More than just another Diablo 2 clone?

Hey Gang,

Anyone here already heard about Fate?

At first, by the hype (introducing the casual gamer to the world of RPGs) and the screenshots it looked like WildTangent was doing nothing more than a BLATANT Diablo 2 ripoff (I mean the interface, character screen, inventory, potion belt, socketed items, etc.), but there are at least a few unique twists going on here:

  1. A Pet: Possibly in a salute to the old school game Nethack, in this game you start off with a little familiar/partner in crime pet. Not only does he level up and grow with you BUT, via some food items in the game, you can transform him temporarily (possibly even permanently in some cases) into any of the game’s various creatures (Dragons, Snow Panthers, Yeti, etc.).

  2. Choosing Your Fate: A big aspect that most RPGs never quite seem to handle well is character death. Its either a case of there is no other option but to simply reload your latest save point OR, like many MMPO games, death doesn’t really mean much of anything and you just dust yourself off and jump back into the fray. What they’ve done here that’s kinda cute is when you die you get three choices as to how you’d like to be resurrected. Something like either keeping all of your stuff and getting right back up where you were knocked out for a big chunk of change or getting sent back to town without some items for a lesser cost (not sure on the specifics here).

  3. Monsters Can Use Items: So more than just having items drop all sorts of prizes like most Diablo clones, it sounds as if the monsters will actually be using their special magical weapons or magical wands against you.

  4. Clever Heir System: While the game will let you play on as any of your character’s indefinitely, after killing the big baddy of the game there probably will come a time you want to play the game at a higher difficulty level (if not as a purely masochistic endeavour, its the only way to get some of the game’s rarer elite items). What this game therefore lets you do is start a new game as an heir to your previous character. This heir will get one of your items (which will even have its magical properties boosted a bit) and a few other perks (based on how many previous heroes have retired in this family line).

So while on the surface its going to look like a fluffier/cartoony Diablo clone, I’m hoping there will be more to it.

Its supposed to make the rounds May 18th for $19.95 being published by WildTangent.

Hmm… for $20 if it’s even 80% of a D2 clone it’ll be worthwhile.

I think the major trick to cloning Diablo though is to get a nice skill system and loot system working. Diablo didn’t have phenomenal gameplay, it hooked folks with the character building/skill interaction and the “just one more monster… maybe it’ll drop this nifty item I need” mechanic.

That’s interesting, hadn’t seen it before. Looks like Diablo and Darkstone had a baby.

there is fishing so how bad can it be?
All games with fishing minigames rock.

Yes, very cute. Will I still be able to reload? Because - and no offense, the game looks promising - to Hell with getting docked money or equipment because I didn’t click on the bats I fought in the Town of Grove (or was it the Grove in Town?) fast enough.

huh, loks neat. Fabliablo

The trailers actually give you a damned good idea of what to expect.

The first is a lot of town stuff with a little inventory and combat near the end while the second is almost all HOT DUNGEON ACTION!

Being Mr. Obsessive FanBoy at this point I’ve having a lot of fun playing the trailers and pausing on some of the inventory and other random pop-up text from the game.

I’m learning, for example, while pretty similar to Diablo’s inventory system, it looks like FAME will often be a requirement to weild some items as well as having the minimum prequisite stats. So you have to have some serious reknown before you can weild any of the elite items.

Another deal that I’m sure will add a little more dimension to the monsters is that they all seem to have fairly unique damage resistances/vulnerabilities (like a blob being extra susceptible to slashing and fairly immune to crushing damage…all of which you’ll see the second you highlight him, no need to guess at it).

If you are going to have video games are parents those are not bad ones to have.

If you are going to have video games are parents those are not bad ones to have.[/quote]
If, together, a clone of a game and that game have a baby, is that incest copulative masturbation?

If you are going to have video games are parents those are not bad ones to have.[/quote]
Depends, though. Who’s your Daddy? (Sorry)

I for one am looking forward to “decending” into the dungeon.

Wild Tangent? Is this going to use the same engine that they use to make skimpily clad polygonal women dance around to your mp3s in their winamp plugins?

Same as diablo 2’s merc system.

Basically the same as diablo 2’s harder difficulty settings, just with the heir crap thrown in. I doubt the heir will be any different.

Yeah, I wouldn’t claim they’re re-inventing the wheel here but this heir thing might be kind of clever (quoting designer guy here):

You get a random monster to defeat at the end of each game. Once you’ve defeated them, you can keep playing and going deeper, or you can elect to retire, at which point you can pass down an heirloom to your descendent, which gets a 25% increase to all magical bonuses, and automatically increases in grade. Your descendent also gains better starting fame based upon the number of times you have retired, which allows them to use Elite and Legendary items sooner…

The pet sounds a little cooler than the Diablo 2 hirelings as they can gain levels, you can change them into different creatures (temporarily or permanently), and it appears you can have them act as little pack mules running stuff into town for you while deep in the dungeon.

