Yesterday over on Reddit Lab Zero started an AMA (Ask Me Anything) thread so fans could learn more about their plans with Indivisible. What started as a small buzz last month has grown into full blown excitement for this fighting game, RPG, and platformer hybrid. As with any AMA there was some really great information, and a fair deal of mindless dribble and repeat questions to sift through. I grabbed some of the best quotes to help you see some of the cool new things they're cooking up.
When asked about the expected size of the roster of available characters, Lab Zero CEO Peter Bartholow had this to say:
Our current goal for story-critical, non-crossover characters is 27. This could change, but that's our goal at this time. But regarding budgeting, we expect that Indivisible will probably have around the total frames of all of Skullgirls. The Incarnations in there now have around 150-200 frames of animation each, and might get as high as 250 each in the final game. Skullgirls characters averaged around 1500 frames each, so we can likely do around 6-7 Incarnations for the frames of one Skullgirls character.
Animation frames aren't the only thing, though. Making RPG characters is much faster than making fighting game characters. In a fighting game, the design is baked into the art - each animation of a fighting game character has to be meticulously timed and posed before it's drawn. But with an RPG, the timing isn't as important, so the design/art iteration time is much faster.
For comparison, the 4 chararacters and all the monsters in the Indivisible prototype were about as much work as one Skullgirls character.
When asked about the depth of the included fighting mechanics in the game, Design Director Mike Zaimont had this to say:
I consider our fighting game background INCREDIBLY important for making Indivisible, because we want combat to be based on player skill. Timing, readability, human reaction time, and the ability to clearly communicate to the player what's going on are super important in making fighting games, and we got a lot of good practice from making Skullgirls.
Howeeeeeeeever, don't forget that Indivisible is an RPG - not everyone plays fighting games, and some combination of those things is often the reason why they don't! A lot of people enjoy the IDEA of a fighting game, that is, "choose a character you like and do cool stuff", but not the reality of a fighting game, in that practice is required to really be good at it. That's IMO why beat-em-ups ("belt scrollers"?) are popular, too - they scratch the fighting-game-idea itch without necessarily having the skill ceiling.
I am definitely planning to add benefits for twitch skill in the full game, like properly timed blocks reducing damage, or juggles/OTGs granting additional meter/giving back portions of your action bar. BUT! Those would probably be learned or equipable (equippable?) as the game progresses and have associated downsides should you muck them up, like if you miss the just-frame block you take additional damage. So if you choose to go for the really twitch-skill-heavy route then you gotta make sure you're on point!
When asked about the HUB world of Ajna's Inner Realm, Creative Director and Lead Concept Designer Alex Ahad had this to say:
Ajna's inner realm is in her mind, so your ability to access it would be practically at any time. It's effectively her pause menu and home castle at the same time.
Travel through the world would be in more traditional means, discovering locations by reaching them. Certain areas would have something similar to ley lines, where you can travel back to previously discovered ley line points. The idea would be that all of your incarnations, both the playable and non playable ones, could interact with you in the Inner Realm
You can check out the full AMA thread here. Also be sure to check out the full write-up we did on the Indivisible prototype, no available for free on Windows, Mac, and Linux! Keep an eye out for more news from Indivisible, as it is looking like a game very much worth playing.