LoreHound Exclusive: Therian Saga Interview

Posted by on March 3, 2014 - 3 Comments »

I recently had the opportunity to play the Therian Saga, a browser-based asynchronous game released by indie game studio Virtys. I’m still quite enjoying it, as you might have expected from my earlier review. It is indeed proving to be as rich and complex as I’d had the impression it was, and even better – it brings back the feeling of accomplishment that games seem to have lost of recent years. I managed to do something last night that I’d been struggling with, and I was so excited I jumped up out of my chair and pumped my fists in the air. I think I even yelled out Oh yeah!!!! in a very undignified manner.

So I’m excited to have been able to pin the guys from Virtys down for a few questions and answers. Hopefully I can pin them down again for more in depth questions! I’m dying to know more about the skills. The more I play this game and learn about it, the more I want to know more…

Let’s start with the easy stuff. For those unfamiliar with Therian Saga and Virtys, who are you and what are you doing with the game?

The idea for Therian Saga all started with our founders, François Desrosiers – Falkarma (Game Designer) – and Éric Bélanger – SickLab (Lead Developer). With limited resources and an ambitious idea, they demonstrated an impressive resilience in progressing through the various stages of setting up an independent studio. This was about 5 years ago. Over the years, their motivation and passion inspired others to join the project and we now consist of 5 co-owners of the studio, along with more than 20 collaborators helping us move Therian Saga forward!

How would you describe Therian Saga?

“Therian Saga” is an atypical RPG game. It differentiates itself by having asynchronous gameplay that allows players to evolve multiple characters without needing to spend too much time sitting in front of the screen. We designed the heroes to be mostly autonomous in the execution of their tasks. Sometime we call it an “RPG Management Game” since you have to be smart about building optimal task queues to accelerate your heroes’ evolution. The game also features a sophisticated crafting system and auction house, multiplayer collaboration and a vast world for players to explore.

What’s your favorite aspect of Therian Saga?

The crafting system is very addictive. We designed a system where the final product will inherit not only of all the characteristics of its components, but also the skills of the craftsman. I’ll admit that crafting in Therian Saga is a bit complex, but once you understand the key principles, you can enjoy a rewarding intellectual challenge.

The open beta has been running for about a week now. Are you pleased with its progress? Has anything surprised you?

After a week, more than 3,000 players have accepted the invitation to validate the English version. So far we’ve been busy fixing various small issues, but nothing critical has turned up. We’re happy to see that all the backend server infrastructure is robust and supporting our player community!

What kinds of features can players expect to see in the future?

Therian Saga relies on a perpetual development cycle in which new content and features will be added regularly. We think it’s important to keep our game constantly evolving. To help us make the right decisions, we stay close to our community, so that we understand what players would enjoy in future development.

Of course the list of potential features is quite long, but here are few items in our priority list :

  • We’re already writing scenarios and stories for new regions and quest lines.
  • We want to integrate the concept of “Global Events”, both cooperative and competitive, to animate the world.
  • Eventually, the player will have to conquer water and even air travel.
  • There are two “Home based” skills that will appear in the future, Breeding and Horticulture. These will come with new features based on food, guild festivities and alcohol making.
  • The Vallero region will give players the opportunity to experiment (if they want) with a more PVP-oriented gameplay setting. With Vallero will come two new sets of skills: Security and Secrecy. These two fields of action will orient how you progress in PVP gameplay.
  • In the future, we think Therian Saga offers a game style that would fit other type of devices, such as Mobile, perfectly.
  • …and the Therian powers, which we’re keeping secret for now!

I just started exploring the commerce skill, and am very curious to give spying a try. Can you tell us about the social skills, and their expected role in the game as the community develops?

Spying gives you access to some resources but also unlocks additional quest lines. The mechanics of the skill are a little tricky, in order to give players a harder trade to learn. When merged with Commerce and Leadership, it also provides political power. As an example, spying is needed in the guild system to acquire some political rights to do things. In the future, spying will gain more advantages, such as an impact in the PVP regions.

Is there something I haven’t asked about that you’d like people to know?

I’d like to talk about our community of loyal players. As an Indie Studio, it’s our objective to develop a long-term relationship with our players. For that reason, we’re making decisions that demonstrate our commitment to building a sustainable community. For example, we recently integrated a non-aggressive monetization system where both paying and non-paying players can enjoy a good gaming experience. I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage players not to restrict themselves to simply playing the game, but to get involved in our welcoming community as well!

Thanks very much for the time, Virtys! Hopefully we will talk again soon!

If the game sounds interesting, you can read more about it and play on the official website. Register, tell them Pherephassa sent you, and hopefully enjoy! They also have a Google+ page, Facebook, Twitter and forums.