Ae’Ra Sunburn

Interview with Zackarias Åkerman by Peter Ward

Ae’Ra – Sunburn is a Top Down Action RPG set in a lush and vibrant fantasy world. A few of the game’s core features are co-op, exploring, crafting and a real-time modern combat system. The game will be released on Steam, PC, with a slight delayed launch for console. But check out the stretch goals, we aim to release it for console at launch!

Please share and donate to help us realize this dream!

Note: The Cultural also inclused Beta Access.

  • A Dynamic Combat System. Where you will be able to fight in a very in your own way of style and have precise control of your movements.
  • Crafting With a Twist of open sandbox. Where you can create almost anything you desire, or need.
  • Exploring new ways of playing a top down ARPG. See if you can master the puzzles and obstacles ahead.
  • A New Take on How Characters Evolve. We have all played games since we were young, this take on how to develop your character will hopefully give you a real fun challenge.
  • Co-op/Play With Your Friends. Or make new ones as you go along, if this Kickstarter succeeds we will not only let you play couch, but also networked co-op with lobbies and player matching!
  • A Rich and Thrilling Story that will take your mind to new amazing places, giving you an epic experience!
  • Third Person isn’t completely gone. As indoor environment, caves and dungeons the camera will be switched to third person (split screen in local co-op) for “up in your face” -action and cooler interactions.
  • 40+ Hours game play and even more with the free DLC’s!

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There will be many ways for you to embrace the game. Doesn’t matter if you’re an explorer, like to go head on into combat or to plan your advantages. You can overcome your foes and experience the game in a play-style suited for you.

We’re going to give you a new take on Top Down ARPG’s, a modernized combat with influence of our favorite RPGs from today and in the past. Instead of just “hack ‘n’ slashing” through a swarm of enemies, you will have to think, plan your steps and attack-patterns. You will have to dodge, parry, counter attack, use stealth and environments to triumph in the fights.

We encourage exploration in all the aspects of our game. Our combat system allows you to easily build unique combinations, we call the feature combat crafting. With this feature you can tailor your attack patterns including striking from multiple angles with a mix of raw strength, speed and mobility. You will be able to create an almost infinite number of combinations.

The most exciting part of the combat-system is that you will be able to build different comboattacks with not only swings of your weapon but also utility moves, item usage and special attacks. With up to 5 custom-made attack rotations, you can tailor your character to suit your fighting style!

To spice it up, where you hit will also matter. You will be able to hurt all different body parts. Why not break the leg of a swift enemy, or crush the arm of a strong foe?

The enemies will use this combat system. Every time you face an enemy, even if it’s the same type you’ve fought before, they will have unique attack patterns making it very hard to anticipate their moves.

Our item crafting system will be based on experimentation. You will not receive recipes directly in the “Crafting Section”, telling which components you need to create specific weapons, armor, potions or miscellaneous items. You will have to try to see what works, which plant gives what kind of effect and how to build efficient weapons.

The only way to learn how to create something more specific is if you find scripts or texts in the world with information that will give you suggestions or ideas. You can also learn a lot from NPCs by talking to them, helping them.

Every item you can loot in the game will have specific properties, these properties can enhance, nullify or change other items. Through an algorithm you will be able to create a lot of different usable items or equipment. What happens if you add a rope, handle and trigger to a dagger? Or mix a healing plant with explosives? Experimentation is encouraged, but might not always be safe!

Exploring will be one of our focus points in this game. Exploration is rewarded a lot. We have so much lore for you to dive into. It will also be exciting as you find unique and different events and encounters all throughout the game, making it fresh and fun to roam around.

One thing we miss in a lot of modern RPG’s is the old classic puzzle style exploration, you’ll have to think. Learn, read, check enemy movement and think outside the box to get through some of the caverns, temples and areas.

There will be a lot of effort, love and passion thrown into all the story aspects in this game, for you to explore and experience. In both main quests and side missions.
The fantasy world that we have based this game on has a rich tale, and there is so much story to tell.

All of our four playable characters can suit your personal game style and will be great at what ever you wish them to be. They will however have specialties and unique talent trees to change how you play the game.

All of our characters can suit your personal game style and will be great at what ever you wish them to be. We just wanted to add a unique touch to all of our characters for you to experience.

