Lost Eidolons Interview
Farflame got in touch with Lost Eidolons' Creative Director Jin Sang Kim to get some more information about the game.
RPGWatch: We are an RPG site so let's start with this topic. In recent years, the concept of RPGs blurred. We have classic CRPGs and we have games with pure action gameplay and some RPG-like skills. What do you prefer or what do you like or don't like in contemporary RPGs?
Jin Sang Kim: I can't say I have a strong preference between the two considering I enjoy both! The changes are likely due to an evolution of hardware, pushing RPGs often to have a deeper action gameplay focus. I can appreciate that this style of game is more realistic and immersive. What I dislike is that RPG, Action, Adventure, and other genres are often hybridizing nowadays and by having no clear distinction between genres, it reduces the opportunity for a truly unique gaming experience. This affects the fun factor and overall characteristics. Maybe I feel this way because I've gotten old as a gamer!
RPGWatch: Would you agree that for some gamers (or just for big publishers?) quantity becomes quality? For example, I noticed that some players complain when and adventure game has an above average price - even if that game is generally praised for its content. On the other hand, many players are ok if open world games are sold at a much higher price despite being often generic. So, has quantity become quality for some young players? Can indie devs do something about it?
Jin Sang: Well, in the context of this question, it has in some part to do with the length of the game. This is a personal consideration when I'm about to purchase any new game. However, I don't just look at the number of hours (quantity) to beat, but also consider the experience of the playthrough (quality). I think indie devs often have the means to reasonably price their game while providing an experience that's born from the fruits of their labor and passion.
RPGWatch: Now to Lost Eidolons. I assume that the story is based on a power struggle, like Game of Thrones, and some personal stories and vendettas. Are there some themes or interesting personal stories that are not common in this genre or some small side story that you personally like a lot? It's often said that "putting characters into extreme situations allows for rewarding character growth", right?
Jin Sang: A lot of fantasy stories that take place in feudal warfare settings will centre on privileged or powerful people, like the Starks in Game of Thrones. They also tend to have a thousand years of lore and worldbuilding, and bombard the audience with a lot of proper nouns in the first five minutes. Lost Eidolons takes more of a character-driven approach, centring on a few scrappy mercenaries drawn into a conflict that's way over their heads. The story explores themes of class and power, and mostly uses the epic war as a backdrop for inner journeys and interpersonal dramas. Think Shakespeare meets Fire Emblem.
RPGWatch: Each hero class can be upgraded into different subclasses, right? Is it influenced just by the decision of a player or are there some limitations of a path?
Jin Sang: Each hero can change into any class the player chooses them to be. While every character may have been designed in mind to be a certain role, I didn't want to limit a players individual choice, so we designed Lost Eidolons to offer equal liberties in class selection. There are select classes that only specific characters can achieve, but it is a rare exception.
RPGWatch: It seems that you can freely walk around the camps in 3D like in normal RPGs. Is it possible in some of the other locations as well?
Jin Sang: No, it's only possible to walk around the camp between each battle.
RPGWatch: What activities can you do in camps beside talking to main characters and accepting side quests? Can you actively train your heroes? Upgrade your weapons and armor? Talk to regular soldiers, not just heroes? Are there some special activities that you will do later in the game?
Jin Sang: There are training activities that allow you to improve the aptitudes of your party members. You can also upgrade your weapons and armor by purchasing them from different merchants. There are also affinity activities where you can improve your disposition towards camp inhabitants to potentially invite new members into your army or improve their combat effectiveness.
RPGWatch: Can you describe the depth of your combat system? For example, do you have different attacks or different weapon types countered by different types of armor? Or tactical spells like slow or freeze? Bonus for flanking of enemies? Etc. And skills have limited use in combat, right?
Jin Sang: To address the last question first, there's a limited number of charges that skills and magic have per battle (they recharge automatically between combat). This is intended to prevent players from spamming them and to carefully choose how they want to use these abilities over drawn out encounters. Weapons and armors also have a rock-paper-scissors balance, so certain weapons will be more effective vs. certain armor types. Elemental magic has some extra effects depending on what kind of tiles you cast them on. For example, if you cast fire on bushes, the tile will catch fire and deal additional damage to units standing on top of them. If a poison mist tile is met with fire, it’ll trigger an explosion in the area which can heavily damage units within. If water is met with thunder magic, the damage will spread across the entire body of water, etc.
RPGWatch: How do you keep variety in combat encounters? Could you tell us about different combat objectives in Lost Eidolons? Will we see some monsters too, not just human enemies?
Jin Sang: We are creating a variety of combat objectives to keep playing it fresh. Simple goals may include vanquishing a specific enemy unit. Or, you may be tasked with leaving no survivors, to defeat all enemy units. Or you're caught in a dangerous predicament, and the protagonist must remain alive until some number of turns elapses. Another goal might include escorting an NPC to a specific location on the battle map or capturing a specific enemy unit before they can do similar. I'd also like to, under certain conditions, provide a variety of different combat encounters (enemy composition). I hope this can give a rich and diverse tactical experience.
RPGWatch: When you try to take a castle is it like a "real siege" where you have to breach the gate? Or is it just a regular battle and the castle gate is open?
Jin Sang: It's an actual siege, so you will have to breach the gate in order to gain access into the stronghold. For example, using a battering ram to crash through the gate.
RPGWatch: It seems you have a lot of layers of cloth and armors (something like Kingdom Come?). Am I right? Does every piece of cloth/equipment have some effect or are some of them just cosmetics?
Jin Sang: The look of armor is cosmetic. Our long term intent is to separate the look and stats of the equipment so that players can ultimately choose what each character wears through preference. This isn't an early goal for the project, but we could implement this for fans of the aesthetics at a later date. And of course, equipment has an effect on characters stats and so on.
RPGWatch: Players noticed that you have very good character models and faces for a small indie game. Could you tell us a little more about how you create them? Are some faces based on real people or something?
Jin Sang: We first conceptualized the characters (personalities, gender, races, etcetera) on paper, followed by cross-referencing images of faces (eyes, noses, mouth, so on) and hairs that match the concept (Google was handy for this). After this process, we created a few faces based on the data we collected. After artists and designers agreed on the designs, we moved onto 3D modelling.
RPGWatch: If you could make any game, any brand, any budget, what would be your personal dream project?
Jin Sang: I'm working on it! Joining Ocean Drive Studio after years of working at Nexon was largely because the team was aligned around creating a game that fits what we as a team like to play. If we had unlimited resources, I'd consider adding specific online features that enable players to create their own unique scenarios to share with others and complete in online co-op. My dream is that Lost Eidolons becomes a must-play strategy RPG experience.
RPGWatch: And a not so serious last question. Do you have a funny story from development that you could share with us?
Jin Sang: Oh gosh, were a new team and I'm sure there's several stories but probably the best was when we were developing our early cutscenes, wed use Microsoft Sam and Microsoft Mary as temporary voice actors. It made a few of our serious scenes feel more like comedy you'd see on a Machinima channel.
Information aboutLost Eidolons
Developer: Ocean Drive Studio
Genre: Tactical RPG
Play-time: 10-20 hours
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· Released: 2022-10-13
· Publisher: Ocean Drive Studio