When Versus Evil and RUNWILD Entertainment dropped a gameplay trailer with added developer commentary for their ambitious RPG, Almighty: Kill Your Gods, back in June 2020, we just knew we had to find out more about the game. Some months on, we were given the chance to sit down with the Creative Director behind the game, filling in some details and finding out why this project should be one that appeals to Xbox gamers. Darran Thomas was more than happy to fill us in on how we’ll be hunting, providing and protecting…
Hi, please could you introduce yourself. What is your role at RUNWILD Entertainment and on Almighty: Kill Your Gods?
My name is Darran Thomas, I’m co-founder and Creative Director at RUNWILD Entertainment, and Game Director on Almighty.
So, sell it to us… why should gamers be keeping an eye out for Almighty: Kill Your Gods?
You take the role of an Alpha, a ninja werewolf-like character that needs to protect their Home Island and Kindred from demons, monsters and gods. Whether you like playing as a lone wolf rescuing your Kindred by throwing them over your shoulder and smashing through hordes of enemies to get them to safety, or running as a pack taking down gods, carrying off their head with their tongue comically flapping around as steal your prize, we think Almighty is an over the top fun take on the action looter shooter that doesn’t take its self too seriously.
How long has Almighty: Kill Your Gods been in development?
Almighty has been in development for around 4 years now, the game has evolved and grown as we have iterated, and as we gradually expose the game to more players we are continuing this process. It visually looks quite different to our early prototype that was a lot more cartoony due to us wanting to limit the scope due to our team size, but the game design is essentially the same as what we started with.
Could you tell us more about the demons, monsters and gods that we’ll come up against? How have they been created?
There are a range of enemies players will encounter in the game with various scales and power that pose different challenges individually or in the middle of an epic battle. The Lost are the demonic foot soldiers of the Elder Gods, magically twisted into mindless servants of their will. Guardians, magically powered bio-mechanical machines that protect the Elder Gods interests. Monsters, demi-god like creatures that can arrive from land sea or air, that can eat players alive and were created by the Elder Gods to cause chaos and fear. The gods themselves come in 3 types: the Overseer, Overlord and Highlord.
Is there one standout feature that separates Almighty: Kill Your Gods from all other action RPGs?
Almighty has a unique blend of tried and true features in a unique setting, but they all fit around the theme of you being an Alpha, being a protector and a provider. So rather than the focus being on just a personal power fantasy where you’re focused on just levelling your character, you have a home and your kindred to look after; to provide for and protect. Each player has a Home Island that they can upgrade and Kindred they can rescue, and both these aspects help the character to become more powerful. Providing for these involves extracting the still beating heart of a monster that you have just exploded, or the decapitated head of a god you have just taken down, and dealing with all manner of enemies that are trying to stop you doing this, including your prey.
Could you tell us more about the needs and requirements to upgrade our Home Islands? How does this fit in with the overall experience?
We have a non-linear progression system, where the player can focus on different areas separately or at the same time to make themselves more powerful.
The Home Island is part of that and you will need to gather resources like gold and minerals or even monster body parts to repair guard towers or farms. Building a Tower of Might in the centre of your Citadel will boost your characters magic and health stats, making it easier to go hunting into hostile territory. You will need to rescue your Kindred from the gods and then with their help garrison the guard towers to make them more effective or make the farms more productive. An upgraded Home Island will have an improved economy that will earn the player extra resources.
Almighty: Kill Your Gods looks to offer plenty of ways to play – sprinting, charging on all fours, and gliding about like a ninja. How did you find a place for each of these?
We wanted this level of agility from the start, the game was going to be about using magic, but we wanted the game to be fun without the need for any directed play which meant the controls needed to be fun to use to get around the environment and engage with enemies. While we love us some Gandalf, we didn’t want our magic wielders to be running around in bath robes and waving sticks about as we didn’t think that would look particularly great, and wanted a more martial arts theme to it which tied into some of the visual themes we wanted to explore.
From the trailers, it seems that there are multiple elements to consider – hunting, providing, and protecting. How do these all entwine with each other? Is any one mechanic more important than another?
Each aspect of the game is all part of the way the player progresses and becomes more powerful, it’s up to the player how much time they want to spend on each area, so we see it as part of the whole. We see this as a real world comparison of going out and earning a living, bringing home the bacon for your family and home, except rather than going to the office you are heading to a magical island to bring home the head of a god. Its easier or more optimal for the player to focus on all aspects of upgrading their character and Home Island at the same time, but they are free to approach this how they want.
How much customisation is available for each Alpha?
There is a male and female version of the Alpha character, and the player can customise the skin, horns, tails, gauntlets and amulets using transmogs that will keep the functionality of the equipped version, but change its visuals to look like something else, amulets in the same way, and eye colour.
