The gaming world has been anxiously awaiting an injection of RPG adrenaline. There are a lot of indie games to enjoy, but big name adventures like Dragon Age: Inquisition and The Witcher 3, are still far off. With all the modifications, Skyrim on PC is a great escape, but probably starting to lose its luster with some of you (shocking allegation I know). What we need is something to tide us over, a great RPG experience to bridge the gap between now and the next-gen. Developer Spiders is hoping to give us just what we need with Bound by Flame.
This isn't the next Skyrim and it isn't going to compete with Dragon Age, Spiders has been very adamant in making that fact perfectly clear. The company isn't looking to create a sprawling, open world epic, but is instead focused on crafting a gripping, story-based journey. “It’s not open world, it’s hub-like,” says producer Walid Miled. “So you go to a chapter, you have the greatest level you can go to with various quests you can do in any different order. You can go from level to level inside a chapter until you’ve finished all the story-based quests and then you can go on to the next chapter and so on.”
Spiders' vision for the story is pretty interesting, revolving around a fantasy world that is under siege by seven ice lords. You'll control the mercenary Vulcan, who has been called upon to deal with the growing threat. Hoards of powerful enemies await you, including massive rotting flesh-golems, monstrous arachnids, and towering bone-knights. Vulcan attempts to summon a fire demon to aid him in his quest and instead becomes consumed by the creature's spirit, transforming the hero into a flame-infused hybrid.
Bound by Flame takes the traditional RPG approach by offering the player three separate skill trees to travel down. The first tree will unlock skills that are more appropriate for a warrior, giving Vulcan tanky abilities and allowing him to make use of swords and axes. The second tree is for all you rogue fans, giving you bows, knives, and stealthy skills. The third tree makes use of the story arc, allowing you to unlock firey abilities from Vulcan's demon side. This tree may make you more susceptible to damage (ice lords) but you'll become an incredibly powerful being. Although, the more you turn to Vulcan's inner demon, the less human you'll become.
Bound by Flame is another choose-your-own adventure, but with much more on the line. Like Fable, the choices you make will send you down separate paths, but we aren't yet sure if this is a tale of good and evil. Perhaps Vulcan's demon side isn't a benevolent force that is bent on outward destruction, but is instead a power that can be harnessed and molded to suit the world's heroic needs. Or perhaps this is simply a struggle between good, Vulcan himself, and evil, the demon that has taken residence in his form.
Regardless of the end-game scenario, Bound by Flame seems to focus heavily on decision making, and developers seem motivated to create a product where your decisions have an actual influence. Your choices will have an effect on the story, and different endings can be achieved depending on the moves you make throughout your journey.
This game won't replace the AAA-titles that you all love and enjoy, and Spiders doesn't expect it to. They simply want to tell a story, and they are well aware that they do not have the necessary resources to compete with some of the bigger developers out there. The game is estimated to take around 20 to 25 hours total to complete, but with multiple endings and varying side-quests, you might find yourself replaying this release a few times. This is definitely a game that all you RPG fans will want to keep your eyes on.
Bound by Flame is currently being developed for PS4, but according to Spiders the release will be a multi-platform affair, in order to appeal to a wide audience. Expect to see this title on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC as well. There is no word on whether or not this game will ever make it to Xbox One.