Review Fix chats with owner and lead developer Luna Orion studio, Lucas McCann, who discusses the goals, inspiration and creative process behind Wild Mage – Phantom Twilight.
Review Fix: How was this game born?
Lucas McCann: I have always wanted to make a game with airships in a world of floating islands. I think a lot of games have shown bits and pieces of such a universe but you couldn’t really explore much of it. For example, there are games with plenty of cut scenes showing such a world, but you could not fly your own airship and dock on a sky-port. I used to play a lot of MMO’s. But as I get older, I have less and less time to spend on online gaming. So I wanted to make a game to cater to people like me, who only have an hour or two at a time to play video games but still enjoy the excitement and adventure, thus the idea of making Wild Mage – Phantom Twilight.
Review Fix: What has development been like so far?
McCann: It’s been a lot of fun working on something that I’m passionate about. Even though we had our share of challenges, it is a great feeling to be making the game that we want to play. We’ve had great response and support from the community as well and we’re excited to share our vision and journey with them.
Review Fix: What makes this game special?
McCann: Wild Mage offers an interactive world in which the monsters and environment, including the islands themselves, are dynamically destructible. One special aspect of WM is that there’s no traditional leveling. You gain power and skills from monsters and lore books. With an open world, depending on how you explore the islands and what spells you acquired, your experience would be different even on the same island. With dynamically destructible environment, you can create your own passages, allowing you to explore dungeons and treasure hunt like never before. We offer different types of dungeons, including traditional dungeons, airship based combat and mount based adventures. Wild Mage offers a variety of activities outside of combat, including mining, crafting and treasure hunting. Another unique feature is musically driven environment and game-play, which will be implemented in different aspects of the game.
Review Fix: What games influenced this one the most?
McCann: Final Fantasy. Some of the core concepts of Wild Mage, including airship and floating islands, were inspired by FF. And we wanted to build a world around these concepts and add dungeons, and fast-paced next-gen combat.
Review Fix: Any fun stories or wild moments during development?
McCann: Most of the programming of Wild Mage so far has been done late at night, or whenever my newborn daughter allows me.
Review Fix: Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?
McCann: I think one should neither strictly adhere to older mechanics nor completely abandon it. I think it’s important to preserve the soul of the older gameplay mechanics, but the implementation can be modern.
Review Fix: What’s your favorite memory as a gamer?
McCann: I was beta testing Vanguard with my friends and family. We found out that we were able to acquire certain skills from certain creatures all over the world. We would run around the world hunting for these monsters and thought it was a great feature. We got so powerful that we were killing monsters that we shouldn’t have been able to kill. Later we realized that the feature was actually a bug. And after they fixed it we stopped playing the game. This also inspired me to incorporate acquiring spells from monsters into Wild Mage.
Review Fix: Who will enjoy this game the most?
McCann: People that enjoy the fantasy, action RPG genre, who like to explore open world and experience unscripted adventures.
Review Fix: How do you want this game to be remembered?
McCann: A game that re-imagined the ARPG genre.
Review Fix: What’s next?
McCann: We’re currently focusing on developing Wild Mage for Steam release in late 2019. We do hope to reach a few stretch goals in our upcoming Kickstarter campaign which would then allow us to release to other platforms as well. After that, the plan is to make a VR version. Wild Mage was really envisioned to be a VR game and its style and mechanics are perfectly suited for it. For example, the dynamic slicing/crushing of enemies would be more controlled and precise in VR environment. But we feel that the market for VR games is not yet mature enough to support a pure VR development project without making a game for regular platforms first.