DailyBits Sits down with game designer Luca Cafasso to learn more about King of Seas
King of Seas has been through an interesting development process; one that prioritised the Nintendo Switch before its port to other consoles and PC. Developer 3DClouds, which previously focused on racing games such as All-Star Fruit Racing and Xenon Racer, wanted to make sure the ambitious procedural world worked smoothly on all formats. That’s no mean feat in a year where face-to-face working time has been at a minimum.
We spoke to game designer Luca Cafasso about the upcoming pirate adventure, how the team dealt with Coronavirus and if we can expect to see the game on next-gen consoles in the future.
DailyBits: What are the biggest lessons learned from development on your previous games and how have you applied that knowledge to King of Seas?
Luca Cafasso: The biggest lessons I’ve learned through previous development games is that if the concept and vision is not clear to all the team from the beginning, it will affect the production and the final result more than the expertise or the resources of the team.
With King of Seas we got the chance to work on a concept that we picked after a month of research and brainstorming. We looked at the market offer and our team capabilities and we chose to go for this epic Pirate’s adventure because it was connecting all the variables we took in consideration for our next project that was supposed to be a different genre from the racing games we are used to making.
The goal for the team was clear and I’m sure this clarity will reach the players through all the features our team worked on during the service of the concept itself.
DailyBits: The latest gameplay trailer noted ‘Endless Customisation’ of ships. Can you detail exactly what players will be able to change and how the progression system works?
Luca Cafasso: King of Seas is an action RPG that we designed around the idea of an Inventory system that can fully customize your ship aesthetics and gameplay.
As you play through you can find components for your ships like the Sails, the Hull, the Castle and the Figurehead that will enhance not only your ships statistics in many different ways but also the aesthetics of the ship.
Also, the abilities are part of the inventory system, you have to loot them and equip them in the four slots available and that will affect a lot your playstyle in each battle.
Last but not least the cannons will enhance your attack power but also the range and the reload time of your cannon barrages, with the plus of the cannonballs that can add burning, curse or poison effects that will impact the visual effects of your shots and the damage on the enemies ships.
With all these combinations we provide the player with the ability to customize the play style of each one of the five ships class available at their wish.
DailyBits: How has the Coronavirus pandemic impacted development? Have you had to pull back on implementing any features due to a tougher working environment?
Luca Cafasso: The Coronavirus pandemic forced our team to work from home from the past February in Italy. We had to switch to working from home quickly and we managed to contain the damages to the project only in a small delay on the release.
There was not a real feature cut due to the pandemic, and I believe it is thanks to the strong concept and vision we had of the game that helped to mitigate the distance between the team members and the lack of direct communication you have from discussing topics just through meetings.
"We had to switch to working from home quickly and we managed to contain the damages to the project only in a small delay"
I personally found that working from home let the people have more time for themselves, skipping the time to get to the workplace and so there were also some benefits from it, but it could be just a lucky combination of project and team members that we had internally.
DailyBits: How would you sell King of Seas to gamers who have never played this type of game before? What’s the one selling point you’re most proud of?
Luca Cafasso: The selling point of King of Seas is that it is a single player Pirate action RPG set in a procedural generated open world.
Nowadays if you like the pirate theme there’s no such product that lets you enjoy a strong pirate’s adventure in a relaxing single player environment with a rewarding progression system. The procedural generation of the open world adds a lot of replayability without compromising the exploration aspect of the game in each playthrough.
We also decided to enhance the replayability of the game thanks to a Bounty system for leaderboards that will require the players to play the game on higher difficulties in order to best it. We are also really proud to have chosen to realize the game with the focus on Nintendo Switch so it runs smoothly on every platform with the technologies I just mentioned before.
DailyBits: Pirates are common in games right now, with the likes of Sea of Thieves and Assassin’s Creed bringing boat-based combat to the masses. What gap does King of Seas fill and do you think having indirect competition will help the game sell?
Luca Cafasso: We believe that if you like the Pirate genre one more game is always good news. For this reason, we hope the indirect competition will help the game succeed.
“[…]We didn’t want to compete with anyone, but we just wanted to make a great pirate game”
King of Seas is strongly inspired by Sid Meier’s ‘Pirates!’ We looked at every game of the genre to understand where the others did well or not. King of Seas is a Pirate game good for everyone and the gap it fills is thanks to the single player adventure and the RPG elements. Keep in mind that we didn’t want to compete with anyone, but we just wanted to make a great pirate game!
DailyBits: Will there be any differences between the PC and console versions? Have you considered PS5/Xbox Series X upgrades, and should we expect to see the game on next-gen consoles in the future?
Luca Cafasso: Right now, having developed the game with a cartoon language with the focus on Nintendo Switch, there should not be any differences between the platforms with the exception of the portability of the game on the Nintendo console. We are planning to support and expand the game if it’s possible according to the feedback of the player base, but I can’t tell you more than that at the moment.
“We are planning to support and expand the game if it’s possible according to the feedback of the player base”
King of Seas is currently scheduled for release in early 2021. Thank you to Luca for taking the time to answer our questions. You can check out the game’s official Steam page right here.