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Midora: Interview with Epic Minds

Snow and Book of Knowledge

Midora

 

Sometime in June, a simple indie development team known as Epic Minds added their latest project, Midora, to Kickstarter. In a sense, it is a shout-out to classic 2D action-adventure games such as the Secret of Mana and Legend of Zelda. Epic Mind boasts a large, pixel art world full of dungeons, colorful characters, a huge story and much more.

You play as Snow, the girl you see above, with hair the color of… well snow. She is the last born of her kind, known as the Artezians, who have had the power to manipulate water for generations. As you play as Snow, you will learn to master your use of water over the course of the story. Not only will you collect runes to further expand the use of your water power, but you will learn the art of Alchemy, mining, enchanting, and so much more. In fact, there are a total of over 200 items planned for Midora.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an action-adventure game without the enemies. A large amount of enemies are planned to fill the world of Midora, from the weakest of spiders to the most challenging bosses. Speaking of Midora – the land is huge. There are 12 dungeons, six cities, the King’s castle, and many unique areas to explore. Like in a classic 2D Zelda, there are secrets all around filled with treasures, items, and more.

One of the best parts of putting a game on Kickstarter are the rewards the backers get, and the people behind Midora have giving backers some nice rewards. For just $10, not only will you get a DRM-Free copy of the game, but also every future DLC and your name in the credits. But the coolest rewards start after $100. That tier will get you your own NPC in the game – I’m going to go with a Ruby Knight, of course. Later tiers include making your item, quest and even an enemy that will wander the land of Midora. The Kickstarter ends on the 13th of July, with a goal of $60,000. Stretch goals all include releasing Midora on consoles, like 3DS and Wii U, to eventually Xbox One and PS4. If these stretch goals are not met, they still plan on releasing them on these consoles, just at a much later time.

 

Enemies

 

Something else that Midora will ship with is an Arena Mode. This is a special mode that allows you to play a set of maps and challenges. This mode will actually be released before the game is released, to give players a chance to fight enemies and use items in a none spoiler way. This will even include a level editor, which will allow you to create your own maps and challenges, and what the AI does as well.

Now, a problem most people seem to have when they see this game is they yell it is a Zelda clone. I can happily tell you that this is not the case. Yes, the design does look similar to Minish Cap, but the designs are not being directly copied one bit. Minish Cap is a very high influence to Midora. I highly suggest reading the following pages if you have concerns with the look and gameplay, and also read on.

 

Graphics Controversy || Gameplay Concerns

 

Interview with Mhyre, Game Director of Epic Minds

 

I got the chance to sit down and talk with Mhyre, the creative genius behind Midora, to learn more about the game and what he had in store. I learned a lot about the game; stuff that makes me even more excited than I was at the start. The best part? It’s all documented and you can read answers to some of your most compelling questions!

 

HPP: Just who are you Mhyre? Tell me a bit about yourself.

Mhrye: I’m a young web developer from France, CEO of Epic Minds and Game Director for Midora.

HPP: Have you worked on anything in the past?

Mhrye: Yes and no. I have worked on a few small projects, but never finished anything. It was nothing serious anyway.

HPP: How would you explain Midora to someone who hasn’t heard of the project?

Mhyre: Midora is my first serious project and quite an ambitious one. It’s a 2D action-adventure with RPG elements, heavily inspired by 90’s classics such as The Legend of Zelda and Secret of Mana while still hoping to bring something new to the table. A modern touch with a bit of nostalgia involved.

HPP: It is very obvious that the art is inspired on Minish Cap – what made you decide to go in that direction?

Mhyre: For the very simple reason that Minish Cap is my favourite game of all time. There is absolutely nothing I dislike about this game, and I think the game has the most charming art style I have ever seen. Today’s gaming industry focuses on AAA titles with a lot of 3D / CGI action. Indie developers make innovative games but with, more often than not, a very poor quality of pixel art. I think we need quality pixel art games back, but games that still have intense gameplay. Midora is an attempt to bring back and combine gorgeous pixel art and exciting gameplay, and Minish Cap as primary source of inspiration is certainly not a bad place to start if you ask me.

 

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HPP: What made you decide to bring Midora on Kickstarter? I noticed Epic Minds posted the game earlier this year, the canceled it?

Mhyre: I think everyone knows at this point the power of crowdfunding platforms. I chose Kickstarter because it’s the most popular one, especially for video game projects. The previous kickstarter campaign was created because we needed funds to continue working on the project, else it would fail. There was nobody around at the time (christmas, new year’s eve, etc..) to review and spread the word, but we were mostly unprepared. It was a mistake on our part but we had no other choice. While the campaign was clearly going to fail, I decided to cancel it because I found more funds from another source to continue working on the project. Those funds were used to better prepare ourselves, until an eventual comeback in February… which happened in June.

HPP: I love the reward tiers for the Kickstarter – what made you choose to allow the backers to create NPCs, items, etc?

Mhyre: Working with backers is a way to create a community of super fans, right from the start. Because we planned to have so much content, we decided it would be great to see what some people could come up with, because we know there are a lot of Zelda fans out there. We’ve had people come up with item ideas that will allow us to extend a few gameplay mechanics in the right way. We can’t spoil all the fun of course, but I can say we’re nowhere near regretting that move. Design tiers are of course limited, and we reserve the right to modify/refuse any ideas that will not fit with the story or the way we want people to play our game. It’s been fun so far, I hope it stays that way.

