If you’re a member of the modding community for Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls games then you may already be familiar with the development team at Druid Gameworks. Having created a range of mods for both Oblivion and Skyrim, including the expansion pack Reclaiming Sancre Tor, the studio is now laying down plans for its first independent single-player RPG.
Unwritten: Echoes of Twilight is set in “the world of Arthanswold” and particularly in “the heartland isles of Aerendwel and Byre.” The game, which is being created using the Havok engine, will stretch across many different terrains within an open-world map, including mountains, jungles and marshlands. It will also include the option for extra survival needs such as eating and sleeping.
Currently, it looks like Unwritten is only in the early development stages, but Druid Gameworks has launched a Kickstarter campaign for it in the hope of drawing support from fans of their previous work. The campaign has raised $7,635 in just two days – a good start for the notoriously tricky goal of creating a game through crowd funding.
As you might expect from a single-player RPG created by a team of Elder Scrolls modders, Unwritten does seem to be have been heavily influenced by the Elder Scrolls games, but that’s by no means a bad thing. Rather than having a linear storyline, the gameplay experience will be shaped by the player’s own choices and their choice of avatar. It will be possible to choose not only companions but also pets, including a fantasy universe version of capybaras that can be mounted and ridden like horses (hopefully the “Barras” are a little bigger than real-life capybaras, which are about the same size as a large dog).
There are currently six playable races in the game, with more races to be unlocked as the Kickstarter hits its stretch goal. For those who enjoy playing as purebred humans there are Highlanders and Lowlanders to choose from. Based on the concept art, the Lowlanders look a little more upper-crust and dress in a variant of knight’s armor, whereas the Highlanders wear tartan kilts and animal skins and can only be killed by cutting off their heads (that last part may not be true). It’s also possible to play as the Rivea, who seem to be some kind of elves, and the Ursine, who are a race of intelligent bears.
The project is ambitious, with a $500,000 fundraising goal, but the Kickstarter page is comprehensive and includes plans of how the team intends to prevent or deal with potential development pitfalls, and also a contingency plan for what they plan to do if the Kickstarter fails (short version: continue using their own money and whatever investment they can find). Though any Kickstarter pledge should always be viewed as an investment rather than a pre-order, a $30 pledge entitles the backer to a digital copy of the game for PC upon completion.
Is Unwritten the kind of RPG that you can see yourself playing? Tell us what you think of Druid Gameworks’ project in the comments.
Unwritten: Echoes of Twilight is estimated for a late 2014 release.