Studio MONO, a team of developers from all over the globe, are now half way through their KickStarter campaign to turn InSomnia, a hardcore realistic dieselpunk RPG, into reality.
The story of InSomnia takes place on board ‘The Ark’, a gargantuan, half deserted space station on route to an elusive planet known only as the Evacuation Point. 20 years into the interstellar journey, you the player emerge from cryogenic sleep, taking on the role of a Noman, to discover other awakened colonists roaming the station, forming factions, and battling over territory. It is your quest to uncover clues from the past to understand the mistakes that were made and determine the fate of the people on board.
We got in touch with Anatoliy Guyduk, lead developer at Studio MONO, to uncover more about InSomnia and what awaits players in this brutal dieselpunk universe.
For anyone who hasn’t yet heard of InSomnia, how would you describe it?
Hi there! I’m Anatoliy Guyduk and I’m the lead developer here at Studio MONO. We’re a team from Russia, USA, Malaysia, Poland, Lithuania, Netherlands and Japan, all united by the singular vision of wanting to create the RPG of our dreams. You play as humanity’s last bastion of hope, on a colossal spaceship – as a character that awakens from cryogenic sleep.
Where did the original idea for InSomnia come from?
The original idea was born slowly over several years, prior to when we started working on this project. I would just start thinking about the game and how I’d like to play by myself, so I thought about it for 2-3 years, making notes and conceptual sketches etc. Over time I got together the first overview of the project and this is when I decided that I needed to try to make it a reality – not just a fantasy. Once the first design concept was together, I started searching for the team; at first bringing in friends then looking for talent in Russia and then for people all over the world.
There is a strange feeling of déjà vu that comes along with InSomnia, reminiscent of games like Bioshock and Fallout, did you draw on games such as these for inspiration?
The project was in many ways inspired by the classic Fallout series and Planescape Torment. I really like the look and feel of Bioshock but this genre is not interesting to me. We don’t want to make another Fallout or Bioshock; we want to try to make our own unique universe and still have a lot of work to do. These games are just the inspiration and the reason why we are making InSomnia project.
With InSomnia free from the traditional level grinding, how have you managed to take away this system but still allow for players to progress and to be able to take on the harder areas of the game?
There will be a sort of experience system in place but in InSomnia RPG it’s a skill cap, so skills will grow organically when you use them and when your skill cap has reached a certain number you will receive a sort of level, and you will be able to chose several perks. Beside it, each different skill will have its own perk tree. For example, using light weaponry and growing this skill you’ll be able to choose different perks that influence this skill.
There will be traits and perks that will be implemented to character lists – they can be positive or negative, or both with bonuses and penalties. Some will be added randomly and some of them need some terms and conditions to appear.
Many of the game mechanics featured in InSomnia, you say are built with co-op in mind, will co-op feature the classic two-person setup or will I be able to invite more online people to team up with?
Co-op is absolutely optional, right now we have a maximum of 58 players capacity, but we don’t have scenarios right now that involve more than 2-6 players at one time.
Will playing co-op affect the story line compared to if you just played single player? Will your friends take over characters that were previously NPC’s?
No, friends will not take out companions. Companions are really a very important part of the game. We try to make co-op content that will not affect the main story line but will give more of an overview, a different angle on what’s happening within the game. We have some interesting ideas about co-op, and think it could be an interesting experience, but again the co-op is a totally optional game feature. We will release several co-op scenarios before the final release to gather feedback from community.
How much will the player’s choices actually affect the course of the game? Will this affect the opportunities available or determine how the story comes to an end?
Yes, of course, but it’s not the player himself that decides. As I already said, companions and key characters will. So for example, the player will influence their fates, like some sort of Grey cardinal. It doesn’t mean that player by himself will influence the fate of entire factions within the game but they will influence key characters that will impact upon key events after. The main thing that we’re working on is not only multiple ends of one main question or quest, but also that one moment where you’ll need to decide what the main question\quest is for you.
What made you choose to split the game up into different seasons and release them every few months?
Right now we think there will be multiple separate chapters, but 3-4 big updates. We’re not a mega corporation with a $10 million budget, so we won’t get such resources to bring all of our ideas together at once. The only real reason why we would split it into seasons is the pure planning on what we can do or what we can’t do right now.
When the game comes to full release, will people be able to pay one price for the entire game, or will they have to pay smaller amounts per season?
We really don’t know right now, but all KS backers will receive the additional seasons. As I mentioned, I think there will be 3-4 additional seasons continuing the main storyline, but it depends on if we make them. Ultimately it depends on if we’re presented with the opportunity to continue.
Other than for monetary funding, why did you choose to set up a campaign on KickStarter?
It’s more of a psychological element. You understand that it is not possible to build such a game on $70,000? We’ve invested our own money already in the project, and do our best to invest more, but this is really very risky for us. We need to risk a lot after the KS campaign, by starting to work fulltime on the project and investing more money in it. It’s not an easy decision and KS could show if our ideas are interesting. Of course we’re making the game of our dreams but we want to make the game for RPG fans, so we decided that if the KS campaign is successful, InSomnia RPG has a right to be and we will continue work!
Thank you Anatoliy Guyduk for taking some time out during this hectic period to talk with us. With only $16,500 left, and over two weeks before the campaign comes to an end, we’re sure you’ll easily exceed your target. We wish you luck with the rest of the campaign, and look forward to seeing more of InSomnia in future.
If you haven’t yet pledged your support, go visit the InSomnia KickStarter now.