Hey Gang,

Here’s a recent IGN Interview with the WildTangent folk on FATE:

Looks like a game I’d want to play, but…

Says they made it in five months. That’s likely to spell trouble if you’re hoping for DII-caliber balance and gameplay.

Also, is it just me, or was the Wild Tangent rep trying too hard not to mention Diablo? Do people really think of “classics like Hack or Nethack” when they look at FATE screens? Diab-[size=6]no.[/size]


Hey Gang,

Yeah, both the interviewer and interviewee did seem to do a great job side stepping the D-Word, eh?

I’m assuming this is under advisement of the legal team or something but, yeah, as much as I truly believe this game might pull some clever twists to the old Diablo Clone formula and result in a superior game, to not mention their clearly biggest influence seems a little cheesey.

You truly believe that a Diablo clone programmed up in five months by a no name small developer can possibly be a superior game to Diablo 2, one of the most beloved games ever made and one that underwent years of programming and additional years of post-release tweaking? Especially with no like multiplayer support? Color me extremely skeptical.

Hey DrCrypt,

I’m not saying it will be a shoe in but really its all about production values. This IS a low budget single player hack and slash in the style of Diablo, knowing this it might still be a pretty enjoyable title. I mean in all of the developers hyperbole they never even hinted at any engaging storyline chock full of CGI cut scenes, did they?

Diablo, at its core, is a very spiffy looking glossed up Roguelike in the tradition of Rogue, Nethack, Moria, etc. This game, so far, looks like they used Diablo as their base (this had to make the designing a little easier when you’re not re-inventing the wheel and all) and then figured what subtle tweaks to that formula they could do to make there own game.

I’m hoping this will prove pretty solid and sell well (unless it has some hideous flaws we don’t know about, you just can’t beat the $20 price point for such an ambitious game). Its VERY CLEAR they had all sorts of additional ideas they couldn’t incorporate in this initial release either due to time constriants or they feared it would make things too complex. If this sells well enough we might even see a sequel or at least expansion in less than a year that add more depth to the game!

Hi - I’m Travis, and I’m the Producer/Designer/Dev/Waterboy for Fate, so I can answer any questions you’ve got. And more frankly than Marketing-sanitized interviews.

I should add that I am not an official spokesperson for WildTangent, and anything I say or do can not be attributable to them :)

So, to get it out of the way - this game obviously owes its soul to Diablo. That said, I’ve tried to do some interesting things with the formula, while taking advantage of Blizzard’s interface advances. Let’s face it - at this point, it’s tough to have an Action-RPG without some sort of quickslot system. Leave it out, and people wonder where it went.

Bill Dungsroman - when dying, you still have an option of forgoing the 3 Fate choices you are provided, and just quitting and loading from a previous save.

As far as Wildtangent goes - basically, this game has its own engine that isn’t built on the previous tech. However, it does use our DRM system for game unlocks, and requires a WT install for that.

The main aim of this was to see how far I could push it with the budget and timeline of a game like Zuma, that would be marketed in the same space. And obviously, to try to make the best game I could within that framework. I brought in a prototype, and got the go-ahead, and here we are.

Beyond that, I think the Munchkinesque gameplay of the Diablo formula, and the obsessive-compulsive, carrot-stick mechanics are pretty much a natural for casual gamers. A lot of the same risk-reward elements are present in a lot of casual games. So a great deal of effort went into adapting that to a play format that would allow casual players to pick up and put down the game at will, and keep coming back - and have it be deliverable in a way that they could download it to their work computers without the boss knowing :P As an example, Diablo always had the ‘stick’ that, if you stopped playing, you were transported back to town. It tended to keep you playing that extra hour, because there just HAD to be some loot around the corner, and if you saved and exited - well, you’d have to trek all the way back, Waypoints or no. Here, it’s save anywhere. I think it was necessary for the audience to have a quick-out, so that they could play in 15 minute sessions if required.

As far as tone goes, I wanted something more classic and ‘fun’ than Diablo. Before I got started on this, I did a port of the C64 classic Telengard - if you’re ridiculously nostalgic -
There’s a tongue-in-cheek quality to a lot of the classic RPGs that I miss in the modern ones. I miss ‘snarfing’. And so I wanted to make a game that incorporated that tone too.

Making the game 3D instead of 2D actually accelerated content development pretty dramatically. It’s a lot easier to assemble and seam together 3D tilesets, and there are a lot of interesting things you can do to share animations and media between 3D skeletal characters that can dramatically reduce your dev time. Having an art style that wasn’t realistic also made character design quicker and easier.
It did present some design problems - i.e., it is difficult to have ‘see through’ walls in a 3D world for various optimization reasons, but I’m pretty happy with the solutions we came up with for that. Pathfinding in a 3D level is also more of a pain in the butt, but the final result is pretty smooth and pleasing.

Anyway, if you have questions or anything, post 'em and I’ll answer as honestly as I can.