There’s a countless number of retro indies and even Final Fantasy-inspired games. After giving the demo a shot, I was intrigued to interviewing someone from the production team about Fell Seal: Arbitor’s Mark. Pierre Leclerc became the voice for this interview!
Chase: Explain your game’s story synopsis to those who don’t know!
Pierre Leclerc: We’ve been trying to keep the story details fairly brief so far as to not spoil too much of it. The gist of it is that the world is governed by a council of “Immortals”. They long ago vanquished a very powerful beast that was threatening the lands and in the process gained immortality. They then founded the Immortal Council, which oversees all the lands and has the main purpose to preserve order and stability.
To serve as their enforcers, the Arbiters were created. The Arbiters patrol the regions, oversee disputes and enforce the law. They are invested with massive authority from the Immortals.
You will assume the role of Kyrie, an Arbiter captain, as you face many tribulations and uncover the larger picture and what part you’ll take in it.
Chase: Now, how does Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark play?
Pierre Leclerc: We’re definitely going for an old-school Tactical JRPG vibe, primarily like Final Fantasy Tactics, but modernized. The game should have a fairly similar feeling on the gameplay front, although it should feel different on the story side. A bit less dark, a bit more mature and with more humor in general.
Chase: What inspired you into making this game?
Pierre Leclerc: We’ve always been in the game making business. I’ve personally worked in the video game industry for over 15 years, and making video games is where the passion is. You could say we grew up playing awesome games on the NES, SNES, etc and that we’ve always been tremendously inspired by those titles.
With respect to Fell Seal specifically, we’ve been wanting to craft our own project for many years now and recently, all things fell in place, so we decided to go for it!
We’re HUGE fans of tactical JRPGs and we feel like the genre has been under-served for a while now, so it all made sense.
Chase: What makes Fell Seal so special out of all RPG turn-based strategy games out there?
Pierre Leclerc: I think the simplest answer is that there certainly aren’t that many tactical JRPGs being created anymore at this point. It’s mostly Disgaea and a few indie titles in the works these days. So you could say Fell Seal stands out simply by delivering a style that’s been neglected for a long time!
More specifically though, I think we have a complex and rich class system and a coherent and well-crafted story, which I think might not always be the forte of all tactical RPGs. Our art style also stands out quite a bit with the hand-drawn maps and high-res pixel art sprites!
Chase: Going into the game, how deep does the customization go for each of your party members?
Pierre Leclerc: We’re definitely going for a lot of customization options. Mainly, you could divide the options in two main categories: functional and visual.
On the functional front, you have over 25 different classes to use, each with over 10 abilities and their own stats progression. Each unit can sport a class, a sub-class and equip a lot of passive abilities and diverse gear. You can change their class as often as you want and grow them however you want. It’s definitely reminiscent of Final Fantasy Tactics overall and anyone familiar with it will know what we mean when we say the possibilities are enormous!
On the visual front, you can select in great detail the visual look of any non-story unit in your team. You can change their colors, outfit, head, hair, hat, eyes, accessories, portraits, names (and more!). You can of course also import your own portraits and we have both male and female characters. There are a LOT of options to choose from! 🙂
Chase: Could you create your own party members later in the campaign?
Pierre Leclerc: You can create your own party members right from the start of the game, and all the way up to the very end of the game.
When you recruit a new character, you can pay more to have their level start as high as your current party average (roughly), so you could create a new character fairly late and they could still start at a decent level. They won’t have learned all the classes your other characters would know though, so they would still be starting from behind quite a bit (although we have plans to lessen that a bit in the future).
We want to make sure your own characters can be as awesome as you want them to be, so we have all the customization options I mentioned before and on top of that, there are a few select secret classes that can only be accessed by non-story characters, in part to compensate for story characters often having their own unique class.
Chase: I saw that your game was funded through Kickstarter. What are your thoughts on this crowdfunding site, knowing that it’s been highly controversial for hosting dead or disastrous projects?
Pierre Leclerc: That’s a bit of a complex situation for sure. Kickstarter is a relatively new platform, all things considered, and just like with many other “new things”, there’s often an… excessive… enthusiasm for a while. I think some of the early years of Kickstarter saw some fairly low quality projects funded at incredible levels. There were some great projects as well: Pillars of Eternity and Divinity: Original Sin are great examples of promises that were met in my opinion.
It’s certainly true many other projects didn’t deliver though, but at this point in time, I think things are a bit different. Currently, Kickstarter is an incredibly difficult platform to utilize for game developers, with very high effort required, usually for a fairly low funding level. And of course the failure rate is pretty high as well. I admit, it fills us with no small amount of pride that we managed to set up a successful campaign with a 40k$ goal, without any celebrities on board! 🙂
In any event, I think Kickstarter is certainly an interesting platform for the public at this point. It’s just a question of being careful which project you back. The platform is still overly crowded with low quality projects “trying to get lucky”, but honestly, it’s usually easy to tell them apart from solid projects in our opinion.
Chase: Will Fell Seal be seen on consoles in the future?
Pierre Leclerc: We’re already fully registered with Microsoft for the Xbox One. We believe we should have the PS4 version ready at the same time as well, although that remains to be confirmed at this point.
Chase: When will Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark release on where?
Pierre Leclerc: Our tentative release date is Q3 2018 on Steam (PC, Mac and Linux) and most likely on our target consoles as well. Honestly, that’s an aggressive and optimistic date so there could be delays, but so far, so good, as they say 🙂
Looking forward to this one! You check them out at https://www.fellseal.com/ and look forward to a review towards the game’s release. Till next time!