- Achilles: Legends Untold — Dark Point Games’ debut title — was released on November 2, 2023.
- The action RPG mixed with Soulslike elements is the first game centered around the Greek hero.
- We interviewed developers at Dark Point Games, discussing in-depth details of their most recent title.
2023 has been the year for high innovation in the gaming industry, and as far as Soulslikes go, a myriad of those have come out, gracing this heightened-difficulty genre. Achilles: Legends Untold while avoiding to follow in the same footsteps ends up pulling its own thing off in a way that feels unique and authentic. It’s an action RPG that features one of the greatest Greek warriors of all time taking center stage—Achilles.
eXputer had the privilege to interview Dark Point Games — the studio that has helmed Achilles: Legends Untold — in recent times to go over the game’s development, its inspirations, and some of the challenges that the developing team had to tackle as they went about manifesting the title. Catch up with the entire read ahead for all of the interesting bit.
Questions: So we know how the team has taken inspiration from notable Soulslike titles, especially from FromSoftware. During the early access period, there were quite a few non-FromSoftware releases; did the team get some inspiration from those as well?
Dark Point Games: We did not draw direct inspiration from other non-FromSoftware soulslike titles, although we have certainly enjoyed a few of them! However, we did look at and draw inspiration from other action games, such as God of War and Hades.
Questions: During the game’s closed beta, you discussed the decision of the game’s isometric POV and fixed camera and how it was perfect for your team size. Now, with the Achilles: Legends Untold’s full release, can you weigh in more details on how that has shaped the game’s development since then?
Dark Point Games: The decision to use isometric POV and fixed camera angles were made early on in the production, as our GAIA AI system works particularly well with that perspective. We didn’t want to create another Souls-like TPP with that over-the-shoulder camera perspective, and [we] wanted to create a different mix of elements that we like.
Questions: The main campaign was overhauled entirely for the full release to offer existing players a lot of new content and many things to explore. Was that something the team decided on a long time ago, or did that occur later in development?
Dark Point Games: The decision was made after receiving Early Access feedback. We saw player feedback and reviews, and analyzing those, we made the decision that the story needed to be taken back to the drawing board. Player feedback was very important in helping us shape a better adventure, and we feel very grateful to all our players.
Questions: Were there any challenges or difficulties faced during the entire development period? Or should I say, the Achilles’ Heel of the team?
Dark Point Games: I think the greatest difficulty we faced was the Global COVID pandemic, which caused almost half of the game’s production to be during the pandemic. The studio was created in November 2019, and soon after that, Covid struck. This forced us to change our work dynamics, planning and communication. There was a lot of adjusting, especially online.
Another challenge of ours came after the Early Access release. After the Beta release, the feedback was very positive, especially from the Souls-like players. When the Early Access release took place, a lot of players, due to the isometric POV and camera angles, thought the game was a hack-and-slash production, which caused some confusion. The difficulty for us was that we wanted players to perceive the game for what it was, not what they assumed. In the end, we made the game enjoyable for hack-and-slash players as well as die-hard Souls-like fans, mainly through difficulty settings.
Questions: One thing I found most fascinating is the GAIA AI System. Can you explain what it is for those who don’t know and some examples of it in-game? Also, tell us how it came to fruition.
Dark Point Games: The GAIA AI System is essentially a self-aware and self-acting AI mechanism. The idea behind it was to make the AI run and choose actions randomly and spontaneously throughout the game at any given point.
For example, some games have NPCs with scripted actions; we wanted NPCs to run similarly to those scripted ones but without the script and randomly rather than following one. How our GAIA system approaches this is that it decides on its own which actions the NPCs will carry out at any point in the game.
An example of this would be a Cyclops attack, which, on a random attack, would attack by throwing a barrel or a skeleton. They can pick an NPC, eat him and regenerate life. Those actions and options are in the GAIA AI system, and the system, on its own initiative, decides which action the Cyclops will carry out, which in replayable gameplay can vary as it is random.
Another example can be NPC soldiers that attack out of character, and randomly, they can join forces and carry out a combined attack by one ducking and another using this opportunity to bounce off their shield and carry out a stronger attack.
These events are all unpredictable and are randomly decided by our GAIA AI System.
Questions: It’s safe to say that Achilles: Legends Untold is the first game to focus on the Greek warrior truly. I’m sure the team felt the pressure of that, and I’m curious to know how much of research was put behind some of the lore aspects of the game.
Dark Point Games: As the ‘Untold’ part in the game’s title implies, we did take creative liberty in the story. We have done our research on Greek Mythology and culture, which we wanted to be historically accurate, but like in God of War, we took the mythology and made it our own. Our focus was to create areas, maps, climates, landscapes, armor, gods, and characters that lined up with that mythology but with our own take on it.
Questions: The game’s pacing is slower than the typical hack & slash, but it is still faster than other Soulslike titles, which makes sense since it takes elements from both genres. But is there another genre or a specific title that inspired other aspects of the game?
Dark Point Games: Our main inspiration besides Dark Souls was Hades and God of War, but as mentioned in one of the previous questions, a great number of players assumed that the game was a hack-and-slash title. We tried to combine those two genres and draw inspiration from where we saw fit and appropriate for our title.
Questions: What has the general reception been like for the game so far? I remember there were some mixed reactions after early access, but it has been a long time since then.
Dark Point Games: Throughout Early Access, we focused on improving the game’s quality to make it the best it possibly could be for the full release. We’re happy with how everything turned out and that the content is up to par with our and, hopefully, our players’ expectations. The game had a new story introduced along with much more gameplay, elements, mechanics, crafting system, maps, NPCs and more, which we think the players appreciated on the full release compared to the Early Access one.
Questions: How big is the team at Dark Point Games? And are you planning on expanding it following the studio’s debut release?
Dark Point Games: Our Team at Dark Point Games currently consists of 13 people. Currently, there are no plans for expansion as we sit at a comfortable team size. The potential expansion will be determined by the potential new titles, whose scope has not yet been determined, but we hope we can tell you more about it in the future.
Questions: Now, with the full release of Achilles: Legends Untold, is the team looking toward the creation of the next project? If so, can we get a tease on what to expect?
Dark Point Games: For about a year now, we have been in pre-production of ‘Brightness,’ our newest title, and we’re pleased to announce that for about 2 months, the game has been in the works. Can’t wait to tell you more about it!
Questions: Is there anything you would like to say to the audience? Something we haven’t touched upon?
Dark Point Games: We’ve made quite a journey from Beta to Full release throughout Early Access, and we’re grateful for the audience’s response and welcoming words for our title. The positive response has been overwhelming, and we’re grateful for our players and media’s feedback, as well as their willingness to put trust in our game. We hope you continue to enjoy playing Achilles: Legends Untold and support us in the future.
Achilles: Legends Untold recently came out of early access but with a complete makeover to keep it appealing for both old and new players. Though this might be Dark Point Games’ first title, the decision to make these changes over time and implement them with a team of 13 is nothing short of impressive. Now, after delivering a game that both Soulslike and hack-and-slash players somehow enjoy, the devs are moving on to their next project.
That doesn’t mean the studio has taken its hands off of Achilles, as it has continued to polish the title post-launch. Nevertheless, the upcoming project called “Brightness” has been in development for three months, and the studio should share more information on that in the future. Until then, you can snatch Achilles: Legends Untold with a 30% discount, which will end November 16, 2023.
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