Umbra, eh? I like the sound of this one. Problem is, it sounds almost too good to be true. Umbra is an action-RPG that aims to fuse the open-world freedom of Skyrim with the top-down hack 'n' slash combat and character progression of Diablo. It is also, as you may have noticed, gorgeous.
It looks damn fun, too.
My first response? GIMME. My second? Shitting all the fuck over this game's party. It's on both Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight, and while it seems to show lots of promise, this is a staggeringly ambitious design concept -- especially for a small team. They have apparently been working on it in some form or fashion for four years, but I'm still sceptical. I mean, get a load of everything they're hoping to cram into this game:
- Open World : Discover the world and enjoy it at your own convenience
- Exploration and experimentation is rewarded with new powers, attributed accordingly to your play style!
- Free character development - No class limitation. You have three resources: Rage, Stamina and Mana, and they all interact with each other in order to balance gameplay.
- Apocalyptic Form: According to your play style, you will develop special powers for your character, changing their abilities and look. Fierce melee warrior may gain a third arm to equip with a new weapon; a fire caster will have their skin turn into lava and heal from fire. Even wings and horns might appear on your character depending on your actions!
- Tons of Loot: Weapons, Armour, Potions and randomly generated magic effects for more gameplay diversity!
- Semi procedural Weaponry: Blades, pommel and guard details can be randomised for more unique gear in the game!
- Advanced Crafting mini-game: Build your own weapons and armours thanks to a complex and challenging module in Umbra
- Tons of Destructible environments: From small walls to complete parts of an area. We hope you enjoy it!
- Housing: Create your own house and proudly showcase your special gear!
- Mature story full of secret to discover exploring the world
- Kythera AI system: The automatic real time navigation adaptation of Kythera adapts to any change in the physics of the world, allowing us to create exciting scene including large portion of levels collapsing or moving and fighting on the back of giant creature, creating never seen before gameplay situation!
And there are stretch goals, which include customisable dungeon houses and multiplayer.
Getting all of those things right? Not easy. Even seasoned companies like Blizzard can drop the ball right into Actual Hell (different from Fictional Hell in that it's not full of treasure and fun times for you and your best bros). This isn't a genre that takes kindly to having kitchen sinks thrown at it. All of these elements require extreme precision and smart design. I'm worried that Umbra might end up a hodgepodge of half-baked ideas.
All of that said, there are some pretty cool ideas in here, like the aforementioned customisable dungeon house. Lure your friends to your in-game home with promises of tea! Force them through a gauntlet of increasingly vicious monsters and traps! What's not to like? There's also an asymmetric gear system, which means you'll be able to equip different pieces of armour on different sides of your body. Two different shoulder pads, for instance. That's a cool, interesting spin on a familiar formula. I dig it.
Umbra's Kickstarter is asking for $US225,000, which -- unless you are some kind of terrifying cash golem, literally moulded from the stuff -- is not chump change. Assuming it succeeds, the developers are hoping to release an early access prototype in November of this year.
I really hope it turns out as good as it looks, but it's got some mountains to climb before the finish line is even visible, let alone behind it. What do you think? Does it have your axe (read: wallet) contributing to its cause, or can you only offer moral support at this point?