In 2004, when the RPG genre was going through hard times, the project Kult: Heretic Kingdoms appeared almost like a savior from some ancient prophecy. The team of unknown Slovak developers managed, already in the debut game, to do what others cannot do the third time: to create an exciting action / RPG that combines the dynamics of Diablo, the depth of Baldur's Gate and many interesting innovations. There was an extremely unusual role-playing and magic system, as well as the ability to switch between the ordinary and parallel worlds (Dreamworld) at any time, where you had to fight completely different enemies. Kult: Heretic Kingdomsreceived a lot of enthusiastic reviews, but the authors did not succeed in immediately making a sequel. Nevertheless, the Slovak developers did not give up, and recently it became known: they gathered under the banner of Games Farm and agreed with the publishing house Friv5Online Games Studio to release a full-fledged sequel. We immediately got in touch with them and got the first details about Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms.
The new game takes place in the world of the Kingdoms of Heresy: after the events of Kultand the fall of the secret magical order of PentaNera, for a while, peace came here, but then, as usual, a new disaster struck. The danger came from the parallel universe of Dreamworld, which is gradually plunging into darkness and is now called the Shadow Sphere. Mortals often visit this place in search of knowledge, treasures and special energy that helps develop their magical talents. However, now the local inhabitants (and basically these are all sorts of monsters and demons) are completely loose: they are able to absorb the souls of those who dare to enter a parallel world, and then in a new guise they move to the mortal world. Accordingly, the veil and balance between these two dimensions has been seriously disturbed, and now everything is gradually plunging into darkness. What troubles this threatens, I think, is not worth explaining.
We have to play not at all for a valiant hero who happily runs to save the world, but for one of these demons - the Eater of Souls. This is the main difference and the main innovation of Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms . “This is a creature from the shadow world that cannot enter our world in its usual guise. Therefore, it consumes the souls of mortals. Moreover, dozens of different creatures are allowed to absorb. At any time you switch between them and select the one soul, which is active at the moment, "- says a leading writer of the game Peter Hornak (Peter Hornak).
It will look something like this. You run in the form of a demon, kill all living things, then switch to the soul of a previously absorbed barbarian warrior, dashingly brandish a heavy ax, and after another five minutes you briskly shoot enemies with a bow, making the soul of a certain killer and hunter active.
The most interesting thing is that the souls of the absorbed are not just empty shells and puppets in the hands of a schizophrenic demon (the authors themselves call him that). In addition to unique combat abilities, skills and equipment, they seem to have their own thoughts and opinions. In any case, the developers say that inside the demon souls will conduct "internal" dialogues. And moral choice will take an important place in the plot.
The world of the game has grown significantly compared to the first part and covers more diverse locations. The story begins in the deserts of Corvent, which plunge more and more into the Shadow. Then mountains, jungles, tundra, volcanic regions, ancient cities, the ability to switch between parallel dimensions at any time, and many different adventures await us. The authors have not yet disclosed other details about the plot, but there is no reason to doubt its quality: the script is written by the same Chris Bateman , who once worked on the cult quest Discworld Noir - it was he who wrote a fascinating story for Kult: Heretic Kingdoms...
But it is known for sure that Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms , like the previous game in the series, mechanically will be a mixture of Diablo and Baldur's Gate . This means that there will be dashing action, collecting equipment, shopping, "crafting" and so on. True, the role-playing and combat systems have changed somewhat in accordance with modern industry trends. The first part was quite hardcore: an unusual system of "pumping" and tricky magic, forcing the use of special wands, magic tricks and elements, turned the passage into a serious test. Now everything seems to be different.
According to Hornack, the game will have three main classes - warrior, mage and hunter. Each, of course, has its own unique active and passive "skills", and the skill tree has 2-3 more branches. The sorcerer, for example, decides for himself whether to "pump" the magic of fire or sand to him. Many abilities will be active depending on which weapon you are using at the moment. This is the main strategic load of the new system of battles.
We will not only have to competently switch between the available characters, but also change weapons in time, adjusting to the current situation and to a specific enemy. “The combination of active and passive skills, heroes and equipment determines your combat capabilities. This element is very important to us - we really want players to think about strategy during combat. Some of your players, their skills and weapons are weak against certain enemies, while others could greatly facilitate the fight", - says head of development of Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms Peter Nagy (Peter Nagy).
But that's not all. Apparently, we will also be able to develop the abilities of the demon itself. Moreover, some of his skills will give bonuses to the characteristics of one or another absorbed soul. Conversely, the skills of certain characters will positively affect their master's performance. Whether this system is simple and straightforward, we, frankly, hesitate to say. It remains to take the developers' word for it. “This is by no means a matter of simplification. We are working hard to make the game mechanics more varied, but also more accessible to the player, ”says Peter Nagy.
Spiritual Choice The other side of the game must also become more multifaceted and varied. After all, in addition to battles in Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms, there will be freedom, non-linearity, and moral choice. “Our priority is a strong story with multiple endings, a rich world around, freedom of exploration and variability in solving the problems facing the player,” the authors say.
So, the solution of many quests and the outcome of dialogues will depend on which character (more precisely, his absorbed soul) you have chosen to be active. Heroes can cope with a particular problem in different ways, and some are generally powerless in certain situations. And all of your decisions affect the storyline to some extent.
In any case, the authors promise to pay special attention to moral dilemmas. The lead screenwriter gave one small example. In the starting city we will meet a person who asks for help in a very delicate matter: they say, he found his wife dead and now just wants to get rid of the body. As we already wrote, the game has the ability to enter the local "dusk" at any time. And there you will meet this very unfortunate woman who will tell you that her husband himself killed her. How to proceed further - to hand over the killer or to help him for a solid reward - is up to the player himself to decide.
Such decisions will affect the overall karma of your party, which determines the attitude of those around you. If, for example, you helped a local merchant, then he will be generous with important information or even offer bonus quests. This is not to mention discounts. There will also be a system of personal reputation for each character separately. Finally, the promised factions, which will be allowed to join. Thus, we will have more complex dialogues and more complex decisions based on which of the available characters and in what situation you play.
In fact, all these years, Slovak developers have been constantly trying to make a sequel. In 2009, they even found a publisher for a cross-platform RPG, but that one started financial problems quite inopportunely. Then the authors tried to complete and release the game themselves, but in the end they almost went bankrupt. I would like to believe that this time, together with bitComposer Games , they will succeed. Because Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms , you see, already now looks quite interesting and fresh. We will be able to personally check whether this is so or not in the summer, when the authors promise to launch early testing.