One of the standout titles for the Player2.net.au crew at PAX AU last year was the Australian developed Hand of Fate. This mish mash of the Action/RPG/CCG genres was something truly unique which caused all of us here to begin following the game closely. Well Hand of Fate is launching today and to celebrate both the game’s launch and the fact that this is our first Q&A we thought it would be nice if all of our writers got to ask Kim Allom, Associate Producer at Defiant Development about all things Hand of Fate. Luckily enough for us (and you) Kim was kind enough to answer.
“Developing in Australia, What are the benefits and what are the difficulties based on your experiences with Hand of Fate?” Matt Hewson
Some of the benefits of developing in Australia was that we’ve been placed in a couple of unique positions during milestone events. For example, we were the first game project to be funded on the Australian platform of Kickstarter and we will be the first Australian studio to launch a self-published and developed title on all major current-gen platforms (Steam, PS4 and Xbox One).
The difficulties we’ve experienced largely relate to getting international exposure. We found that attending international game convention events, like the PAX circuit, helped us make some valuable contacts.
“What are some key steps you have taken to encourage potential fans to find and support your game before launch?” Peter Nickless
We planned to execute campaigns and attend events that would start some kind of conversation or communication with our core market. We kicked off this process by showing off a very early demo of Hand of Fate at the first PAX Australia event in 2013. In the same year we decided to do Kickstarter, Steam Greenlight and Early Access – all of which were successful endeavours. It was with these campaigns where we identified our core market i.e. the cross-section between people who love board games, card games and rogue-likes. We were committed to this audience and made sure to respond to opinions, suggestions and bugs in a meaningful and timely manner. I think this communication encouraged support from the fan base as they witnessed/experienced, firsthand, that we were serious about listening to them because we eventually implemented quite a few changes as a result.
“What do you hope to achieve with this game that will perhaps be unique and help separate it from everything else?” Adam Rorke
We feel as though Hand of Fate is something people haven’t seen before because it’s a mash of so many different mechanics. These include deck building, rogue-likeness, board and card game inspiration and action. But we employed some clever design systems that catered for the wider audience e.g. auto fill your deck (for those who aren’t interested in the deck building sides of things).
“Has Hand of Fate’s combination of two quite varied gametypes caused any balance or prioritisation challenges?” Jason Imms
Combat was a major balance challenge and priority for us. We wanted it to feel good and fun but not have to re-create the wheel so we had some early consultation with the Santa Monica guys (God of War). From there we let the Steam community give us feedback. So far, so good given our indie resources!
“How do you plan to monetize content in the future, given that HoF borrows inspiration from collectible card games, are they going to use the traditional model of booster packs?” Stephen del Prado
Everything going to plan and Hand of Fate is successful enough to develop more content, we plan on creating expansion packs that will equip players with fresh experiences. Potential examples that come to mind, again – should all things go to plan, include new encounters and player archetypes.
“Is there an overarching story to Hand of Fate and, if so, was it difficult working that around the roguelike components of the game?” Stevie McDonald
It was quite challenging coming up with a story line for Hand of Fate. Although important, it it came second to gameplay at the time. In the end we came up with something that made sense and could be implemented given the established game systems. You’re essentially an adventurer who is replaying the memories of a former life and you’re trying to save that life which is currently in limbo.
“Did you find it difficult to acquire the necessary fundraising to complete the game?” Matt Hewson
Funding has always been difficult for indies. We’ve been lucky enough to secure contracts (big ones include Ben 10 Slammers and Ski Safari: Adventure Time with Cartoon Network), government support and Kickstarter funding to get us across the line.
“Is there any chance of Hand of Fate existing in a physical form or would any changes required render it too different from their vision?” Stephen del Prado
For some of our lucky Kickstarter Backers, we promised and designed a bite-sized tabletop version of Hand of Fate using tarot cards that feature game art. Unfortunately this was exclusively for Kickstarter backers.
“What was their most challenging aspect of development?” Adam Rorke
The most challenging aspect would have to be ascertaining how to describe the game to the public in a meaningful and succinct way. As mentioned previously, there are so many genres blended into the one game. We eventually came to the slogan of ‘Deckbuilding brought to life’ as an opening statement, which was then followed by a description of the mechanics and references to games that inspired such mechanics i.e. Batman Arkham Series and God of War for the combat.
So there you have it. A massive thanks to Kim for putting up with our questioning. Hand of Fate it out today on Steam, Xbox One and PS4 so if you are keen to check it out please do so. Stay tuned to Player2.net.au for a full review in the near future.