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Moonlighter is a rogue-lite game about Will, a shopkeeper that dreams of becoming a hero.
Moonlighter is a rogue-lite game about Will, a shopkeeper that dreams of becoming a hero.
To make a living, he needs to venture into the dungeons near his town, defeat strange enemies and loot items he can sell at his shop. Managing the gold from those sales wisely is the only way he’ll get strong enough to open the last dungeon.
Moonlighter has infinite randomly generated dungeons, many cool and expensive items, lots of weapons, five tough bosses, tones of gold and dozens of weird enemies. You start with some cheap equipment. And a shop.
The game will be available on Steam (PC, MAC & Linux) first and then, hopefully, we're plannig to offer it on the digital stores of PlayStation 4 and XBOX ONE.
Moonlighter has a dual nature. At its core, it is an action rogue-lite: focused on combat, looting and exploring procedurally generated dungeons. Though, in order to get stronger and become hero, the player will need gold, a lot of gold. To get it, he will need to sell the items he finds on the dungeons and wisely invest the money on shop upgrades, new equipment, etc.
We want the player to have a lot of fun exploring dungeons, defeating enemies and getting more powerful, but also to worry about questions like: How much money should I ask for this item? Should I keep or sell this artifact? Should I invest my money on more shop space or potions? Which weapon should I upgrade? How do I get enough money for that?
Most of the game time will be spent fighting amazing enemies in dungeons but we want the player to constantly wonder: “how am I getting the highest amount of gold out of this situation?”
The main references of the game are:
Rogue Legacy: Due to its roguelike mechanics of exploration, character improvement, level distribution and bosses.
Binding of Isaac: Its camera and dungeon generation.
The Legend Of Zelda: The minish cap: Character size and combat. It’s also an important art reference.
The gameplay of Moonlighter, unlike other roguelike games, focuses on the character progression, creating a longer, more strategic gameplay focused on exploration, management and combat. For this reason the core gameplay is divided in two phases:
Combat is a core element of Moonlighter. There is a very wide range of different enemies that will spawn randomly in rooms. We want Moonlighter to be a very challenging game, one that requires the player to slowly build power to advance.
Unlike other similar games, when the enemies spawn, the doors of the room will be kept open, so the player can keep walking and explore faster. If monsters are defeated they will not respawn, even if the players exits the room and enters again, giving the player the possibility of “cleaning” rooms and slowly take control of that instance of the dungeon.
Chests will spawn randomly on rooms and the player will only be able to open them after defeating all the enemies in the room.
Of course, at the end of each dungeon the player will need to defeat a very tough boss that will drop very valuable loot.
Will can use several classes of weapons, like short swords, heavy swords, spears, etc. Each one offers a different style of combat, with a basic attack and a special movement.
Each class has several unique weapons. For example, right now we have 13 short swords with its own characteristics (extra damage, bonus against a particular type of enemy, lifesteal, etc.).
Besides the weapons, Will is able to use special abilities. These abilities can be useful in several combat situations. For example, we have a quick dash, a long ranged projectile, area damage, etc....
To use a special ability, the player will need to equip a scroll, a special type of item.
Our goal is to offer different combat styles, allowing each player able to develop his own approach using combinations of both weapons and abilities. We have a lot of these designed...
At the start of the game Will is not very tough: He will probably fall when facing most of the enemies. Armor is the easiest way for Will to improve his dungeon survival rate.
Each Armor will have three pieces: head, body and legs. These pieces will be very hard to find or craft, being so important for Will’s progress. That’s why we want them to look very cool!
The dungeons are dangerous, filled with aggressive creatures that seem to hate anything that wanders into those rooms. The enemies inside each of the dungeons always look like remnants of the same, lost, civilization. Those who risk entering the dungeons for wealth or adventure need to combat these enemies.
When an intruder is killed inside the dungeons the result is not a real, physical, death but a sudden return to the gate of the dungeon. When defeated, the intruders lose of part of the items they carry, which can make their attempt fruitless or even result in the loss of valuable items. It is as if the dungeons were not interested in the life of the intruders but in recovering and defending as many items as possible.
Each enemy will drop loot on death. This loot consists on parts of their bodies and other common items which will be useful for selling or crafting on town. Many of those items are related with each of the dungeon’s culture, being impossible to find them anywhere else.
Moonlight, Will's shop, is critical for Moonlighter. it’s the only source of gold inside the game. We want it to be agile and flexible to adapt to the different styles of the players.
The shops functions as a skippable minigame on which the player places the items he wants to sell on slots and reacts to the customers that enter the shop.
The town phase starts when Will returns home from the dungeon, in the morning. During this phase the player can choose to open the shop and put some items in the market, or he can go to the other shops in town and spend some money upgrading or enchanting the equipment, crafting new weapons, purchasing new items, etc...
Buy an item. That will require the player to go to the cash register while they wait.
Leave the shop without buying, if they don’t find anything interesting or if they get tired of waiting.
Try to steal an item by taking it and getting out of the store.
Communicate a special request. Asking the player for an specific item. The customer will return to the shop after an agreed amount of time for the item.
It will be possible to upgrade the shop, investing a large amount of gold. This will allow to sell a larger amount of items at the same time, attract better customers, etc...
