At the Penny Arcade Expo this year the team at developer N-Space held a panel to discuss their upcoming 4+1 Dungeons & Dragons game, Sword Coast: Legends. N-space CEO Dan O’Leary along with Design Director Tim Scwalk, Community Manager Ash Sevilla and the game’s principal writer Jay Turner were on the panel which was moderated by Wizards of the Coast’s Greg Tito. The game has been in development for some time and while much has been made of the game’s creative aspects, allowing one player to act as Dungeon Master while four others take roles within the adventuring party, their panel began by taking a little more time to discuss the game’s single player campaign.
The campaign experience is estimated at around 40 hours in length and allows you to create a party of four out of several different character choices. All characters are fully voice acted and each has a unique personality to add to the complete party. The campaign can be played by a single player or as a co-op game of up to four people.
In addition, they announced the first round of DLC will be called Rage of Demons. This is also the next campaign module being released by Wizards of the Coast for the 5th edition of the tabletop version of Dungeons and Dragons, giving players the ability to play through the campaign in the traditional sense or in the video game version.
N-Space views the game as a modified version of the asymmetric gameplay of something like Evolve, except here, as opposed to being 4 vs. 1, it’s 4 plus one because the DM is not working to destroy their party. Unless they are. Some DMs do that. No judgements.
The focal point of the game is still the idea of creating a Dungeons and Dragons campaign in a virtual world for your party to play through. The game uses Wizards of the Coast’s ruleset for 5th edition D&D. Some steps, like the traditional mechanic of combat rounds, take place behind the scenes giving the game a more real time sense. Others have been slightly modified for the video game version of D&D. The Dungeon Master has access to all creatures and environment types as well as the ability to create NPCs. The Dm does not have absolute freedom however. Dungeons, as an example, are randomly generated. The DM can set some parameters for size and difficulty but from there it is left to the game to create the dungeon, although the player can recreate a random dungeon over and over again until they get something they like. The ability to create a dungeon from scratch is something we may see in a future update.
It actually a looks a lot like creating an MMO, just on a much smaller scale. You can create NPCs who give out quests, set the parameters for success as well as what reward will be received, or additional quests will be unlocked, upon completion. Game areas can be created in advance or on the fly during the adventure, giving the DM a great deal of freedom in their ability to be creative.
The Rage of Demons DLC will be available to people who pre-order the game before it launches on Steam September 29th. In addition, it was announced that Sword Coast: Legends would allow for cross play, licenses could be used between PC, Mac, and Linux, and all would be able to play together regardless of operating system. A console version is planned for somewhere down the road.