HPP: Can we hear about the story, and what kind of adventure we expect Snow to go on?

Mhyre: The story picks up centuries after the great war, a war which opposed the four elements: fire, water, earth, air. Those same four elements were used by The Architect, a god also known as The Shaman, to shape the world. Prior to the war, each element was given to mysterious entities that were supposed to act as guardians. A war quickly emerged, with Fire trying to burn down everything in its way. The shaman then decided to give control over the water element to the Artezians, a tribe of white-haired and blue-eyed people. They pushed the flames back, but before they could truly declare victory, the shaman decided to seal all four elements in his staff. Everyone being powerless, peace returned to the land for many centuries. Snow is an Artezian and the last [born] of her descent. One day, without knowing it, she triggers a chain of events that will break the shaman’s staff, held inside the Kingdom’s castle. The four elements being free, the Inferno threatens the world once again. Snow quickly learns about her powers, and is sent on a mission to find the four elemental shards that once composed the staff by the King himself.

 

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HPP: How will Snow’s water powers come into gameplay? Will she ever gain other powers, such as fire, etc?

Mhyre: Snow can only generate water attacks, because she’s Artezian. Gathering the elemental shards will not allow her to use the other elements. Another way to use the other elements will be by using runes. Snow can craft those runes by transferring spells from scrolls with a magic hammer onto a small rock. Some of those runes are activated with water, others when they break. Combining those runes with water will be essential to get through some obstacles or defeat certain enemies. Almost everything reacts with water, which is a great thing! An example I can give would be Snow generating a water bomb, which will form a puddle on the ground. Once an enemy walks over it, just throw a Shock rune into the puddle to zap him instantly! With all other elements, the possibilities are endless.

Aside from that, Snow will slowly learn how to control water, and generate more. She had no idea of her powers before, which is why she is weak at the beginning. Once she gets the hang of it, she will be able to generate water attacks and control that water in mid-air to move it around, redirect it. Other attacks involve devastating use of water, but once again… no spoilers!

HPP: On the kickstarter, you boast that Midora will have over 200 items available. Will they all be usable? What will the alchemizing, crafting, etc systems be like?

Mhyre: Some items will be passive gear giving you extra abilities (e.g: belt, boots). But 90% of them will be usable, as something you equip/ready in your hands. We have food, potions, runes, books, swords, shields, bombs, and more. A lot of items are used to create other items, such as ingredients making potions, others to craft new weapons. Alchemy and crafting systems will be fairly easy to use. Alchemy requires the use of a recipe book, even if you already know the ingredients for a potion. A blacksmith will need to teach you how to craft something before you can do it on your own too.

HPP: What will you and the other guys on the team do if you do not hit your target goal by the 13th?

Mhyre: The kickstarter is nothing but an attempt to get all the funds we need to create the game at once. We have a lot of people supporting us, which means plenty of alternatives to fund the game, even if it takes more time. One thing is for sure, we will not give up on the project, ever. Right now, our Greenlight page had quite a bit of success (currently ranked #24 out of 1725 greenlight games), which means we could try and add Midora on Early Access. We have Midora on the Humble Store too, which means people will be able to preorder the game to support us instantly.

HPP: To end the interview, one last question. Why should I back Midora?

Mhyre: Midora is our first game project as a studio. As explained previously, we hope to bring back the kind of game the market, the industry, and the players need to play again. As independent developers, we are sure to innovate on a few things. We have a story to tell, gorgeous art, an exciting soundtrack, a vast world for you to explore, fun combat mechanics, challenging bosses and puzzles. It’s up to you to believe in us. For fans of the genre, if you chose to back us early, you can be certain you will be rewarded with a great game.

 

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Other Information

 

As stated above, the game will be on Kickstarter until July 13th, and has until then to get a total of $60,000 backed. Epic Minds can also be found on Steam’s Greenlight page. Go vote for them! They deserve all the support in the world. Just look below for all of the links you’d need.

Kickstarter Page

Midora Facebook Page || Midora Twitter  || Steam Greenlight || Mhyre’s Twitter

ALL game copies start at $10! (any platform/console)
Add-ons: Game copy – $5 || Game + Soundtrack – $10

Midora plans on releasing in the Summer of 2015, with the arena mode being released 6 months before then. Check out the trailer below as well, it won’t disappoint!

What are you most looking forward to in Midora? Leave a comment below!

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.heypoorplayer.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/andratar.png[/author_image] [author_info]Andrew started out as the site’s resident media monkey, posting our stuff on Reddit and spreading the Hey Poor Player seed. After a while, he grew discontent with this meager position, and so began a one-man uprising, and now posts his fair share of news and articles as well as dabbling in video content. Andrew has a passion for the nostalgic and the nintendo, having found his first inspirations in games on the Nintendo 64, and aspires to one day make games himself. He also has a strong taste for collect-a-thon games and achievement hunting. Favorite games: Banjo Kazooie, Kingdom Hearts, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Monster Hunter series[/author_info] [/author]

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