I have been excited about Roam, an open-world zombie survival game, since the first day I saw it on KickStarter. Unlike other zombie survival games, Roam is played from an Isometric view, challenging players to survive in an unforgiving, randomly generated world. A major feature of Roam is it’s base building, which will allow players to barricade and fortify various building, as well as craft their structures to form their own base.
Roam will allow players the freedom to truly survive how they wish, by allowing players complete customization of their characters outfits, as well as upgrading weapons which are found throughout the world. Crafting will also be vital to survival, giving players the opportunity to craft new clothing, backpacks and items to better help them deal with the situation at hand.
KickStarter funding finished in February, with Roam far surpassing it’s initial target of $40,000. It is still in heavy development, however players who supported the game on KickStarter will get the opportunity to beta test in early 2014, providing all goes to plan. Having been following Roam with a careful eye for some time, the development team behind Roam kindly took time out of their busy schedule to provide us with more information about the game. So I present to you, Roam Interview!
Q: What made you want to create a game such as Roam?
ROAM is a combination of game ideas that have been floating around in our brains for about 2 years. Originally, the game was set to be an isometric camera angle pixel art game combined with a survival game idea we had. After combining the two ideas, we really liked how it looked. Zombies were an afterthought, as the theme “just fit” the game.
Q: Did any other games have an influence on Roam?
Survival games have been around for a long time, but it is such a small niche in the gaming community. Games like Warcraft 3’s custom map “wilderness survival,” or even, most recently, DayZ have had some influence on ROAM. We play a lot of games and get inspired ideas from them all. It is hard to pinpoint a specific game that has more influence than others.
Q: Did you ever expect Roam to be as popular as it has proved to be? Far surpassing your Kickstarter target is some achievement.
We did not expect it to be as popular as it has become. The first couple days of the Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/roam/roam) were pretty slow and our initial thoughts were that we may barely reach our goal of $40k. After Rock Paper Shotgun launched their article on us (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/01/28/not-built-in-a-day-roam-kickstarter/), we knew we would surpass the Kickstarter goal and owe a lot to the guys over there for publishing an article on us. We knew we liked our idea, but, initially, we were not sure if other people would. It is humbling knowing that so many other people would like to play a game that we ourselves really want to make and play.
Q: In Roam, can you build up your own community of survivors? And if so, does resource management play a major role?
Yes, you can create a group of survivors. Finding survivors in the world and working with them will be at the discretion of the player. Not all survivors are friendly and may not seem hostile when the player first meets them. Keeping an eye on the survivor group dynamic and keeping them happy will be important.
Resource management will play a major role in the crafting and building aspect of ROAM. We are developing a streamlined mechanic so there will not be unnecessary inventory management in game. An example of this is if a player breaks a wooden crate, maybe the player will receive 4 wood chunks that will be picked up and placed in their inventory. Upon returning to the resource drop off point inside the player’s base (stockpile), those wooden chunks can be placed inside the stockpile and will give other survivors in the camp access to those resources. From there, players can pool their resources together and will be able to pull resources in a set area surrounding the stockpile while they build defences.
Q: What sets Roam apart from other Survival games?
The number one thing I can think of is the pacing of the game. We really want to avoid tedious and mundane tasks that take away from the game’s immersion. An example: If a player needs wooden planks to build a barricade, we really dislike the idea of sending the player out into the woods to chop trees for 2 hours.
Another thing that will set ROAM apart from other survival games is the fact that we aren’t trying to be ultra-realistic. In the end, ROAM is a game and it is meant to be fun to play. We realize real life is not fun sometimes. No one wants to run around in the game world for 2 hours to get somewhere. At that point, it becomes a “jogging simulator,” so to speak. With that said, we also will not be doing anything so wild and crazy that it takes away from the atmosphere of a zombie apocalypse. There will not be “stilts” in the game that allow the player to walk over the heads of the horde or any futuristic laser guns, sorry everyone!
Q: How many types guns will be in Roam and how will easy/rare will they be to come across?
In our efforts to streamline the game, we have decided to design ammo for firearms in 3 tiers: pistol, rifle, and shotgun. We know in real life certain pistol ammo will not work in certain pistols, but we also do not think it is “fun” to have to find a specific type of ammo for a specific weapon. If you find a gun classified as a pistol and you find pistol ammo, you can expect to be able to fire that weapon.
Although the Kickstarter prototype video showcases a lot of gunplay, we are strong believers that any zombie game requires melee. Melee is something we decided to focus on prior to gunplay simply because it is one of the first forms of combat a player will use and may be one of the most used forms of combat in the game. Guns are loud and require ammo. Coupled with our stealth mechanic it would be wise for players to lean towards bashing a zombie in the head before pulling out the big guns in any combat scenario, but it is their choice!
Q: Will vehicles be customizable & can we transport groups of survivors around the map via buses etc?
Yes, vehicles will be customizable. Vehicles are something that we feel are important to gameplay. They can act as a portable inventory to transport supplies or can be armoured up into zombie killing machines for supply runs – and for transporting survivors, of course. Players will need to keep in mind that vehicles require gas, and gas is a finite resource that can be used for many things other than powering a vehicle. In the end, it is ultimately up to the player and the decisions they make that will ensure their survival
Q: Is it too late for people to still donate to Roam who are interested?
Yes, it is too late unfortunately. The Kickstarter ended late February.
Q: When you reach Beta, will you allow people to buy into the game at that stage, or will only backers from Kickstarter be allowed in?
The initial beta we release will be geared toward Kickstarter backers. It is only fair that the people who supported us from the beginning get early access to the content we release. As we get further in development, we will open up a public beta that people can purchase.
Q: Lastly, when can we expect to see the Roam beta and full release?
Once we get the game to an internal state we are comfortable with, it will be in your hands. Everyone who pledged on Kickstarter will get a substantial “head start” compared to the general public. We want to get it to you just as much as you want it! More information regarding this will come as we get closer to the tentatively estimated January 2014 date (for Kickstarter backers of $15 and higher).
For even more information, and to follow the progress of Roam, head over to their website at http://www.roam-game.com/