Since our early access preview of the original back in 2014, Hand of Fate has been one of Power Up Gaming’s favourite indie games. Blending together a card game with dungeon crawling and third-person combat elements, it’s a game we like to acknowledge for its flexibility and charming delivery into several genres.
We were fortunate to have the opportunity to sit down with Kim Allom, Associate Producer at Defiant Development, about the upcoming sequel, Hand of Fate 2.
Hayden Waugh: Thanks for having us, Kim. We interviewed Morgan Jaffit, the studio’s Creative Director, and talked about how Hand of Fate’s structure really shook up the traditional formula. How has Hand of Fate 2 expanded on the success of the original?
Kim Allom: Okay, so in the first game we had 12 Bosses and the main goal was to defeat them in order to finish the game. This time around we have 22 Challenges that are all based on and nuanced from tarot cards. Each challenge has a specific objective, where the player must try and build the most appropriate deck to try and beat that objective. If you don’t complete that objective then you don’t pass the challenge and will have to keep replaying the challenge to progress through the game – that’s the main difference as to how the gameplay works.
What else is new is we’ve got two new weapon sets. In the first game you had a standard sword and shield, but this time around we’ve got duel-wielding and heavier, more powerful weapons that have a slower attack speed.
One of the other new features we’re super-excited about is the Companions. So you now have AI-driven companions that will help you in combat as well as in the tabletop sections. Colbjorn is part of the Northerners and they’re like a Viking clan. He’s able to help you through a tabletop mini-game called the Dice Game, where you can re-roll one of your three die if you have enough money to pay for it.
The other companion character is Malaclypse, a bard that gives a shield in combat and also affects the mini-game Wheel of Fate – awarding an additional spin should you have an undesirable outcome.
Something else that’s new is the Fame mechanic. It’s another stat to micro-manage in that when you get a certain amount of Fame you can unlock Legendary weapons. These are the big-ticket items of Hand of Fate 2.
HW: Are many of the battlefields still littered with traps like in the first game?
KA: There will be traps in the second game. It’s something we really, really want to flesh-out a lot more because we found they were quite popular. There are some interesting things to come in the “trap realm”, but it’s not currently in this build.
HW: I remember it was really difficult to time those finishers when enemies were in a ‘downed’ state; it was quite clunky, too. How have you improved on those?
KA: We want to give players the best chance at taking advantage of these finishers, so the enemies blink a certain colour now when they are downed. But it’s still all about timing and practise, which has lead to a lot of testing.
What’s in our benefit is that we’ve made the game already, but now we can really finesse it out. Because we aren’t starting from scratch, we’ve got more time to really flesh it out and make it feel good.
HW: What was the process involved in finding the voice for The Dealer?
KA: *laughs* He’s legendary, isn’t he!?
HW: He is! But there was a certain smugness about him I didn’t like from the start.
KA: I know! You kind of love or hate him; he’s a bit of a jerk!
So, Anthony Skordi, the voice behind it, he’s worked on Fable and he’s also worked on Mass Effect. It was a natural choice. We basically just hit a up a casting agent and said: “This is our brief – who’ve you got?”. We went through a list of people and he was by far the best fit.
HW: He certainly is. What kind of environments can we expect in those third-person scenarios during Hand of Fate 2?
KA: Well, you’ve still got the fantasy-inspired taverns, forests and marshes. There are big towns now and you have the Empire, who are running the Kingdom and have more building-type areas and whatnot.
On the whole, the environments have improved in that we’ve more mindful of players getting caught or making them more attentive to blind spots.
HW: That’s great! The first game got quite cramped, didn’t it?
KA: Yes, it did and we understand that completely. So, we’ve taken that on board and made sure that spaces were specifically designed to avoid that problem.
HW: My final question is about the actual character customisation. What’s it like in Hand of Fate 2? Because I couldn’t change their physical appearance in the first game.
KA: Sure. So, we have a new heroine this time around and, unfortunately, I can’t divulge too much more other than that. We’ll release more about it as it becomes available.
HW: *laughs* Okay, fair enough. So, what platforms are Hand of Fate 2 on and when’s it scheduled for release?
KA: So, currently are releasing for PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One’s been announced – all for Q1, 2017. We haven’t announced anything yet for PS4 but we’d like to bring it over there as well, for sure.
HW: Thanks a lot, Kim. I can’t wait!
You can stay up-to-date with all the Hand of Fate 2 news through Defiant Development’s blog.