April 30, 2013 12:52 PM | John Polson
Tom Cannon, EVO fighting game tournament co-founder, emailed us to talk about his and his brother's passion project, which turns out is not a fighting game. Instead Stonehearth on Kickstarter is a combination of their love of complex simulations with the 16-bit feel of RPGs, wrapped in a sandbox strategy game with town building, crafting, and battles. The game initially will ship on Windows around September 2014, and is available at the $15 tier.
Tom shared with me what he thought separated Stonehearth from the other sandbox games. "We have a heavy emphasis on modding and sharing of mods. Our modding story is inspired by Dungeons and Dragons, where once you had the core rule set you could totally go nuts and write your own adventures. We will provide APIs and tools to change practically anything in the game (UI, new items, new monsters, entire new gameplay systems, tweak the AI, etc), and online tools to help players publish their stuff and find cool mods published by others."
As fighting games are the developers' background, I asked if this game could at all appeal to fighting fans. "The genres are totally different of course, but we've been hardcore fighters for over 20 years now. It's inevitable that we draw some inspiration from the spirit of fighting games," Tom said.
"For instance, Stonehearth is a game about making big, meaningful choices and living with the consequences. In fighting games you have to pick a character and deal with not only their strengths but their weaknesses as well. You can't be both [Street Fighter's] Zangief and Dhalsim (don't talk to me about Seth...just....don't). So as you play Stonehearth, we want to present you some big decisions, and you won't be able to have it all. Right away there will be choices about how to invest in economy vs. military strength, or in mobile army vs. static defenses. RTS games have a similar concept, where there is a constant tradeoff between economy, army size, and army quality.
"Stonehearth is also a game about tinkering and mastering new systems, which is definitely my favorite aspect of fighters. Just the idea that you have a limited set of tools that can be combined in different ways, and you're job as a player is to figure out the rules of the system and optimize the use of those tools for any given situation. There will be plenty of opportunities to play around "in the lab" to build the most productive farm, or the best arrangement of defenses, or the right army composition."
There's more to learn about Stonehearth, so be sure to check out its Kickstarter page and check out the gorgeous in-game art.