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Soulblight is a dark, topdown roguelike built around the literal meaning of RPG
On the face of this wretched world there is a gaping wound. The Sanctuary, once glorious, now forsaken, hides secrets of forgotten machinery. Magical matter is born there when spacetime ripples and loses its meaning... and at the heart of it all is an anomaly. A tree shrouded in a mystical liquid, luring those brave enough with its promises of greatness. Do you dare seek its power? Do you wish to drink from the Soulblight?
Soulblight is a dark top-down roguelike built around the literal meaning of RPG. Instead of XP grinding you will receivepersonality traits.These will be the main source of your strength. To benefit from them, you will have to act accordingly. Becoming an alcoholic means that you will be rewarded for getting drunk, but from that point being sober might prove itself to be unbearable. We call this mechanic the Taint System.
We look back with nostalgia at our pen and paper RPG memories. Back then, gaining XP and leveling up was only part of the fun. The thing we were most excited about was actual role playing. For a brief moment becoming a character with all their merits but also with all their flaws. Sometimes their shortcomings would stand in the way of solving a quest at hand making the game more difficult. But because of that the characters felt more alive and that’s why we wouldn’t have it any other way.
The situation with video games is different. For the most part players can’t miss an opportunity to get precious loot or XP knowing that the game will penalize them for it. That’s why no one expect players not to fight a giant spider just because their character might have arachnophobia. So if we want players to actually roleplay there needs to be a special mechanic that will encourage them to do so. That is how our Taint System came to be.
Before entering each level of the Sanctuary you get to choose a taint that represent a certain personality trait. Each taint unlocks a new way of gaining power - acustom mechanic designed to encourage acting like a person with that attribute. Let’s look at few examples:
This method of character progression channels our will to survive into actions in alignment with hero’s personality. The deeper into the Sanctuary you get the more varied taints you’ll be able to acquire. Think of it as if the dungeon itself was a skill tree of a kind. While making a choice you’ll have to be careful as it will shape your experience to come.
Story in Soulblight revolves around the invasion of the Pyrope Horde. No one knows where did the crystal covered beasts come from. But the fact remains, they did come. As conventional methods of warfare proved themselves useless against the aggressor mankind has no other choice but to turn to the Ancients and their secret of forgotten technology.
Holding it is the legendary Soulblight - tree growing in the center of the abandoned Sanctuary. The prophecy says that wisdom to create powerful machinery awaits those who will drink from the roots of the tree. But beware wisdom has a price. Will you dare to find Soulblight and bring peace to this broken world?
When technology was still present in the world, the Sanctuary was a safe haven for those who sought knowledge. A place where greatest minds could practice science freely manufacturing many wonders of technology.
That is until something happened that science could not explain. A machinery that studied foundations of human nature imploded giving birth to a mystical tree. With it came along a power so great that it shattered a space-time around it, leaking anomalies from alternate dimensions.
Scholars fled the Sanctuary leaving all the scientific achievements behind them. The world turned away from technology fearing its power. But centuries later in the face of a new danger travelers venture into the Sanctuary hoping to reclaim the gift of the tree - gift of technological knowledge.
Helping them retrieve it is the presence inhabiting the Sanctuary - the Host.
There is no roguelike/roguelite without randomly generated levels. Maps are build from predefined segments on a base of a hexagon. This way we can create thousands of levels avoiding chaos and incoherence characteristic to some random generators. Every time you go into the Sanctuary you will have to explore it a new as time-space here is not stable and shifts when no one is looking.
The path you are about to take is full of dangers as relicts of Ancient times still wander the halls of the Sanctuary. These vicious mechanized golems are called Nerajatan’s Sentinels.
But these are not even a prelude to what lies ahead. To find Soulblight you will have to face Abacus. Legend says that a high priest, the protector of the Sanctuary, transferred his consciousness into an enormous machine on which the temple is build on. To fight him means to fight the entire chambers of the labyrinth. As Abacus is just an electromagnetic pulse it can easily manifest itself in different forms.
Carving your path a new awaits you with every trail as shattered reality of the Sanctuary changes constantly. It encourages you to uncover a part of the tale of how religion and technology intertwine shaping the world you are so desperately trying to save.
In this nonlinear gameplay we are aspiring to tell a story about the battle for the soul that will unfold before your eyes with every playthrough. Death is not the end here, it is a part of your journey.
Swinging your weapon wildly won’t get you far in your journey. What truly matters in combat is tactics. Using your stamina effectively is only the beginning. What also matters is knowing how to perfectly time your block or parry the incoming attack.
Distance control between you and the enemy is also crucial. Spear is a very potent weapon at range, but useless up close. Axe on the other hand is excellent in contact, but ineffective when you’re trying to reach a retreating enemy.
As scary as they might seem, your opponents are only machines. They are designed to destroy you and they will do whatever it takes to do so, even if that means killing one another. Use that to your advantage! Navigate through the battlefield to trick them into killing themselves.
Don’t forget that tactics doesn't end on combat. Sometimes it is smart to use more subtle approach. Just sneak behind the enemy avoiding their sight and gently take them out by snapping their necks.
Be careful though, the environment might be traitorous. One wrong move and the sound you make will alert your prey.
Hunger is also a thing that you will have to take into account. No matter how proficient you are with your blade it won’t help you much if you are too weak to wield it properly. As you travel through the abandoned corridors be sure to scavenge whatever you can.
You will find medical appliances like bandages that will come in handy when you find yourself bleeding after one of the less fortunate encounters with the enemy. Be careful though the wound might begin to fester if you use low quality materials.
Gold is necessary for buying rare items at the trading machines scattered throughout the complex. You can also use reality bending Ad’r Gems to upgrade your equipment in the mystical process of transmutation.
However manage the weight of carried items carefully as the bigger it is the more limited your speed will be.
The fear of all that is technical is rooted deep in the hearts of the society. But you have to overcome it as those devices are much more potent than simple swords made by the blacksmiths of the present day.
We are a tiny independent studio from Poland called My Next Games. Soulblight is actually our first project. As a group made solely of developers focused on creating games, we don’t know much about promotion.
We hope our adventure with Square Enix Collective will help us get some experience and of course bring attention to our game. We’re also very eager to hear your feedback on our work so don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below!
If you wish to learn more about Soulblight follow our Steam Community Hub and Social Media. We’re revealing new information about the game on a regular basis, so stay tuned! :)
Update #3: Closer look at Combat
Fighting is bread and butter of every roguelike. We create Soulblight to be a tactical yet dynamic experience.Read More
Update #1: More about Taints
Hi everyone, in our first update, let us zoom in on the Taint System.Read More
Update #2: Challenges of Top-Down View
There were few major challenges that stood before us when we’ve decided to create a game in a top-down perspective...Read More
Jerzy ZalewskiDoes: Story Design Loves: Movies Favorite game: Shadow of the Colossus
Jakub GawlinaDoes: Music & Sound Design Loves: Dogs and music Favorite game: Remember me
Jakub LisinskiDoes: Programming and Design Loves: Miniature wargames, pen and paper RPGs Favorite game: Bioshock Infinity
Witold TrzcionkaDoes: Art Loves: Comics Favorite game : Dark Souls
Konrad PawlusDoes : Additional Game Design Loves : Martial Arts, LARPs, pen and paper RPGs Favorite game : Vampire The Masquerade : Bloodlines