Typically I try to avoid writing about games that I’ve seen on big-name sites. I made an exception with Imagination, and I’m making an exception today. Kotaku published a piece on Unwritten: Echoes of Twilight, a Kickstarter RPG being made by a group of Elder Scrolls modders. As a massive fan of the RPG genre there were many points in the campaign where I found myself nodding in agreement. Unwritten is a game made by RPG lovers for RPG lovers. The indie nature of it is what gives it the potential to be truly amazing.
**UPDATE! Unwritten: Echoes of Twilight has launched a new Kickstarter campaign and dropped their goal from $500,000 to $280,000. Please view their new campaign for further details.
The first thing that really stood out to me about these devs was the following statement:
“In modern games, immersion, interactivity, and customization are often watered down by major studios, resulting in diluted replay value and degradation of the “role play” nature of the games. As RPG gamers ourselves, Druid Gameworks understands all those fun nerdy things RPG gamers want to see, or do, and we plan to give it to them in spades.”
YES! Already I’m getting excited. They understand what AAA games don’t: that RPGs should be about, well, role-play. For me RPGs are all about taking on the role of the character I am playing. I get inside of their head, figure out how they would dress, what foods they would eat, and what motivates them to do what they’re doing. In so many modern RPGs this has been pushed aside in favor of more linear story-lines and already established characters. While this isn’t a bad thing per se, it does takes away from what could be an epic RPG experience. I don’t want the game to tell me who I’m playing; I want to discover who they are as we learn and travel together.
Unwritten seems to emphasize the “player driven adventure” aspect, stating:
“…you can explore the world in any direction you want your story to go! Unearth hidden locations, unique characters, and dynamic quests. Chronicle your adventure in your journal, taking real notes whenever something important crosses your path. Customize pets and companions, take ownership of shops, wield powerful ritual magicks, join factions to form friendships, and uncover the shards of an ancient mystery that echoes from the past.”
Sigh. Seriously guys, this is the game I have been waiting to play. I’m even in love with the adventure journal–how handy will that be?? I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve written notes about a game (typically crafting related) and then lost them. With Unwritten I won’t have to worry about that, because the notes will never leave the game! I’ve never understood why this hasn’t been made a standard feature already.
One key difference between Unwritten and other RPGs is that there is not a main story-line. While some games allow you to put off the main quest, Unwritten allows you to shape your story by the places you go, the people you interact with, and the actions you take. If Unwritten is what it sounds like, it is an RPG in the truest sense.
The second bit that sold me on the game was the concept art. And I know, I know, it’s only concept art. But when I saw that the ladies were equal to the men? Yeah, that was pretty awesome.
This might be the first time I’ve ever seen concept art that paints the women in the same light as the men. They’re not rail-thin while wielding broadswords, and they are actually dressed appropriately! What a novel idea! And you know what, they look wonderful doing so (I am loving the Lowlander’s look!)
I strongly believe that so long as the sexes are dressed equally, it doesn’t really matter what they wear. So if you want to cover up your men, then cover up your women. If you want your women to be mostly naked, then your men had better be running around in plate loincloths. If you want the option for players to do both, then do so on both sexes. Either both genders are sexed up, or neither.
Now that you’ve seen the philosophy behind the game, you’d probably like to check out the Kickstarter for yourself, yeah? They are wanting $500,000 which, compared to some Kickstarter games, is pretty steep. Unwritten’s first attempt at crowdfunding was unfortunately unsuccessful. But that doesn’t mean they’ve given up! If you are as in love with their concept as we are you still have a chance to help them! They’ve recently started another Kickstarter, this time asking for $280,000. Definitely go check out the new campaign and help in whatever way you can. At this time all they are able to share with us is concept art and ideas, and while that may be a turn off for some, just remember that an RPG is an incredibly involved game. To do this right, and I sincerely hope they do, they are going to need as many people working on it as possible in order to get it finished some time this century. With more people you need more licenses and those are hardly cheap.
So please remember: projects like these always have a fairly high level of risk associated with them. Only donate what you feel comfortable losing. That may be a cynical way of looking at it, but at the end of the day the money you donate is not a guarantee of anything. All of us here are super excited about this game, and we want to see it do well, but we also are realistic. After starting this site we determined that we would no longer financially support any of the games we review, because how could we choose which ones to fund or not? Instead we do our part by spreading the word, and that is always an option for you as well! The more people backing the game, the less each person has to spend!
Let’s get Unwritten: Echoes of Twilight funded!