The promise of making use of power gauntlets and amulets is one that is hard to ignore. How did these come about and what are their unique uses?
We wanted to create a gear set for your character that defined your character class, that players could combine and experiment with to create their own play styles that they can use for different tactics whether on their own or running in a pack. The Guantlets provide Melee and health benefits, the Power Stones provide the projectile magic; whether that’s shooting fireballs and beams of healing.
The Amulets are your one-shot magic spells that you have to charge up to fire, and can trigger spells that can rain down fireballs or open voids that suck in smaller enemies. On these gear items you can inscribe sigils that provide passive abilities to your character that can boost things like crit chance, health regen, or damage to certain enemy types. You can create multiple gear sets and swap between these as you are playing, so you could have sets for different circumstances like hunting at night or taking down gods.
Could you please tell us a bit more about the spells on offer?
The Magic spells the Amulets can trigger are varied. There is Meteor Storm where triggering it will bring down a shower of meteors that smash into anything that are below them. The Void spell creates a void that sucks in any smaller enemies that is fairly useful for mob control and damages anything big that comes into contact with it. Lure attracts enemies towards which can cause a useful distraction in an epic battle. Natures Blessing creates a healing aura that will heal you and your pack members, and Iron Side that will temporarily place a metallic skin over you and your pack members protecting them from incoming damage. These are just some of the spells we have implemented currently and we have plans to keep adding to them.
In your developer commentary video you mention that the islands react dynamically depending on your actions within. How deep does this go and how should we expect to see things change?
The islands the player explores are sandbox-like, so whilst the terrain will stay the same, whats on them will be different every time they visit. The island reacts to what the player does, how many players are on the island and what level they are. The player can anger the gods with their actions, and there are anger levels for different zones on the islands depending on their size that are controlled by giant Offering Towers that the gods use to transport their loot. As an island gets angrier, tougher enemies will appear in greater numbers.
What has been the trickiest developmental element that you have included in Almighty: Kill Your Gods?
The game being multiplayer causes certain restraints on what we can do; the first question we have to ask when implementing anything is will it work in multiplayer. We have always wanted to make our multiplayer seamless, so no sitting in lobbies and arranging matches, we wanted players to go out into the world and just naturally encounter other players and team up with them if they wanted to, but still have the ability to play the game solo if they want. Having a co-op focus, so PvE rather than PvP causes some challenges too as we are trying to sync lots of things across the network such as enemies.
If you had to give new players one single tip for success in Almighty: Kill Your Gods, what would it be?
Make sure you are building and upgrading your Tower of Might, the taller and more opulent your tower, the greater your health and magic power stats are boosted making it easier to survive and get around when you’re out hunting and taking down gods.
How many players will Almighty: Kill Your Gods cater for in the cooperative online play? Will jump in/out opportunities be available?
We currently support 4 players, and they can dynamically encounter each other whilst out hunting and form a pack with those they meet. Friends can join each other at any point when online.
It seems like the opportunity to invite friends in with trading routes and island hopping will be present. How will this play out and is it likely to be an option we see at launch?
Adding friends to trading routes means that you will both get benefits to your economy, which means better items will be available to trade and you will earn more gold over time. To be clear, at this time it is not a full trading system where players can trade and sell items to each other, just a way people can mutually benefit by linking up with friends. Players will be able to visit friends islands whether they are online or offline, and use their own resources to help their friend upgrade and repair the island. When on a Home Island at the same time they will be able to defend the island from raids together, or just hang out.
Are you leaving room to go further with Almighty post-launch, with additional content drops and expansions?
Right now we are making sure that we have a lot of content for launch, but we have lots of ideas for what to do with the game, and currently have a plan for a year’s worth of support after launch. Some of this post launch support will be based of player feedback and what they find more interesting, so it is not written in stone at this point.
We spotted a rather tasty looking Xbox splash screen at the end of your developer commentary video. What platforms will you be releasing on and will it be a simultaneous launch across all?
We can confirm Xbox One, but specifically which Xbox Ones and the timing we can’t discuss quite yet.
And finally, how almighty will we have to be to really be considered Almighty?
Well, you will need to level up to Almighty to unlock the ability to use all tier of gear items and visit the current islands in the game. Beyond that there are three more sub tiers that you can keep levelling up to, Heroic, Legendary and Exalted. There are some extra sigils that become available at these tiers, so it is possible to become almightier. Basically the more powerful you are, the more likely it is that you can handle various situations on your own, taking on a god single handed early on will be very difficult so doing it as a pack will help.
Huge thanks go out to Darran at RUNWILD Entertainment for spending a few minutes of his time giving insight into the world of Almighty: Kill Your Gods. We’ll be sure to continue to bring you the developmental progress of the game in the weeks and months ahead. In the meantime, you can wishlist it on Steam.