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Survival RPG Impact Winter is Fallout Meets Oregon Trail

| 9 Oct 2014 20:48

Mojo Bones hopes to raise £95,000 for its PC survival RPG set in a world buried by snow.

It's eight years after an apocalyptic asteroid collision, and Earth is buried in feet upon feet of snow. As Jacob, an "everyman" survivor holed up in a church, you must survive for 30 days until help arrives. This is the premise of Impact Winter, a survival RPG developed by UK-based studio Mojo Bones. Its Kickstarter campaign launched today with a goal of £95,000 (about $153,061).

Mojo Bones' Stuart Ryall is aware that the apocalypse is often-treaded ground in gaming, but tells The Escapist that what makes Impact Winter different is "the various influences coming together to create something unique." Ryall lists Fallout, The Oregon Trail, and even the inventory management of Resident Evil 4 as games that have influenced Impact Winter, although at first glance the snowy wasteland seen in the Kickstarter video doesn't resemble any of those well-known titles.

Players are tasked with exploring the Void as Jacob, always returning to the church to interact with other members of the group, all of whom have their own skillsets. Each has stat-driven needs that must be tended to, and overworking team members will make them less useful--as will killing them. While Ryall couldn't completely reveal how perma-death works in Impact Winter, he told us, "We're fans of perma-death and I think a large portion of our audience are too. It's safe to assume that we'll provide the option of an easy mode... but perma-death is where it's heading (or at least a very limited save system)." If team members die during the 30-day period over which Impact Winter takes place, "This locks off their skills--making survival even harder."

On top of team and inventory management, Impact Winter has a real-time, stat-based combat system; Jacob is equipped with one projectile and one melee weapon. In addition to hand-to-hand skirmishes, melee weapons can be used for stealth. One thing Ryall notes, though, is that "Impact Winter isn't an all-out action game. Combat will occur, but you'll also have the option to work around situations in a less hostile way."

Impact Winter's non-linear story means that random events, like members of the team being stricken with frostbite or illness, can temporarily or permanently affect the outcome of the game. "How players reach a conclusion will differ greatly between playthroughs," Ryall explained. "The random events... can also affect your team. So it is possible for members to argue, get ill, kidnapped, or become so depressed they leave. You choose how to deal with these scenarios if/when they arise."

Mojo Bones hopes the visual style of a "buried world" also helps set Impact Winter apart in a crowded post-apocalyptic video game market. "...It's the contrast of having the harsh winter on the surface, combined with these haunting, buried interiors that makes it unique." With an art style is influenced by "old Hollywood matte artists," it stands out in a sea of brown, barren gaming wastelands.

The Kickstarter page goes into greater detail about the many systems at work in this survival RPG, though Ryall says "play-testing and balance" helps the team maintain the tension and ensure the game isn't full of micromanagement. Should Impact Winter meet its funding goal on November 11, it will come to Windows, Mac, and Linux in the fourth quarter of 2015; a £150,000 stretch goal promises Wii U, Xbox One, and PS4 versions sometime after that.

It's hard to stand out in the oversaturated Kickstarter games market, but Impact Winter grabbed my attention. There's a lot going on, but I'm hoping Mojo Bones can deliver on what appears to be a truly interesting experience.

Source: Kickstarter

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