The newly announced fantasy RPG Lichdom is being developed for PC by Xaviant. Recently, Michael McMain, CEO of developer Xaviant, had some time to answer some questions about the upcoming title. The game looks to use elements from a few other popular titles to help create a unique experience based on magic and an epic story line.
1. What were some of the biggest influences for Lichdom, its world, its characters, powers and other parts of it? Do any franchises stick out in particular?
Lichdom is influenced by the components of three different video games. First, our gameplay is most heavily influenced by Borderlands. The action, the way the enemies behave, the approach to level design and our encounters are all reminiscent of that gameplay. Secondly, our boss encounters are influenced by Dark Souls, where large-scale enemies rely on abilities they can chose to employ at random, rather than heavily scripted events you might see in other large-boss games. And finally, our loot collection is most heavily influenced by Diablo, where you collect varieties of rare and powerful items and use those items to grow in strength as you progress through the game.
The thing that sets us apart from any game is our approach to crafting. Magic is really your only tool. Because of this, our crafting of spells is a very deep and engaging exercise. The initial Spell Cores handed to you by the game are few in number but fundamentally different from each other. The player grows in power by taking these Spell Cores and adding other reagents to craft new spells in unique ways.
2. With this game coming to PC and the recent announcements of some games hitting consoles, do you see a potential for Lichdom to hit consoles?
The ultimate goal is to see Lichdom available on many different platforms. Our initial release is self-published so we focused on PC only. We are exploring many different options as it relates to getting on the next-gen consoles. However, current-gen consoles are something we elected not to support. Our world-size, enemy count and character fidelity led us to focus on machines that have a greater capability than these devices allow.
3. Can you elaborate on the story a bit more? What role will Roth be playing as players progress through the plot? Is the end game going to be the same for everyone or will choice be a major factor in Lichdom?
Imagine a world where every great ruler is secretly the same individual perpetuating himself throughout the centuries. In the world of Lichdom, this individual is Roth. He is a shadow that guides mankind to greatness each time he steps forward. Now, in his sixth age, Roth has selected you to be his instrument of power. You will use his amazing gift of magic to cut out the cancer that seeks to utterly destroy the world.
Our motto at Xaviant is: You will feel everything. The story of Lichdom is a vivid tale where you are the center of an epic turning-point in the world. The player chooses between playing a male or a female character. Although the story will stay the same, each side of the tale will be distinctly different.
4. Will there be a wide variety of crafting players can do with the loot they collect around the world? What sorts of loot will players find and will some loot be more helpful to a certain type of player than others?
Yes this is a heavy loot-based game. Loot comes in the form of items. There are augments to enhance your spells, shapes to change the way they cast and defensive items to improve your magical shield. Loot acquired by the player is not simply equipped, it is used in crafting.
You begin by selecting a Spell Core like Plague, for example – a spell which sickens a target making them spew vile on those around them. Then you apply a shape to that magic, like Trap, which is a delayed area of effect that activates when enemies enter it. Finally you apply augments that change the properties of the magic to make it behave the way you want. How long should the Plague sickness last? How much damage should it do? How far should the vile project to surrounding enemies? All of those things are under the control of the player during the crafting process.
And that’s only the beginning. Underneath this simple approach is a more complex system we call Synergies. In Lichdom, spell crafting is similar to working with a chemistry set. To draw an analogy let's look at two fundamentally different elements that exist in the real work. Sodium (Na) is a highly caustic metal that is very deadly to a person should they try to handle it. Chlorine (Cl) is a poisonous gas that can kill you if you breathe it. But combine these two elements and you get Sodium Chloride (NaCl), more commonly known as table salt. Spells in Lichdom work like that. They can combine to create unique and interesting effects.
However the game does not give synergies to a player. Instead, you must find them by "experimenting". As you play with your spells, research information shows up in your journal. Using this information, the player can conduct further experiments to lead to a new synergy. Once discovered, the player must craft the two spells in question perfectly. Only then can something unexpected happen. Lichdom has dozens of these synergies buried within the crafting experience.
5. What are the types of characters that people can choose from and how can they customize them?
This game is a first-person single-player experience so the player cannot customize the look of their character at this time. Lichdom has two different options in selecting a character: Male or Female. The approach to how the story is told is very different between those two choices.
As the player progresses through the story of Lichdom they will travel across several different maps. Each map is different in terrain, look and gameplay experience. Some provide better cover, while others might present environmental challenges, such as falling to your death if you are not careful. Each is designed to provide unique and rewarding gameplay.
7. Will there be any multiplayer in this game? If not, why was it not included? If so, what experience are players looking at from a single player integration standpoint?
Although heavily influenced by Borderlands, Lichdom is a single-player game. Since this is the first title for this studio, being single-player let us focus on telling the story and concentrate on very specific features to deliver a robust and interesting player experience. That said, we definitely want to see a multiplayer experience in the future. CryEngine supports that and we hope to release something during our DLC plans.