We look at 5 of the most interesting games that never were.
Lords of Xulima Melds the Very Best with the Fairly New
Being the greatest breeding ground for games we’d probably never see otherwise, Kickstarter has spawned some absolutely incredible projects. Earlier this year we took a look at Expeditions: Conquistador, Logic Artists’ epic turn-based adventure, and while it sated an itch I never knew I had, I quickly grew depressed thinking I’d have to wait forever for the next up and coming genre-bender to enamor me once more; Lords of Xulima seems to be that answer. Out of the mists of the abyss, Numantian Games has emerged launching a crowd-funding campaign for their upcoming Lords of Xulima, a turn-based RPG set in an original universe that looks absolutely thrilling.
I look at a lot of Kickstarter projects – it’s part of my job. While it’s impossible to directly affect each campaign (and I wish I could!) I personally try to pick out the few I see with the most potential. It’s a hard call because even some of the ones I try to feature end up invariably failing, but that’s how this thing sometimes works. Don’t fret though, Lords of Xulima is already funded but a project as ambitious as this one could use some more love. A lot more love.
After watching through the initial pitch video, I found myself scratching my chin thinking that somehow Numantian Games made this work. It’s easy to say that the foundation has been laid with legendary games like Baldur’s Gate, Wizardry and Might & Magic but to take elements from each and successfully craft them into one working behemoth steam engine – that’s what’s truly impressive. An intriguing overworld system, unadulterated open-world, customizing the classes and stats of your devoted team fully, all of these elements were revolutionized well over 15 years ago, but as irony would have it, they’re also very rarely used well in contemporary development. There’s still some magic in old-school game design and when you blend it with the modern era’s technology, well, that’s just good sense.
Lords of Xulima is offering up a guaranteed 60 hours worth of gameplay upon initial release. I’m never one to judge a title solely by the amount of time I put into it, but that’s what a full cylinder of ambition looks like. Unwrapped, there’s nine distinct classes, 100 unique skills, more than 30 dungeons to explore and that’s when the usual pessimist yells out ‘Numbers are fun!’ In a way, they’re right. Numbers tend to make games that we haven’t had hands on time with seem more approachable or, at the very least, allows people to get even more excited about them. If we hadn’t already seen the game in action, I’d be standing in the back of the crowd with my arms crossed exclaiming that we’ll just have to wait and see. In this case, it’s a bit different.
Plenty of Kickstarters have come and gone, but now most of them are either providing a demo or showcasing direct gameplay; a much needed addition to the crowd-funding process. Lords of Xulima falls into the latter, even “>allowing us to see the game engine that was custom built for the creation process. Perhaps the most glorious part of the taste Numantian Games gave us rests in the first-person combat of yore. Yes, you’ll run around town and explore environments in an overworld akin to Secret of Mana or maybe even the old-school Final Fantasy series, but once you encounter a baddie the world implodes and you’re taken to a battle screen with the enemy starting into your soul. Also, remember Final Fantasy X’s turn counter? Lords of Xulima totally has one.
For narrative lovers, like myself, it’s important to state how crucial the story for Lords of Xulima will be. It appears Gaulen will suffice as the protagonist by what’s written on the Kickstarter, but at the same time it appears you could create a custom character (ala Secret of Mana) and have him/her fit the role while the story moves about them. Whatever the case, there’s deep lore threaded here and I personally can’t wait to see how far it leads.
There’s still less than two weeks on Numantian Games’ Kickstarter, so if you believe in the cause throw a little change their way. Supporting the backbone of our industry feels pretty good, doesn’t it?