By David Welch @watsonwelch (Creative Manager – 505 Games)
Crafting. World building. Sandbox adventure. Whatever your term of choice, ever since Minecraft exploded onto the scene in 2009, it’s clear that this massive new genre is here to stay — with each new title bringing ever-increasing diversity and quality. At 505 Games, we’ve had the unique privilege of bringing the indie smash hit Terraria onto console and mobile platforms — and over the course of that adventure we’ve been completely smitten by sandbox gameplay and the amazing communities it inspires. Over the last few years we’ve played dozens of games and logged hundreds of hours — and at a certain point we asked ourselves: if we could build our own sandbox game from the ground up, what would it be? How would we design it? What kind of game do we want to play more than anything else — but doesn’t yet exist?
With Portal Knights, we have the answer. Two years ago we partnered with the incredible development team at Keen Games to build a 3D sandbox crafting adventure that was equal parts action RPG, taking inspiration from Zelda and our favorite JRPGs. We wanted to create an experience that was easy to pick up and play for a broad range of players, that didn’t require a wiki just to get started — but offered deep and compelling combat and bosses. A game that captured the best of sandbox gameplay — the thrill of discovery, the satisfaction of inventing your own quests, the creativity of building your home and your character — and combined it with the loose structure of an RPG: character classes, levels, skill trees, and a sense of progress through the world. We also knew how critical it was to be able to play with your friends, so we’ve designed Portal Knights with 4 player multiplayer in mind (focusing on cooperative play for now).
We’ve attempted to create a solid foundation on which to build, so we can add more content in the future — environments, bosses, monsters, crafting recipes, classes — without breaking anything that’s already there. (We’ve experienced enough character and world deletions to know the pain.) And we’ve also strived to create a technical foundation and a user experience that we hope, one day, we can take beyond the PC platform.
But for now our plans are very loose, because we know that ultimately Portal Knights will be defined by its community. Thus, we’ve decided to launch in Early Access, like so many sandbox games before us. We’ve worked very hard to release a game that is already polished and has a strong identity — but that can still be guided by feedback from our players. There’s a lot more we hope to accomplish.
The teams here at 505 and Keen are committed to developing Portal Knights for many months to come through our 1.0 release — whenever that may be. It’s both terrifying and exhilarating to share our years of hard work with the wider world. But it’s time to take the game out from behind closed doors and into the hands of players.
Together we can step into the unknown, craft this adventure, and create the ultimate Portal Knights.
For complete details, check out the website (www.portalknights.com) and tell us what you think on the forums. For all the latest developments, make sure to follow us across all our social channels (Links above)
Otherwise, once the portal is open — we’ll see you there!
Portal Knights is available on Steam Early Access (PC) starting February 25, 2016.