Arcadian Atlas Interview With Twin Otter Studios’ Becca Bair
Ian talks to Arcadian Atlas developer Becca Bair about the upcoming game.
Arcadian Atlas is a 2D isometric strategy RPG in the vein of ‘90s classics like Tactics Ogre and Final Fantasy Tactics with a character driven plot and strategic battles. Its creators at Twin Otter Studios are currently seeking crowdfunding on Kickstarter to make the game a reality. They’re asking for a relatively modest amount of money, and they’re aiming at an early 2018 release date for the title.
I was intrigued by what they’ve shown of Arcadian Atlas so far, so I reached out to Twin Otter dev Becca Bair to talk about the game.
Thanks for letting us interview you about your game! Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you do at Twin Otter Studios.
I’m Becca Bair, and I am the Creative Director at Twin Otter, and I work with my brother Taylor, who is our Lead Writer on the project.
We’re a brother and sister duo, and we’ve been working on Arcadian Atlas for about a year and half now. We live in Texas, myself in Austin with my cat Ham and parakeet Tupelo, and Taylor in Fort Worth.
Is Arcadian Atlas Twin Otter Studios’ first game?
Noper! We’ve got several game jam projects under our belts, along with the RPG Genesis that we developed for several years. You can find old copies of a lot of these if you scour our preferred RPG creation engine as kids, the O.H.R.R.P.G.C.E. website though the latest build of Genesis was only privately released as an extended demo.
Why did you decide to go down the Kickstarter route to fund your game instead of a traditional games publisher?
Kickstarter makes sense because it operates on two levels: a gauge of community interest as well as a funding platform. Indies often struggle to estimate potential audiences for different genres, and the tactical RPG hasn’t exactly been a booming genre in some time.
So Kickstarter allows us both to gauge the potential audience for the resurgence of these sorts of games, as well as provides a very monetary way of supporting the developers who create them.
Plus, our community is small but amazing, and we wanted them to be involved because they’ve been with us for over a year and a half already.
Based on the trailer you’ve released and the screenshots, Arcadian Atlas shares the aesthetic of several ‘90s tactical turn-based games. What games does the game draw inspiration from, and how?
Aesthetically, it is heavily influenced by the classic pixel art games of the 90’s like Chrono Trigger, Breath of Fire, and Suikoden. We love how incredibly expressive and endearing those little sprites are, and how wonderfully they wormed their way into our hearts. Plus, I love the art of French painter Mucha with his thick lines and airy quality.
Gameplay-wise, it’s very much a strategic RPG, with core roots in games like Tactics Ogre and Final Fantasy tactics, though we’re taking a fresh perspective on job classes and skill/weapon mechanics that more mimic games like Ragnarok Online and, believe it or not, The Witcher series.
The narrative seems to be a big part of Arcadian Atlas, setting it apart from other turn-based strategy games that are less story-focused. Can the player influence the story?
That’s the goal. Taylor wants to have several branching story arcs dependent on choices made, along with several possible endings in a similar vein as Chrono Trigger.
How does the class or job system work in Arcadian Atlas? What sets it apart from games like Final Fantasy Tactics?
Players assign a core class to each of their troops, and ideally that core class dictates the overall play style of that troop for the remainder of the game.
Each class then has branching skill trees to further develop them, such as the ranger’s ability to be agile, using the environment to cripple foes, or rooted like a bulwark against encroaching foes with a huge boost to power.
These core classes then open into two advanced classes that add radical differences in appearance, battle companions, explosive skills, and strategies to utilize them in a fight.
Do you plan on bringing the game to platforms other than the PC?
We have definite plans for PC, Mac, and Linux. Outside that, iOS is likely with some control scheme tweaks to the engine. We’d love to bring it to PS4/Vita as well, and are hard at work with several parties to see what we can do to bring it to those platforms.
Are there any closing thoughts you would like to leave our readers with before we conclude this interview?
Only to support projects you love, especially as so many of the games I’ve played lately are indie games. I think it’s pretty amazing that we live in a time where the little guy can make something that once was only possible in huge studios, and community funding is integral to that dream.