As it turns out, titles from smaller developers can suck out just as many hours of gameplay as any triple-A web of studios, and not many games have as much of a sense of endless engagement as Terraria. Development studio Re-Logic has enjoyed the sales success of this mining adventure, but also recognize the rich potential the Terraria structure offers to other gaming possibilities that haven't been explored before.
Some of that potential will be seeping into the corrupted lands of Terraria: Otherworld. This series side-step, made possible by the conjoined effort of Re-Logic and Engine Software, was announced at GDC earlier this year and will feature, among other things, a story within the same kind of open world Terraria players have come to call home.
We took to an email interview and extracted a few bits of ore to craft a clearer picture of what players can expect when Terraria: Otherworld comes out in a full release later this year.
Terraria: Otherworld seems to be set-up to be an alternate reality, almost "what-if" scenario. What made the team decide to go down this particular alternate path?
- Ever since the early days of Terraria, Andrew (Spinks, head of Re-Logic) had been interested in what other directions the Terraria concept could have taken – say a different gameplay focus or with a much larger budget behind it.
- Andy and Ruud (van de Moosdijk, VP of Engine Software) were discussing this one day and Ruud threw out some concepts and ideas – several chats later, Terraria: Otherworld was born.
- Ruud: The very first idea came from listening to a music track which was a very dark sci-fi track and it put the thought in my head "what if there was a darker world in Terraria where the corruption was *everywhere*" and it just grew from there to where we are now. As we shared the idea with other people within Re-Logic and Engine Software the new ideas just kept coming and quickly up to a point where it turned into its own game.
Why isn't Terraria: Otherworld Terraria 2? In other words, what makes you feel that this is more of a sidestep than a full-fledged sequel?
- Terraria: Otherworld allows for the chance to play out those scenarios all at once and to explore new possibilities without directly affecting the Terraria "canon".
- Well, we have had a core set of ideas for what will ultimately be Terraria 2 for some time – a list that we keep building over time. The ultimate vision for T2 might be best expressed as "same, but way beyond", whereas Otherworld is "similar, but quite different".
- To expand on that, our expectation is that TOW will be a substantially different gameplay experience when compared to the existing "100% open ended" approach to Terraria. Terraria 2 will be different still – when compared with both of them – but honestly, is still much too far out to provide more details/specifics there.
- Since there are very clear goals for what we want to do with Terraria 2, and the general idea for T2 were already defined before Otherworld ever came up, a spin-off made much more sense as we felt both projects had huge potential.
A lot of people seem to love Terraria because there just doesn't seem to be an end of the road built-in. Players can decide when enough is enough or when their goals have been accomplished. With that in mind, does taking away the endless feeling of Terraria and inserting a main goal worry you at all?
- There is certainly a lot of truth to that – but we have also heard quite a few players over time that were interested in having a bit more "structure" to what was going on – a purpose, a story, a reason to do what they were doing.
- With Otherworld we try to get the best of both worlds by offering goals and direction, but not forcing the players to follow that set path at all times. You can still go off and do your own thing – build for a few hours, explore, farm monsters, whatever seems fun at the time. In addition, Otherworld embraces the "solve the problem your way" spirit of Terraria. So, even when there is a goal, "how" you attack that goal is up to you and your creativity.
Otherworld is in peril, a small band of heroes is sent to restore balance, and there will be weapons and magic; will this a straight up RPG with progression of character and gear, a non-linear experience or something in-between?
- Of course because Otherworld has a story, there is an end to the story but reaching that does not mean the player is forced to abandon that world/play through...you can always keep playing, exploring, building etc. at the endgame – or really any time you choose!
- Straight-line progression and a Terraria game are somewhat a paradox.
- Like in the original game there is a certain progression in regards to gear and stats (hearts/mana) simply by exploring ever-great expanses of your world(s).
- Otherworld adds the progression elements contained within the story, quests and weapon leveling (where repeated use of a given weapon can increase its power, etc. over time) on top of the progression possible in the original Terraria.
Your official reveal of Terraria: Otherworld states that players will have to use their various abilities to "thwart the designs of this unseen evil." What kind of story should fans expect to encounter? You wouldn't use the word "thwart" in a description without having an amazing story to back it up, would you?
- These are included as an addition and motivation, but not as a replacement of the "go do what you want" sandbox play style. We will not go for a too-classic and on-rails RPG progression with experience points earned by killing monsters and leveling your character that way.
- Well, the "basic" plot – in regards to the battle of good vs evil - is pretty straightforward, with the general premise already been explained in past public releases (the world is overrun by Corruption, you have to cleanse it). Of course, that is only the beginning and the destination – any good story is about the journey...and how exactly that will play out and develop is for our players to find out for themselves.
Will Otherworld feature multiplayer? If so, are we talking cooperative fights against the evil forces or a separate PvP mode? Or some mixture of both?
- In addition, we are aiming for the story to have a good number of dynamic elements in each playthough. The manner in which the story branches and which side-stories you unlock will be varied in each play session – with a lot depending on the players' actions and choice. Of course there will be some surprises along the way!
- Multiplayer is core to the Terraria experience on top of a strong single player side. As such, Otherworld will follow suit with cooperative gameplay for sure. We would like to add PVP elements as well, but that is all TBD at this point.
It seems impossible to picture a Terraria title without the ability to forage, craft and collect, but an adventurer may not have as much use for a number/letter statue as a Terrerian hoarder. Will there be any significant changes to the crafting system?
- The idea of crafting (gather resources, make crafting stations) will be largely in line with Terraria since it is one of the strongest and most popular features of the game.
Actually, now looking over the full list of items available to Terraria players, the assets already seem to be pretty well in place for a fantasy adventure. Have you guys decided on how much of the catalog will be weapons from the original Terraria and how much will be exclusive to Otherworld, if there is any separation at all?
- Like everything else, though, we are giving it a close look for improvements – so expect some changes in Otherworld. As just one example that we can share, the interface in particular has gotten a big overhaul.
- Actually the vast majority of weapons and items will be unique to Terraria: Otherworld. That said, there will be some overlap with familiar ores and the like in order to give the player some familiar elements as they explore this new world.
The concepts of life and death aren't entirely new to Terraria, but will those concepts change with Terraria: Otherworld? Will the stakes dictate players take a more cautious approach towards battle?
- Of course, there will be some special items from Terraria that will appear in Otherworld because they are considered iconic to the franchise.
- The world you start out in is by default less friendly towards the player, so this instills a more cautious start to your game.
For some more morsels of information regarding Terraria: Otherworld, check out their official homepage and forum. Are you excited for this new take on Terraria?
- That being said, the penalty for death will not be more severe than in the original game and will depend on your difficulty setting.We feel strongly about making a game that allows for accessibility to a wide array of players – both those seeking an "edge of the seat" challenge as well as those desiring a more casual, relaxed approach.