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We Talk Duelyst With Keith Lee

cid_ii_14501bd07f5dcacc-620x350Recently I spoke with Keith Lee about the new action/fighting game Duelyst.  He was kind enough to give us a rundown on what to expect with this interesting looking game.

What is the storyline for the game and how did you come up with the idea for it?

The Great Tree of Time blooms only during a Grand Conjunction, a short period when all the rotating continents properly align and marks the only time that the Monolith can be reached by foot.  The Monolith itself was built during a much earlier epoch (much of its purpose and history lost through the ages).

Duelysts are preselected from birth as “Bloodborn” by their city-states to embark on a dangerous journey and pilrimage to reach the Monolith to battle and earn Cores to bring back home.

The story starts during the Age of Disjunction (Sixth Age) when the world is splitting and spiraling apart from increased levels of entropy.  With very limited resources, each city-state gradually transitions their entire focus to earning as many Cores as possible to power their continents’ anti-entropic fields.

To avoid cataclysmic world war (and tragedy of the commons), each nation agrees to a rigorous and standardized set of Trials, Rules, and Tournaments to properly earn and distribute Cores.

What types of weapons will be available to players?
There will be six Factions available in the game each with their own set of faction-specific Battle Units and Spells.  Each Battle Unit has their own unique stats, movements, attacks, and ability.  There will be 100+ Battle Units and Spells at launch.

What can you tell us about the gaming engine and what it will bring to the table?
We built our custom game engine from the ground up to be cross-platform and work seamlessly on Windows/Mac/Linux and any modern browser without the need for any plug-ins!  We don’t use Unity nor Flash.  Our goal is to let you play on your desktop at home and quickly pull out a browser tab to play a quick session at work.

What are some of the biggest obstacles you see in creating the game, and what are your biggest goals for the game?
Since this is a competitive game with ranked ladders, our top priority is balancing a game with over 100+ battle units and spells and ensuring our match-making quickly and effectively finds players of equal skill level  Our biggest goal (and currently one of our key Kickstarter Stretch Goals) is porting our game to mobile tablets (which would be an incredible platform to play on).

Will you be offering DLC and what will it take to bring the game to consoles?
We recently added support for Sony PS4, Microsoft Xbox One, and mobile tablet to our Stretch Goals. We definitely have plans for more content after launch and we’re considering DLC as one possible way for players to receive this new content.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of going the Kickstarter route vs a publisher?
Going the Kickstarter vs Publisher route aren’t mutually exclusive.  Many successful Kickstarter campaigns have worked out a publishing deal and vice versa.  At the end of the day, it’s about garnering enough resources to make the best game possible with very limited time.  For our team, going the Kickstarter route exposes our game to the community as early as possible so we can improve our game in tandem with our backers rather than being stuck inside a development black hole for months on end.

For fans of RPG games like Diablo, in what ways is Duelyst similar and different?
Duelyst focuses on turn-based tactical combat; as result, there will be less real-time action RPG combat elements associated with the Diablo franchise. But the combat will be just as intense since every action you take in 90 seconds can spell success or disaster for your battle squad.

Will the game include multiplay and co-op?
Duelyst is primarily multiplayer with head-to-head live competitive play with ranked ladders/tiers.  Since it’s primarily 1v1 PVP (no co-op), we do plan to expand with more team-based modes once we hit a certain level of success.

How much customization will players have and how will quests be assigned?
Battle Units and Spell will unlock as you progress through the Single Player mode and play through the different Factions.  During Ranked Normal Ladder, you can customize your entire squad from 100+ Battle Units and Spells and bring them into battle.  In short, there will be infinite customization with no squad nor battle being the same.

For the jaded gamer who says oh, another RPG, what is it about Duelyst that will change their thinking and shake things up?
We’re hard pressed to find a game today thats combines turn-based squad-based tactical combat with robust competitive ranked play.  Most tactics games will have multiplayer tacked on to complement the Single Player mode. We’re doing the exact opposite with our initial focus on building an amazing MP mode with ranked ladders and tournaments.  Consequently, our big difference will be building a strong competitive MP community around the very underserved turn-based strategy.

How many classes will players have to select from and what are some of their abilities please?
Here some examples of interesting classes each with unique abilities.

assassin classAssassin Class (Songhai Empire)  Ability: Transcendance
Gain an extra action by defeating an enemy this turn.



guardian classGuardian Class (Songhai Empire)  Ability: Goring Lance
Immediately destroy an enemy with 25% of max HP or less.





assassin class lyonarAssassin Class (Lyonar Kingdom)  Ability: Twin Strike
Simultaneously strike 2 enemies within attack range.





guardian class lyoserGuardian Class (Lyonar Kingdom)  Ability: Shield Wall
Adjacent allies receive ‘Blocking Wall’ defense.





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