Moonlighter is all about items and gold. There is no “level progression” so having powerful equipment will be the only way to beat the game. Choosing what to keep, what to sell, what to upgrade, and selling the items at the right price will be crucial.
To be a good shopkeeper Will also needs to be a good archeologist. When an item is found for the first time, an entry about it is added to a book that Will carries, with some info about the object. All items inside the same dungeon belong to a culture and will look alike. As the player finds more items of a dungeon his general knowledge of that culture will increase, making it easier to set the “perfect” price for those items on the shop.
Carrying items around won’t be easy since many of them will have random secondary effects that will affect Will. Some of those effects might be positive (like a Golem head that also increases Will’s armor simply by being carried) but most will be negative, forcing the player to make decisions on what to carry on each dungeon run. These secondary effects will only be active inside the dungeons and won’t affect the item base price.
Moonlighter has a crafting and enchanting system that is key for the player progression. Dealing with the other merchants in town Will can craft new armors and weapons, and enchant existing equipment. To craft/upgrade/enchant equipment, some specific items and large amounts of gold will be required.
Crafting will result in more powerful equipment, some of them with special features.
Enchanting, will allow the player to add special features to any kind of equipment adding a great deal of flexibility to the way the equipment is used.
The village of Will, Rynoka, is a small commercial town near an access to the dungeons. All the lifestyle of the village is closely related to the wealth obtained from the ones that riskinto the dungeons. We wanted Rynoka to feel like a quiet, friendly and safe place in contrast to the permanent aggression of the dungeons. Inside Rynoka, Will finds everything he needs to progress in the game: his shop, the other shops, some NPCs (like merchants that visit the town) and the access to the dungeons.
Rynoka was born around an ancient place known as “The dungeons”. On a small excavation, five gates were found, leading to rooms and corridors filled with dangers and wealth. Everyone knows these dungeons, and the village makes a living from them. The dungeons have a strange property: they seem to offer infinite variations endlessly filled with new creatures and objects.
Four of them are open for the seekers of fortune and glory, each more dangerous than the previous one. Items, architecture and creatures seem to be linked inside a dungeon as if they were part of the same culture.
One of the gates, the fifth, has always been closed, sealed with some strange power.
These dungeons are quite common in the world and, in the present day, nobody wonders anymore about what the gates are. They are simply seen as a source of wealth and adventure.
Of course, there is more to it.
We try to deliver a balanced pixel art style between synthetic modern tendencies and a more descriptive classic style. We never saw Moonlighter as a retro game (actually, quite the opposite) but, at the same time, we can’t deny the influence of dozens of classic games. We are proud of that!
Here you have some samples of our concepting process. We hope you like it.
We have plenty of experience developing games but Moonlighter is our first game as an independent company so our goal is simply to make a game as good as possible. We hope that, if we love it, other people will too.
Currently we would say we are around 35-40% into the development and our current goal is to launch the game in early 2017. This is a project that depends a lot on iterating a prototype and trying out ideas, so collective looks like a perfect place to start receiving feedback. We also think that it might be a good idea to provide early access to receive feedback from players and help us improve and balance the game.
We would LOVE to hear what anyone thinks about the game. What do you like, what you don’t like, how you would make it better, etc… any idea really! We want to be open to the community during the development so feel free to get in touch with us at anytime. We are still deciding about many things about Moonlighter and we would love to listen to ideas from other developers and fans of the genre.
Moonlighter Update 2: More about Will, the Merchant
In this update we explain Will's history, and how it is related to Rynoka and Moonlight (his shop)Read More
Moonlighter Update 3: The Dungeons
What this dungeons are, and why are they at Rynoka, is a secret...Read More
Moonlighter Update 1: Other Shops at Rynoka
In this update we explain a little more about the other shops at Rynoka, Will's villageRead More
David FernándezCreative Director. David is an experienced Unity3D developer (4 years, dozens of projects) that has been designing games for his whole life. Moonlighter is his brainchild. The mention of a milestone gives him PTSD.
David AguadoArt director. Has been working for 3 years as a videogame artist after studying fine arts. On Moonlightter he does quite a lot of the concepting but also a lot of fancy pixel art. Tries to talk David F. into adding impossible (but beautiful) things to Moonlighter.
Agustín EsteveProgrammer. Senior Unity3D developer (4 year of professional experience), does a lot of the heavylifting. If able to choose, he will always pick two keyboards over two screens. XCOM should have many more cats.
Ester MaríArtist. Has been working for 4 years as a videogame artist and illustrator after studying fine arts. Taking care of chars and environments for the peaceful Rynoka. Characters should use hair softener spray, always.
Rocío GutiérrezArtist. 2D and 3D artist, jack-of-all artistic trades. Overqualified with two college degrees and a Master. Decided that, spending so much time in dark places, Will needed a white hair. To here eyes, our dungeons can't have enough volumetric lights.
Javier GiménezProducer. Serial entrepeneur that left the enterprise software industry to recover his teenage passion: videogame development. On Moonlighter he is constantly ruining the dreams and creative spirit of everyone on the team. There is a purpose, but he kind of enjoys it.
Vicent RamírezPR/Marketing. Vicent studied primary school teaching but left his PHD thesis (about serious games) to pursue his dream career and study a videogame master's degree. Taiji is the only thing that helps him avoid violence after tirelessly answering the same questions on social networks.