Sharpen your axes and smelt your swords because the time to embark on a brand new adventure across the digital frontier has finally arrived with the launch of multiplayer VR RPG A Township Tale from Alta Reality. Starting today you can grab the online medieval life simulator on the Oculus Quest Platform for $9.99 USD.
A Township Tale combines elements from MMOs and life simulation games by tasking you with banding together with friends and strangers alike to craft weapons, establish communities, and fight monsters. Life in A Township Tale is just as much about who you become as what you do as you can choose your own path in a brave new world.
Do you enjoy chopping down trees for supplies? Consider becoming a local woodcutter. Maybe you prefer toiling away in the mines instead? Luckily there’s always a place for miners here. Or maybe you’d rather take up arms against monsters to keep your village safe? Then the path of a warrior or archer is best for you!
There’s a lot going on in A Township Tale, so to better understand the game and what makes it so unique, we chatted with Game Director Boramy Unn about the game and its development.
A Township Tale has been in development for a long time. What's it been like bringing a digital world like this to life over so many years?
Boramy Unn: Throughout the years, we've made careful strides towards the vision for A Township Tale. Having a live game with a community means that the game itself often dictates what it needs next, and the game's grand design is very much tailored to that. We plot out gameplay loops like the entire blacksmithing process for weapons, and then we can theorize on what will be demanded as a result of that. Once the update goes live, we talk directly with the community and can affirm or debunk our theories. We do this process constantly, and then we have a game!
This is a game that is really hard to classify. It's got MMO elements, life simulation elements, and it's an RPG too. How would you categorize A Township Tale?
BU: We'd categorize A Township Tale as a multiplayer RPG, at its base. We share some features and mechanics that are similar to MMOs, but we’re definitely not designed for the “massive” part of that. Our goal with the game from the very start was to take a deep dive into VR mechanics and interaction fidelity for multiplayer games—having hundreds of players at once wasn't a part of that equation.
For the life simulation element of A Township Tale, there isn't a tangible category that players can relate to. It might be time for the games industry to come up with a new genre!
The promise here is that you can do and be pretty much whatever you want—but we’re sure a lot of people are curious about what the actual “game” is like. Or is this purely a sandbox?
BU: In its current state, players collect resources to build stronger weapons and gear to fight tougher foes. The exploration and discovery of mechanics and how far they go is a point of key interest for our community. As a live-service game, our objective is to provide additional methods of utilizing these systems and mechanics to create a unique adventure experience. Future updates will involve mechanics like house building, dungeons, bosses, and a lot more biomes that require specific character resistances. Throughout the dungeons and bosses, an expository story will unfold about the state of the world that will be the players’ main objective.
Why did you set out to make A Township Tale? What were the main sources of inspiration?
BU: We have a lot of creative inspirations from fantasy books, movies, and games. A lot of fantasy worlds and stories start with the idea of the humble village, like the Shire from Lord of the Rings. Leading a quiet, happy life but embarking on an adventure into an expansive world beyond is the birth of many fantasies. This theme was the driver for the design of the world, where players could return to their quaint little corner of the world and tell larger-than-life stories.
Another big inspiration was simply VR technology itself. Before A Township Tale, we worked on generic systems and would import props in our sandbox. We would act out ideas for mechanics and walk around various environments as we brainstormed the potential of this technology. When we found out how precise VR could be, we knew we wanted to make a game with really tangible interactions.
Most players on Quest will be brand new to the game, but it's changed a ton over the years. What’s one of the biggest changes you've made between now and what was originally planned?
BU: A lot of the updates and changes we made to A Township Tale went according to plan, but a big change that we brought forward are some of the economy mechanics for A Township Tale. Players are able to set up trade stalls in the game world so that they can sell items and resources. Initially, we set this up so that players don't have to be online to act as vendors, but it birthed a lot of passion for more economic structure in the game. This has led to us leaning into some economic balance for future features like house building and town upkeep ideas.
Obviously this is a game that's best enjoyed with friends, but will it be accessible for players to find their way solo? Is it easy to meet and make new friends in the world?
BU: Players are definitely able to play the game on their own, although it means they have to work extra hard to accomplish tasks. Repairing some town facilities requires a large amount of resources for example. The solo experience of A Township Tale is akin to surviving on an island on your own, where you have to personally address your needs and so progress is more methodical.
The game’s main menu will feature a host of servers that other players have opened up to join publicly. Once you’re in the game world, public map boards can be unlocked to reveal the world and where other players are gathering. Many of the town’s facilities act as a meeting ground, as well. Crafters are often seen loitering about and more than willing to chat!
As of the time of this writing, your Discord has over 65,000 members and the game isn't even technically out yet. How did you amass such a massive and eager fanbase?
BU: Our Discord is very much the home of A Township Tale’s community, and many would consider it a part of the game’s experience. Until relatively recently, joining Discord was the only way to receive the game as well. We wanted to make sure that new players had somewhere to speak to us or the community if they had questions or issues.
Now, our Discord has developed into the hub of A Township Tale’s news and activities. We notify players about updates, patches, server status, as well as new insights into the development of the game. Players find servers and communities to play with and can share their adventure through screenshots, videos, or art that they’ve made. And despite being a Discord about our game, we often discuss VR in general, new games, and share life stories there. It’s quite a relaxing place to make friends and hang out in general!
Will you continue to add new content and events to A Township Tale? Do you have any examples of the kinds of post-launch support plans you have in store?
BU: We have a series of key updates and features that we’re interested in bringing to A Township Tale. There are a multitude of features planned to grow out the concept of your role in town. House building is one of the most requested and most anticipated features. It will allow players to build their own homes and involve a series of new crafting/building processes to get the job done. This will really allow players to get creative in our world. Other roles like fishing, farming, and alchemy are also highly requested and on our roadmap.
For those interested in combat and danger, we plan to have difficult dungeons and bosses in the game. These will tell the story of the world and really challenge players’ skills at the game. Players looking for key objectives will be eager to gear up for the journey to the dungeon, through the dungeon, and to fight the terrible foes along the way. A magic system is also on its way and will play a major role in how players form parties to go on adventures.
There are a lot of ideas and designs yet to see light in A Township Tale. As an open-world game, there is room to explore these different concepts and our objective to create new VR interactions for a singular world is not yet over!