2018 Summer Updates
We here at AfroDuck Studios have had a fantastic time working on the projects and goals set by us in the Summer of 2019. We were joined by new members who helped us grow and get more technical with our development and we achieved many of the tasks we had set for ourselves. Each team member brought a unique skill and knowledge that promoted us from a regular College group to a full fledged company. As a small independent Studio, we are proud of the diversity of our group and would like to give some updates from each department for our project: Zakumba: Episode Astraia.
Our writing team has been working hard on the story and have been developing a lot of great content, character descriptions, lore and world design. We have had a blast researching and developing these characters each with their own philosophies and abilities that make them different from each other. Over the course of two years, Astraia has had many changes to her personality, design and speech. We have reached a crucial point in the narrative stage where the plot has been completed and we are in the process of setting the stage for each scene. We are excited to share her story with you all.
There have been so many iterations, adaptations, changes and overall discussion on every aspect of Episode Astraia. This is heavily due to the art team's hard work. Many of our designs have to lead to important narrative changes and mechanics being developed because of simple ideas. One of the biggest changes that we have seen is with the look and design of Astraia. She began as a child who was meant to blend in with her surroundings and be a more observant character in her designs. However, her look has grown bolder and confident as she stepped into her own. Our character artists have beautifully found a perfect medium between her pre-teen attitude but still capturing the child in her appearance and the way she dresses. Unlike other children, the youth of Zakumba have to witness more adult-like themes and it shows in the way they are designed. Characters such as Belles have attitudes that are not just for show but present her in a more realistic setting. Her designs have drastically changed from her original conception and have grown and developed her personality and style within this world. The setting and backdrops that were designed have also put more lore into perspective as we try to find a balance of old world African traditions in art and construct them into a more modern feel that can be relatable to all viewers. The aesthetic of this world is one of our biggest goals to nail and we look forward to delivering this first chapter of Zakumba in an appealing way.
Building prototypes and working on mechanics for both combat and exploration has been one of our biggest challenges, but not something we were not prepared to take on. Over the course of summer 2018, we had a lot of discussions and meetings regarding how gameplay should feel to the player. We wanted to create a classic RPG style game that incorporated the styles of turn-based strategy and brought a more technical mindset for combat. Many of our influences and research had us study classics such as: Final Fantasy, Lunar: Silver Star Story, I am Setsuna, Legend of Legia, Legend of Mana, La Pucelle Tactics, Disgaea and most recently, Octopath Traveler. Many of these games include a turn-based combat system that give the player time to think of strategies to overcome challenges. One of the things we focused on was creating a system that utilized an enemy's weakness to give the player a more engaging and fun experience using them to their advantage. Persona 5 was among some of the games that had us explore the concept of opponent weakness and that benefiting the player in extra turns and special rewards for finding that out. Exploration was also a huge factor within our prototypes because of its important not just to the game but also the character. Astraia was designed as an inventor type taking advantage of her surroundings to create unique weapons, armor, and tools that help her and allies in combat. Our main focus thus far has been developing and refining key mechanics in the combat for the player. We are looking to create a familiar experience with a turn-based system that has existed but given the opportunity to do more for fun and engagement.
One of the mechanics we have been truly excited for Episode Astraia is called Forge. This is a mechanic that has been designed to exist both in Combat and during Exploration. The purpose of Forge is to make use of everything that surrounds you in the world and developing it into something useful for puzzles or for combat. Within Combat, attacking enemies will sometimes yield drops that the player can collect within that time. These drops will have an effect on Astraia as she uses an ability she has to construct a type of weapon/item that targets the opponents' weakness with their own drop. If successful, the enemy should be easier to take down and grows Astraia to increase her chances of creating more powerful tools. Within Exploration, Forge allows the player to collect items scattered on the ground or from dig sites that they can then use to modify or create other weapons and tools that can then be equipped to the character or other characters. This will also affect puzzles and other challenges during exploration for the player to put together.
Thank You for following our development. we hope to keep you updated again soon.