Yes, we love co-op. We want co-op campaigns!
We want to play the entire campaign with a friend, not just tiny battle maps or online “player vs player” -style. We decided, even before development began, that the game will be focused on co-op features. For the lone wolves you will of course be able to play the entire story alone. Our aim is to release the game in full networked co-op, and with this Kickstarter we will have the required resources to make that happen. Couch Co-op will of course be a part of the game upon release!

Every part of this game will be built to create a great gaming experience for both single player and co-op. Dialogues with NPCs will be different with a friend joining you, with both players having a say in the discussions. NPCs will react differently depending on both your answers as a group, but also individually.

Exploration, puzzles, events will all be tailored to be quite different on how to handle them as solo or in group to get past obstacles. Some might be harder solo, with more thinking required, while in a group your friend can push a simple button. But it can also become very tricky, that lift doesn’t look pristine right? Can it handle us both?
If you donate with the pledge “Friendly Frenzy” you’ll be able to share an extra copy of this game with a friend!

The adventure begins with the twins Cyan and Jade. Through meditation they connect with an entity giving them a purpose and goal in life. Not really understanding exactly what it was, they set out to explore the world. Along the path they meet Aisa and Za’rach, two creatures from a distant land wandering the world to learn and explore.

During their adventures, they have to figure out what puzzles their mind and gain clarity of their vision. A ritual is needed to be done and the harsh environment through the Ko’Do desert stood in their way. They all know how dangerous their path would be, but their minds were set on their vision for power and glory.

Write your own story with the in-game journal, which will function as your quest log. Each quest is be described as a story, and when you progress the quest, your own tale is written. Since most of the quests and events will let you take different paths, you will write your very own story!

All main and side quests you complete will be written as “Your Story”. There you can read everything you’ve done to progress the main and side story as a book!

When you finish the main story of the game, your story will be saved so you can read it from the main menu!

The jungle of Ahn’kar is a very tense and terrifying place. Everywhere you go you can feel eyes upon your every move, always be ready for conflict. During the pitch black night, dangerous predators haunt the jungle, searching for preys.

During the night, the nature will shine and light will lead the path for you and ass much as it’s mesmerizing, the jungle is very deceptive with dangers, traps, and puzzles to overcome.. The jungle is full of life and has primitive tribes which live in harmony. Help the common folks to thrive in their simple quest of survival.

In the Ank’har Jungle you will follow the beginning of Jade and Cyan’s During the night, the nature will shine and light will lead the path for you and ass much as it’s mesmerizing, the jungle is very deceptive with dangers, traps, and puzzles to overcome.. The jungle is full of life and has primitive tribes which live in harmony. Help the common folks to thrive in their simple quest of survival.adventure. Search the old ruins of temples and learn more about the ancients that had ruled the world, centuries ago. The entire area is the definition of “the strongest will survive”. Behind the adrenaline raising dangers, there is a beautiful landscape filled with ancient mystic magic and jaw dropping scenery.

Nothing is as horrific as the swamp. You will confront your deepest fears, monsters and dangers in every corner of the land. Even the water and the air you breathe is poisonous for your mind. It’s very common for people to venture through the swamp and then never return.

Old tales say the swamp makes it impossible to find your path, when you travel through the swamp a sense of disorientation and an uncomfortable feeling will follow you, almost as if the swamp don’t want you to leave. Even if you are among the bravest alive, your spine will shiver as the lights go out. The inhabitants who live in the swamp, are too afraid to go out of their settlements.

When the sun is at its peak, it still cannot penetrate the fog and lush vegetation of the swamp, giving it a never-ending darkness. The only light you can find is the illuminating wildlife and your torch. However, it is very hard to keep a fire running in such a damp fog.

With two suns the desert never sleeps. The environment becomes harsher the further into the heart of the desert you find yourself. The Sunburn Ritual causes the mystic of a terrifying darkness that swallows all the light for but a moment of time, then lets out the brightest of light one has ever experienced.

You need shelter from the extreme heat, as every little strain of life is devoured by the arid air. If you ever find yourself a need to travel the sea of burning sand, bring plenty of water because a certain death is most likely unavoidable if you ever run out.

Beware, the mighty Ko’Do hunts and guards this enormous plain. Although your true challenge in the desert is the environment itself, as your strength will be weakened for every day you spend under the hot suns. Do not venture to this desolate area unprepared.

Home to The Nashj, hundreds of islands separated by strong and dangerous currents, if you travel here you better be ready. The strong currents will drag you under, smash you into razor-sharp corals. Deadly whirlpools come and goes with little to no warning.

