A lot of exciting news has been coming out of this year’s Game Developer’s Conference and Swedish developer Mojang does not intend to be left out. GDC attendees may have spotted Markus Persson aka Notch wearing a shirt advertising the URL: www.scrolls.com. At that website, the independent developer explains that Scrolls is Mojang’s next game, giving a summary of what exactly the game is.
In our recent article on the future of Minecraft, Notch mentioned his desire to work on other games in addition to Minecraft. He wasn’t messing around. It’s hard to believe that Minecraft is still in its Beta phase and they are already head first into the development of a new game. It would have been normal to not get any news about Mojang’s next game for quite a while.
Scrolls is a hybrid of collectible card games, board games, and tactical strategy games. The end result may be more mainstream than Minecraft, but it’s certainly unique in its own way. With such an intriguing premise, Scrolls feels like a game that could have appeared in Game Rant’s list of 5 Video Game Mashups That Would Blow Our Minds.
Scrolls is a fantasy-themed game born out of discussion regarding common gameplay flaws in collectible card games. The game offers both single player and multiplayer modes and is based around choosing the perfect combination of scrolls. Each scroll (or card) represents a creature, spell, or structure, which gamers can tactically maneuver in order to defeat their opponent.
Jakob Porser, lead-developer of Scrolls and friend of Notch, recently sat down with PC Gamer and talked at length about Scrolls.
“The board is divided so that you control one side each. As your units attack, they charge across your opponent’s side of the board and will damage him unless blocked. As every unit comes with a variety of different abilities, it’s not as simple as just placing your units in front of your opponent’s to feel safe. You will need to pay close attention to the positioning of you opponents units, siege weapons and building and adjust your strategy according to that.
In addition to the actual gameplay, Collecting scrolls is a whole other layer of the game. Players will obtain scrolls through packs purchased online with real money. These packs contain a random selection of scrolls. Scrolls can also be obtained through the single player offline campaign as well as through an in game auction house. Certain cards will be exclusive to the purchased packs, while others will only be found in the campaign. Other than the optional ability to buy packs, Scrolls is completely free to play. This is a great model and seems to be working well for League of Legends.”
Porser went on to discuss a few of the features Scrolls would add to the typical CCG formula.
“Scrolls features a game board where you place your summoned units. This adds another layer of tactics and opens up for some really interesting design opportunities for the scrolls. To be successful, you will need to pay close attention to the positioning of you opponents units, siege weapons and building and adjust your strategy according to that.
Also, since Scrolls is designed to be played on a computer and not as a paper version, we have the ability to add effects that would be to complicated to keep track of otherwise. For instance, the units in Scrolls does not heal up at the end of your round. Their life pool will diminish as they are being damaged and they will eventually die, unless healed or protected in some other way. Keeping track of that in a paper version would be really hard, but in a computer game where the computer remember this for you, its very much possible.”
Scrolls is poised to take advantage of the video game medium and do things collectible card games simply can’t. Instead of just playing a card and having it sit there, Scrolls forces gamers to keep a watchful eye on all of their units and resources. Imagine a mechanic similar to collecting sun in Plants vs. Zombies that keeps the player busy and adds another layer to the already strategic game.
“You will certainly have to manage them to get the most out of your gameplay. Some can be moved around the board for instance, and as positioning is such a strong factor, you would be wise to keep an eye on it. Also, units generally carry some special ability — some are passive, others need to be activated — and timing these abilities right are certainly important. However, some things are managed by it self. Say for example that you have a unit that heals itself at the beginning of your round, this would be done automatically.”
In an effort to show off the strategic depth of Scrolls, Porser explained the effects of a particular card during one of their prototype games. It is funny to think about Porser taking jabs at Notch.
“In the prototype, we had a unit that over time could grow very powerful, but a side effect to boosting its power was that you also increased the time until its would attack. On its own, this unit was quite harmless to the opponent. Sure it got very powerful, but as it never got to attack you couldn’t utilize its power. That is unless you placed it next to another unit who’s ability was that once it attacked, every unit next to it also attacked. Combining these units made for some awesome humiliation. (Notch was close to rage quit, and obviously I was mocking him to the best of my ability)”
Scrolls is a very interesting concept and definitely not something anybody saw coming. With Minecraft still in development, many people are wondering what the future holds for Mojang’s first hit. According to Porser, this is the most common type of question they get after talking about Scrolls.
“. . . why are you not focusing on making more Minecraft? Like expansions, a sequel or developing the buisness model on the current version?
Obviously, that would indeed be the best choice if we were only in it to make money. But we said from the start that the biggest advantage of Minecraft’s success is that it enables us to do the projects we really want to do. Scrolls is just that.”
It is refreshing to see a developer creating the games they want, opposed to regurgitated cash-grab sequels. The claim that Scrolls is the game they really wanted to make is certainly a big deal. It is hard to imagine such an impressive game like Minecraft is simply a stepping stone, rather than the developer’s ultimate game.
Mojang is only in its infant stages as a developer, and their future is promising. They are, without a doubt, a developer that fans of indie games should keep a close eye on.
Scrolls has a pedigree and original design that suggests it will be a fun, clever and addicting game. For those wary of the CCGs, check out Phantom Dust on the original Xbox. It is a prime example that fun gameplay and collectible card game elements are not mutually exclusive.
Is Scrolls the type of game you envisioned Mojang working on after Minecraft? Are you interested in giving it a try?
No release dates have been announced, but Mojang is hard at work on the game and Game Rant will keep you up to date on any new developments.
Source: PC Gamer