How does a developer from Ireland know so much about the Blues?
I’ll begin to answer this by asking have you never heard of Rory Gallagher?! I could almost leave it at that but I’ll continue… First off, I’m not quite sure why a developer from Ireland wouldn’t know about the Blues. This tiny rock in the North Atlantic has been under the continuous cultural influence of the United States, birthplace of the blues, and the United Kingdom, home of blues greats like Eric Clapton and blues-influenced rock legends like Led Zeppelin, since before the first wireless radio was manufactured. This fact, coupled with our own strong musical traditions means that the Blues has long been a much-loved genre in the country – it is neither exotic nor unknown. If Ireland seems small or remote, it would be a mistake to assume that it is somehow backwards or isolated as a result. This smallness means that our eyes are forever focused outwards, hungry for the news and trends which are developing across Europe and the Americas. Secondly, Gut Games Studio is an international operation! Half of our team hails from Brazil – another great country where African music and traditions have shaped the cultural landscape and a country which also shares a deep appreciation of music and the Blues. We grew up on different sides of the world listening to the same albums because the real point here is that Blues is universal – its is about the human experience – and as such it transcends our notions of geography and nationhood.
This is an open world, how will this work and how big will it be?
You have mentioned that some of our sample footage shows the action taking place on linear paths so I think that its important that we clarify what is significant about the open world game typology. In the open world the player has unconstrained choice how they move around the environment, this environment is then populated with places of action and hubs where events take place and missions unfold. The open world is significant because the player can visit and move between these hubs in whatever order they choose creating an infinite number of permutations in game-play. Sure, the player can leave the path and explore the wastelands of Pandemonium or the cornfields surrounding Delta City but this is not the most interesting aspect of open world game play, it is the ability to unlock and undertake missions in an order which is open and defined by the players own choices. We have many underground environments as the villages of Pandemonium are often situated below the surface – some activity will have to take place in labyrinthine structures in these places – but just as in the Witcher for example, where some action takes place in the sewers of Novigrad and the player must move within tunnels, this is no less ‘open world’ as the player can advance, retreat, return and move laterally as they choose.
Regarding how big the world will be – I would be possible to say that we have a gigantic world map and have it filled with wasteland and open space but we are more interested in working towards a detailed, layered space and developing the intelligent reciprocal relationship between Pandemonium and Delta City. As we have mentioned in our campaign – the two realms in Delta Legend are inextricably linked and actions in one realm can drastically alter the reality of the other. As a result of this butterfly effect, the two realms are constantly evolving in unforeseen ways which makes the open world environment unpredictable and infinite even if it is geographically contained.
There will be plenty of side missions, musical challenges and duels which players can have fun with outside of the main narrative – We have a wealth of material available to draw upon as the Blues has such a colorful and active mythology associated with it.
For people who are not that familiar with the Blues, the game will be a fun process of discovery but the narrative and gaming aspects of the project are strong and engaging enough that you would not need to be a fan of the blues to enjoy the game. The Blues is our inspiration and it adds texture and life to the game, but at the end of the day the game is a product and can be enjoyed on many levels – we see at as an added bonus if players develop a new appreciation for the music!
We intend to pick about 12 tracks from the game for the OST – a standard album length. We’re glad you like the sample song – that was composed, played and mixed by Gabriel especially for the trailer. Its nice for people to know that we don’t just appreciate the music – we play it too. Its a real pleasure to be able to bring this creative skill to the game as well, and of course it removes a lot of financial pressure as we don’t need to buy any tracks for the soundtrack. What’s more is that a great many blues classics are copyright free, public domain resources so we also have a great source to draw upon here too! We have also been really presently surprised to see how many musicians have contacted us to collaborate sine the beginning of the Kickstarter campaign. We are beginning to develop relationships with these musicians and will potentially collaborate on original tracks on the basis that it will be of mutual benefit to both creative communities. So on the soundtrack you can expect to find our own originals, reinterpreted classics and collaborations with seasoned musicians who like the Delta Legend concept! The soundtrack is intended to be vibrant and new, to use elements of the most traditional early style dressed in new clothes. Think of North Mississippi Allstars performing Charlie Patton’s Mississippi Bowevil for instance. It intends to showcase the richness of varieties within the genre.
What is with the Wizard? Didn’t Blues players sell their soul to the devil at the crossroads?