If you manage to endure the harsh environment, there are but few locations in the world as stunning as these islands, with tropical nature and light blue beaches it is the perfect paradise. The Islands are very appealing for the chemists in the world, as the plants have unique properties that can make salves or potions for any situation.

Although, you should not venture too far into the archipelago, as the further out you go, the closer to the mysterious Nashj you come.

Home of the N’akka Callers, where the Nakka’s inhabit the forest, various creatures of empowering beasts. The N’akkas have a special bond with the N’akka Callers, an asexual species that reproduce through a ritual with a magical cocoon.

As a N’akka connects with the cocoon, helping the development of the N’akka Caller within, giving the Caller features and properties of the N’akka. As the Caller is born, the N’akka is forever connected with the Caller, as one.

The living forest connects all life within, making you feel the forest as an own living entity, breathing and learning through you. It’s a home for everyone with respect for the nature and it’s forces within, and effectively excise anyone who’d wish to harm it. It’s a dense forest with trees higher than mountains and roots stretching throughout the entire underground.

All of us are big fans of music, some of us have played instruments for years as well. We all know how important great music can set the tone and atmosphere in a game. We’re working with an amazing artist, Kim Karlsson.

You can hear a sample here:

We also have help from other musicians, our latest edition is Robin Johnsen, a DJ with a really great flow of feelings.

The game itself will be voice covered as much as we can, with the resources we have. Funding this Kickstarter will improve this aspect of the game greatly!

We would also like to thank Nomy for letting us use his music in trailers and other purposes connected to this project!

What is your first gaming experience?

My first gaming experience would be Lemmings on DOS. My father was a true IT nerd and brought home a computer from work where we played Lemmings and later Zeliard and Civilization 1.

What got you into programming games?

Since that day I’ve always loved games. Both the fun of playing it but also to explore the great worlds people build around games now a days. When I was a teenager all I did was sport, music and gaming. I decided to study computer game development and programming at High School because I really wanted gaming to be a bigger part of my life, and a way to express creativity.

What development tools or coding did you use?

I’ve worked in Flash, Visual Studio (C#, C++ and VB.NET). Ae’ra Sunburn is developed using a mixture of Blueprint and C++ in Unreal Engine 4.

What hurdles did you have making your current game?

There’s a big difference in doing small stuff to learn because it’s fun and actually creating a game. The biggest hurdle for us is to keep the project in a scale we’ll actually manage. It’s easy to want more than you can achieve as independent developers.

I have not programmed anything that required much networking either, but I see it more as an opportunity to learn rather than a hurdle!

After the completion of the game what game will you make?

The world we’ve based this game on is huge. I was even surprised when I first sat down to talk to my friend, Johan Kinnunen, the main writer on Ae’ra Sunburn. Ae’ra Sunburn is the first of a trilogy based on this world, and I’m sure we’ll explore other parts of the lore as well after the trilogy is finished.

What other games have you made you made?
Nothing great enough for me to share, rather silly flash games or text based adventure games I’ve developed to learn. Ae’ra Sunburn is the first game I feel proud of enough to share with others. All from the idea to the fantasy world.

My favourite computer was my Amiga and console the Megadrive do you have a favourite?

I’d say Nintendo 64 was my favourite console of all time. Played a lot of Goldeneye and Mario 64. My favourite computer is the one I have right now, because it’s loaded with so much passion for our game!

What is your favourite retro game?

I’m still a big fan of Civilization 1, I still play it once in a while.

Do you still game on the current consoles if so whats your favourite game?

Right now I only game on PC and Ps4. For me, games have become so much better since I’m a big nerd for story and exploration. So even if I do go back to play old games like Warcraft 3, Civilization 1 it’s more for nostalgia than game play.

Whats the worst game you have ever played?

I downloaded that Notch game “Horse ball” or what ever it was called, I actually played it for 2 hours and I felt really bad for wasting that time trying to run into a ball as a horse. Awful game!

Finally what game or feature would you like to see on Retrogamesmaster in the future?

More indie! I really feel that indie development could evolve to something better, with more exposure and a helping hand to each other we’d get even more games based on pure passion, rather than how much a bank account can grow.
The questions you had felt great so I don’t really have any more to add!
I currently don’t have the press material on my computer, I’ll send it to you as soon as I can. We’ll add you to our Press-list for keys to all future beta, demos and released games we develop, both Ae’ra Sunburn and future games.