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Interview with the Developers Behind Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms

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1. Please tell us more about the history of the project. Why have you decided to return to Heretic Kingdoms after 10 years?

PH: We continuously tried to return to the world of the Heretic Kingdoms ever since the release of Kult: Heretic Kingdoms in 2004. Shadows is the first title that was publicly announced J. We had even found a publisher for the previous version back in 2009, which was a 1st person cross- platform RPG project. Unfortunately, due to financial problems of the publisher, they stepped out of the project and we were unable to find a partner who was willing to invest the amount needed to create and finish the game. We spent all of our resources trying to get this project out, but unfortunately we didn’t succeed and almost went bankrupt. But we survived and while working on other projects we started working on a new prototype of Shadows. Today, with bitComposer we finally have the basis for a successful return to world of Heretic Kingdoms and rebirth of the Heretic Kingdoms universe.

2. How do you feel about the action/RPGs nowadays?

PN: I think we can see quite a renewal of this genre. We can see successful games on the market and we witness the return of old brands in their sequels enabled through crowdfunding. But overall, I can see quite an absence of innovations. Only a few titles deliver fresh ideas – and I hope Shadows will be one of these games…

3. Do you wish to make something new in this genre with Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms?

PN: Oh yes – absolutely! We were always fans of innovations – if you look back at Kult: Heretic Kingdoms – it was completely unconventional, with a really unique RPG system, a healing system and a lot of other features. Shadows will include more innovations than most of the current RPGs out there. Still we do our best to make these innovations easily understandable. Just to mention a few: a unique party system, the Devourer – a schizophrenic demon, inner dialogues between the consumed souls, the Shadow Realm, puzzles and many more…

4. Is Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms still a classic action/RPG in Diablo style with dialogs and moral choices? What are the main differences and innovations of Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms in comparison to the Kult?

PH: Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms is a mix between action RPGs in Diablo style and old-school RPG in Baldur’s Gate style. We want a strong story-based game with unique characters and challenging featuring action combat. Moral choices are an inseparable part of the story.

One of the main differences between Shadows and Kult is the Devourer – Shadows‘ main protagonist. In Kult you play as a young girl that tries to figure out her role in the time after the fall of Theocracy but in Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms your main character is a demon who can devour and control other beings and thus in fact orchestrate an entire party as one single character. Shadows became much more evolved compared to the predecessor Kult – the idea remains, but we spent a lot more time and efforts to make sure it is well integrated. The RPG system is different – the attunement system from Kult proved quite hard to explain so we came up with something new and more accessible. We have a lot of other features to look forward to which will clearly make Shadows stand out of the genre.

5. Will we see a parallel world again? How will it change?

PH: Yes, we will see a parallel world – the Dreamworld. But it has changed. Following the events in Kult, the Dreamworld has turned into Shadows. Dark rituals are weakening the Veil, the border between the Heretic Kingdoms and the Dreamworld, and the destruction of the Godslayer changed the balance between these worlds. Shattered Heaven came to impinge upon this world – and the world of dreams, the mages had once walked within, became Shadow. The Shadow Realm is now darker – a realm of cruel demons and sinister creatures. The Mortal Realm and the Shadow Realm exist simultaneously and you can switch between the two at any time. Like in Kult, you encounter different monsters and NPC in both worlds, while some – the Shadowalkers – are present in both worlds.

6. Can you reveal any other plot details, in addition to what was in the announcement?

PN: I cannot say a lot at this time. We are working on the story with Chris Bateman from International Hobo – the author of the predecessor Kult, Discworld Noir, Ghostmaster and other games. But I can say that the players of Kult will run into familiar characters and visit familiar locations in Shadows…

7. Please tell us more about the main heroes.

PH: The main protagonist of the game is a demon – the Devourer. It is a creature of the Shadow Realm that is unable to enter the Mortal Realm in his native form. But after consuming souls of fallen heroes the Devourer can materialize these in the Mortal Realm. The variety of souls which can be consumed is large and the player can switch between multiple souls at any time. The player selects active souls from the entire pool of consumed souls. Each character offers unique abilities, skills and equipment.

8. What locations do you plan to present in the game? What unique enemies we are up to meet?

PH: Kult took place in Corwenth, a region of the Heretic Kingdoms. Shadows, however, will contain more regions and span a bigger part of the Mortal Realm. The story begins in the city of Thole, center of the desert region named The Outlands. We will visit the mountain areas of the Jagged Peaks or the Red Smoke Mountains, cross dense jungles of the Taymurian Wilds and walk on the rim of volcanoes. We introduce the Sura wastes filled with hostile creatures within the wild snow tundra. Shadows also revisits Corwenth and the ancient city of Kyallisar, built into the lofty heights of the Sundered Shield. There are of course more areas, but I leave those as a surprise… You can read up on the many regions of the game on the official website.

9. The game world has changed? How large is it?

PN: Oh yes, the world changed a lot! After the fall of the Penta Nera – the secret council behind the society of mages known as the Order of the Veil – peace was supposed to return to the Heretic Kingdoms. But for some reason, the once relatively calm Dreamworld twisted into Shadows, where spirits dwell eager to consume souls of anybody who dares to intrude. Only the most powerful mages can endure.

The world is substantially larger than in Kult with over 50 levels and many different and unique environments.

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