At first, Foretales appears like just another card game. But it’s more than that. The devs are calling it a “decksploration” game with a unique take on adventure genre. You will be playing as a thief named Volepain and you will have the responsibility to save the world using different tactics. Since we were curious to know more about the game, we did an interview about the game with the game developers. We were able to discuss different aspects Foretales and I will have to say, the game can definitely get your attention.
Q: You are calling Foretales a “Decksploration” game. Could you elaborate on that? What can fans expect?
Decksploration is not a term we invented, it’s a real category of games but mostly limited to board games or physical card games at the moment. Basically the concept is that you explore a story fragmented in a deck of cards. Each one of them describes an event, a location, an encounter and depending on the order of the cards, or what you decide to do with them, you experience a unique version of the story.
Q: Foretales has a branching storyline with multiple endings, how many endings are there?
There are 6 main endings in the game with a lot of variants depending on if you managed to recruit an ally or if someone died or not. The basic, not necessarily super happy endings, will be quite easy to achieve… and the best endings will require a bit more effort of course!
Q: Foretales is also a party based game right? Could you share details on how and what party players will be able to choose?
The game features 8 playable characters but the only character you’re guaranteed to have is Volepain, the hero. After that, based on your choices and decisions, you’ll be able to recruit one of the seven others. Each character comes with its set of cards to interact with the world, sometimes in similar ways to others but with a different flavor, sometimes dramatically differently.
Q: The game seems to have a unique feel to it. Can you share with us what were your inspirations behind the development of Foretales?
I must admit the biggest inspiration for Foretales was Cultist Simulator, a very weird and original card game released in 2018 by Alexis Kennedy. I was fascinated by how its creator discarded all my expectations of a card game and used that format to actually tell a story, or little stories. There are also quite a few board games that inspired Foretales like TIME Stories, Pathfinder adventures, The 7th Continent…
Visually, it’s not very hard to see that we were influenced by the old Disney movies but there are also style references to Mike Mignola and other european comics artists.
Q: From a difficulty perspective, how challenging is the game going to be?
Haha! 6 months ago I would have told you that the game was pretty easy. But today, after a few playtests, it appears that we were a bit mistaken about that. The idea behind this game was never to be hard in the first place, so these days we’re doing a big balancing pass and we’re also introducing a hint system right into the game. It should allow any player feeling blocked to receive contextual information and help about what they’re supposed to do now.
Q: How does character progression work in Foretales? What sort of upgrades/enhancements players can expect?
The main progression is reflected by the number of allies you have recruited. Some of them will be more useful than others for some missions, even if all missions can be done by any team, provided a team member is not required for part of the story.
In most missions there are secondary goals too. Completing those goals will often reward players with improved skill cards or stats for their characters.
Q: On average, how long will it take for players to beat the main campaign for single playthrough?
Pretty hard to say… Depending on how fast you read, how comfortable you are with card games or board games mechanics, it could take from 10 to 16h to reach the end of the story. Some choices may also lead to shorter games, but whatever your first ending is, you’ll still have things to discover. Can’t say much more than that without spoiling it.
Q: Are there any kind of Microtransactions in Foretales? If so, of what sorts?
Q: The game is coming to PC and only Nintendo Switch. Why were the other platforms dropped? Any plans to bring the game to PlayStation and Xbox?
Ports do cost money, quite a lot to be done correctly. The decision to release a game on each platform is based on a risk assessment, cost versus possible gain. At this moment, given the huge amount of games released on those platforms, we estimated it was not reasonable to invest in a port without any form of support from the hardware manufacturer.
We would be happy to port the game to Playstation and Xbox, and who knows, if the game is successful enough, we will.
Q: Do you think Nintendo Switch has a considerable audience for a game like Foretales?
Yes, like our publisher, we do!
Q: Did you guys consider bringing Foretales on Xbox Game Pass? Is there a future possibility?
Bringing a game to the Game Pass is more a Microsoft’s decision than ours really. I’m sure our publisher has initiated this kind of conversation with them. But as of today, I’m not aware of any plan to release our game on the Game Pass.
Q: A lot of indie devs are benefitting from Microsoft’s Game Pass service. As an Indie dev yourself, what’s your take on it?
Wow, in fact, that’s a complex question. First, as a player and consumer, I’m still literally amazed by the value of Game Pass. As a professional and game developer, I must admit it’s a bit frightening. Should these subscription systems become the norm, the life and death of game producers like us will entirely depend on the good will of those “big players”. Even if for the lucky ones today it’s an amazing financial security, will it stay that way? No one can tell really. I’m not a pessimistic person, so I’ll wait and see how it will evolve.
Q: Currently, what changes would you like to see in the industry to improve the overall indie scene in gaming?
More original projects and less rehash of past successes. Don’t take me wrong, there ARE quite a few original games out there, but not a whole lot from experienced teams or teams with budgets.
Boy, what would I give for big indies or AA teams to go truly wild and try stuff never done before!
Q: Any message you would like to convey to the fans about Foretales?
I hope you’ll like what we tried to accomplish with Foretales. At Alkemi, we’re used to doing weird mashups, but this time I think we went even a little bit further. The formula may still not be perfect, but there’s something here to be done, of that I’m sure.
Foretales is slated for a release in summer 2022. If you want to try out the game, a demo for the game is available on Steam.