He is not a wizard – he is Leegbak – a corruption of Legba or Papa Legba and is inspired by the Louisiana Voodoo Loa of the same name. Legba was the keeper of the crossroads and the intermediary between the human and spirit worlds. You see, none of us were there when those great deals were made at the crossroads and the story is different depending on who is doing the telling. Some say it was the devil himself who took Robert Johnson’s soul, others say it was Legba. Some might also say it was another Loa called Ghede or even another one called Kalfou. What is important to us is that Blues mythology is richer and far more nuanced than straightforward dichotomy of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ as represented in western christian culture by god and the devil. What is so interesting about the blues folklore is that evolved from the coming together of more than one culture, religion and musical tradition – it is a great mix of the African, the American, the voodoo, hoodoo and christian – where the line between gospel and the devils music is sometimes blurred. The ‘Devil’ at the crossroads myth can be seen as a simplification or as result of religious syncretism – the crossroads is turned into something evil simply because it is non-christian. We have decided to believe that it was Legba who met Robert Johnson at the crossroads, as he is representative of this more inclusive and detailed mythology and folklore. If it is the devil then we are suddenly simplified to a ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ understanding of the characters and their roles. Even in the European mythology of the Faustian pact – it is Mephistopheles and not Lucifer that the doctor deals with, leading to a far more interesting and open interpretation on themes such as the prior corruption of the human soul. Furthermore – placing Satan himself at the crossroad just doesn’t work as a boss hierarchy within the game. Why would the first among the fallen be relegated to gatekeeper while big boss Beezelee Bubba rules supreme? You question about ‘the ‘wizard’ confirms to us that there are so many fascinating and unknown details about the Blues mythology for players to discover as they play – it is intended that these details will be organically revealed as a fun aspect of game-play. Reducing the concept to communicate key information quickly in a Kickstarter campaign is a tricky process and we are certainly asking backers to have faith in the weird and wonderful world that we are creating for them to discover
With so many characters will dialogue be dubbed or will most of it be subtitles?
The current plan is to use subtitles and we feel that this is in keeping with the graphic style of the game although a lot of voice actors have shown great interest in being involved. It is our intention to bring an animator artist aboard and ultimately it will be up to them to decide about facial animation.
Are all four of the main characters completely playable or do they only function best in certain circumstances?
The four main characters are completely playable and implemented. Each one will have signature strengths and you will be able to switch between characters during game-play – think Dragon’s Age: Inquisition.
We are still working out the details of how full band combats are going to work within the game.
You mention how the game will have 100 or so monsters and multiple cities but how much will they all differ from each other and are they all musicians?
The demon creatures which appear similar are mostly biped humanoids, they all have a pair of horns no matter how different they look from each other, what is most important to us when it comes to the design of these demons is their characteristics rather that their appearance. As we mentioned, Pandemonium is not a black ‘n white kinda place there are lazy demons, angry demons, foolish demons and some demons who are just too kind for demon-kind. Its the demons’ personalities, skills and musical abilities which will really render them completely distinct from one another. That said, as a fantastic imaginary land there are also other creatures inhabiting the place which are still to be revealed, each one will be more different from the next.
How much of a permanent effect can the player have on the world?
The main irreversible effects which the player has on the world will be that the actions which they undertake in one realm permanently change the other – we described this symbiotic relationship between Pandemonium and Delta City above. This constitutes one of the most complex permutations of the proposed game-play.
This appears to be a period piece but what period are we in(I believe the Cadillac convertible only came out in the 1950’s)?
In Delta city the player finds themselves somewhere in towards the end of the 1930’s. However, Pandemonium – as a magical and surreal land – is timeless. The vehicle as well as electric guitars and other instruments are magical items, created and acquired in Pandemonium.
Is this your first project or has your team designed previous games?
This is Gut Games’ first project. As a studio we are new although we have both been involved in large creative projects in other fields of design. We have found our calling with indie-game development and Delta Legend!
You mention that the player can level up but does this game use skill trees to break everything up like magic, physical and musical?
Yes. It uses skill trees. The playable characters have 2 skill trees- one for their instrument and one for the sorcery abilities.
What do you hope to accomplish with this game and do you have future games in mind?
Sure we have other games in mind, but right now we are totally focused on Delta Legend. We want to show that this can be done – that you can still have a completely fresh idea and that people will respond positively and embrace the weird and wonderful. We would like to show that games are not just about shooting and tea-bagging and that there is sill a lot of room for both art to expand in more diverse and creative ways within games while still being fun.