PAX interview with SHIRO games. A look at Darksburg.

DarksBurg is in trouble and all might already be lost, try to survive and save all you can. Assemble a team of up to four players to liberat...

DarksBurg is in trouble and all might already be lost, try to survive and save all you can. Assemble a team of up to four players to liberate Darksburg from ravenous undead who have overtaken the town. Choose from a colorful cast of Survivors, including Varag, an escaped wolfman and humankind’s (part-time) best friend, or the viciously compassionate Sister Abigail, each of whom possess special abilities and unlockable skills. Coordinate with teammates to unleash powerful attacks to gain ground across atmospheric, objective-based maps.

SHIRO games was founded in 2012 and has since released two Evoland games and the popular game Northguard. SHIRO games' fourth release, Darksburg will leave early access this week on September 23rd and we had a talk with head of publishing Adrien Briatta about the journey and the state of the game since its announcement.

* The information below is not verbatim but in edited format.

On the inspiration when making Darksburg?

The goal was always to build a co-op game so that is what the game was build for from the ground up. Despite it's dark premise we also wanted the game to be goofy fun. The orginal idea was to bring a top down game with a Left4dead style gameplay However during testing and after receiving player feedback the entire system was redesigned and but became more roguelike in feel. But the concept of co-op survival remained.

What makes the game different from action rpg's such as Diablo or Torchlight?

In reality the only comparison is the fact the game has a top down view and  perhaps the thematic setting but that is pretty much  where the comparison stops. Darksburg is a progression style rogue lite game that does not follow the usual archetypes and combat as in present in those other games. Unlike in loot hack and slash where you spend most of your time looking for that next, better piece of armor or weapon, this game is focused on survival.

About the gameplay mechanics.

You choose the play as one of five characters, each with their own skillsets. 

  • Abigail the Nun
  • Runolf the Inkeeper
  • Varag the Wolfman
  • Rose (and twig) the deadeye duo
  • Dr.Dolorosa the Matron

You take your team through the city one district at a time. The lay out is randomly generated to guarantee a unique experience and you can play at different difficulty levels for a challenge. The controls are much like a moba with mouse + keyboard controls and assigned keys for the different skills.  As you move through the district clearing the waves of enemies you will collect gold and currency to by curiosities. The gold is used for consumables and the curiosities are used for permanent upgrades to your character.  A typical district will take about 15-20 minutes to clear with about an hour for a total run through. As you do multiple run throughs you unlock skills and cosmetics encouraging to replay and up the challenge levels as you grow. 

The whole team earns shared experience and will level up at a time at which point they select a ability. These abilities work like a synergy with other abilities so it is useful to talk to your teammates to ensure that the abilities  picked compliment each other.  

Story wise the game has its exposition through dialog between the characters on screen, depending on who you play with you will hear different information about what has happened, what is happening and the relationship between the characters.

On the future of Darksburg

In the immediate future after the release the studio hopes to build a solid player based and tweak the game further based on feedback and peoples experiences. Soon after it is the intent to introduce more customizations, characters and add elements such as more bosses scenarios and environments.  There is definitely an intend to keep evolving and growing the game to keep players coming back .

Darksburg looks to bring a unique combination of gameplay and presentation to the table that brings a serious challenge to its players and wins will feel rewarding and unique each time due to the added randomness to the game. There will be no blind running through and automatically knowing what is around the next corner. It is important to stay vigilant, communicate with your team and work together to survive and make your way through.

Darksburg is on early access on steam and will see its official release edition this week on September 23rd. You can check it out here.


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