your secondary weapon can come in a few different flavors (currently a charge up dash attack, a gust or a grappling hook.) and the secondary weapon comes when you level up using certain orbs.
Spells come from spellbooks, which are pretty high value items and have limited charges so think of spells more like ‘special attacks.’ you can charge them up to do crazy stuff, but then you can’t use them nearly as often.
So yes, you can end up with a specific weapon, secondary weapon, and any combination of level up abilities from orbs and a spell (as long as you can find them all.)
There are also consumable items and all of that good stuff. Every thing is tied to the way the level up/orb system works, so feel free to check out our blog post on the subject [ at the official website ]
OAG: It’s mentioned on the Greenlight page that the game will ship with at least a two-player co-op mode. Are there any plans on the roadmap to possibly include an option for four players, or has the game been designed primarily for two-player co-op?
FOG: Well, four player co-op is really hard to make work in the tower, mainly just because the game is so fast that it gets too crazy for all players to track visually. We really want to include a four player versus mode… and in fact that is what the game was like in its earliest prototype form. Unfortunately, we need to spend our resources very carefully, so whether something like that is possible will be up to the community response.
OAG: How many stages will there be in total? Or more accurately, what’s the general play-length for the game going to be?
FOG: Well, the game is a rogue-like, so our expectation is that players will take quite a few runs to make it to the top and get their wish granted. The tower will have 15- 20 floors and we expect that a full successful run shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes or so. That might seem short to those unfamiliar with rogue-likes, but keep in mind that a successful run of Nuclear Throne only takes around 20 minutes, and who knows how much time we’ve all sunk in to that game.
OAG: Will there be bosses?
FOG: Yes, right now we expect to have two bosses. These will generally follow the same rules as normal enemies, so we don’t have these giant set piece bosses that take up the whole room.
OAG: And what can gamers expect from them?
FOG: They will be more like ‘Dark Souls’ bosses, like the Knights of the Abyss for those that played Dark Souls III. Defeating each of these bosses will be a big mile stone, and we have some special cards planned to reward players for their trouble. There are also a few boss style challenge moments, like the elevator sequence included in the trailer, that I think people will be excited to check out.
OAG: Being indie in today’s industry seems like a blessing and a curse. While you don’t have to worry about the studio heads looming over your shoulder or enforcing content into the game (or out of it) based on focus group testing and market appeal, there is the issue of trying to get eyes on your game or the attention of press in order to have some kind of an install base present when the game launches… or just getting eyes on the Greenlight page. How challenging has it been trying to get the media’s attention for Ruin of the Reckless?
FOG: Well, I’ll tell you, it isn’t ‘easy’ to get media attention for any one except huge studios like Vlambeer. We worked really hard to get social media attention for our launch and I think it went really well, we have a whole in depth analysis of it on our blog at http://ruinofthereckless.com/ruin-of-the-reckless-6-what-just-happened-on-steam-greenlight/
I sent personalized e-mails to about 100 journalists and we actually got three replies. I know of at least one very talented dev that sent out 400 e-mails and got 2 replies… so I think we did pretty well. Overall, I wish we had known more journalists before we started so we could have gotten more press, but the attention on the Greenlight has been really positive so far so we can’t really complain. I think the only way for an indie studio to survive these days is to have an engaged community since marketing has become really hard and Greenlight doesn’t have the credibility that it used to. We’re working on it. Ask me this question again in 5 months and let’s see what I say!
OAG: Speaking of media attention… we’ve had a wide variety of different views and responses from developers about their interactions with the media. Do you guys sometimes fear how the media might react to the game, or wonder whether or not they’ll accept it for what it is or attack it for not meeting a certain standard?
FOG: Oh of course we were terrified. We have worked on this game for almost two years, a lot of love and care and attention is invested here, every time my inbox lights up with a new comment my heart stops for a second. I’ve never cared so much about strangers opinions in my life! In terms of the media, I don’t think there’s a huge risk of getting lambasted. Journalists either want to see more before they will comment, or think your game looks like crap and so they won’t report on it, or they think it looks cool so they will.
But from the community… we’ve all seen first hand how brutal community criticism can get. Luckily, we have gotten almost exclusively really positive comments. My heart goes out to all the indy devs who put their baby out there and got a negative response, that must be really brutal.
OAG: Depending on how quickly Ruin of the Reckless gets Greenlit for Steam, how soon can gamers expect to see it on the Steam store?
FOG: Aha! That is an interesting question. I want to do the Blizzard thing and just say ‘when it’s done’, but here goes. We basically have three major options right now.
The first is to continue polishing up the game, get it ready for primetime, and release a really nice ‘full’ experience to Steam Early Access in the near future. This is what Vlambeer did for Nuclear Throne and I think it really benefited their game. They were able to get massive amounts of feedback and release content updates for the game every one to two weeks… so Nuclear Throne organically grew in to exactly the product players wanted based on community feedback… thats really awesome and it’s perfect for a rogue-like game to be able to grow in that way.
The second is to go through Kickstarter, which is a whole giant production and comes with a lot of baggage but can be attractive for a few different reasons. Kickstarter is a weird one because the more money we raise the longer it would take to implement all the promised features (due to stretch goals and such…) so that makes it a bit harder to estimate.
The third is just to wait patiently and release the game when we feel it’s completely done. In that case, we don’t want to promise any earlier than Q1 2017. It’s not that we couldn’t conceivably get it done much faster, but more that we know how game dev tends to go and we’re reluctant to make any promise we can’t guarantee.
I guess that’s it, I wanted to thank you William for taking the time to talk with us, and if any one wants to check out what all the fuss is about please check out our Greenlight Page at: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=683031395&tscn=1463370210
Huge thanks to Charles Webb and Daniel Crockenberg from Faux-Operative Games for answering the questions regarding Ruin of the Reckless. You can learn more about the studio and their project by visiting the official website.