Indie Game Focus: MORTAL CRUX

We talked with the creator of MORTAL CRUX all about their game!

1. Can you tell us about MORTAL CRUX? 

Mortal Crux is an open-world ARPG set in a high-fantasy medieval world. It’s designed for single player or co-op up to 4 players. Currently the project is entirely self-funded and being developed by a single dev.

2. What inspires your work?

I’ve been gaming my whole life and working various jobs in the industry for the past 10 years. I’ve tried to incorporate my favorite bits from all sorts of games and medieval fantasy while focusing the core design around the aspects I enjoy most in an action RPG. My original vision for the project was first created as a long-lost flash game by the same title about 15 years ago. It looked closer to an old Westwood Studios CRPG than the current re-envisioned version that’s had the benefit of years of modern influences and tech advancements.

Aesthetically franchises like Baldur’s Gate, Diablo, The Witcher, Dragon’s Dogma, and The Elder Scrolls (specifically Morrowind’s Bloodmoon expansion from 2003 and Skyrim) have all inspired the style greatly.

Gameplay-wise the combat is very much action-oriented with mechanics you’d find in a Souls game, but a bit faster to keep up with the aerial view outdoors. The interior system takes on an entirely separate set of influences, featuring cinematic fixed-cameras reminiscent of the classic Resident Evil games. I wanted to give every room a more intimate feel while exploring, instead of keeping the camera zoomed out and toggling rooftops off like most top-down games tend to do. Doing so also helps make the experience more artistic and personal, since every room becomes its own little scene to investigate.

I love open-world games so I’m focusing on there being as little loading screen usage or interruptions from immersion as possible. Designing sophisticated data streaming methods has been the bulk of the development time so far. Techland’s Dying Light was a huge inspiration for wanting to create a massive world that can support 4 player co-op or solo play.

3. What can fans expect to see in MORTAL CRUX?

A dark fantasy ARPG made by a passionate gamer who’s had decades of experience playing games in the genre.

4. What advice would you give to newer Indie Game Devs?

Only make games you genuinely want to play. If you’re not passionate about your work, you can’t expect other people to be.

Be mindful of what could make the experience more enjoyable/playable to a greater number of people who are interested in your game. Accessibility options and settings to customize the experience are far too often overlooked in game design across the industry.

5. Goals for 2023?

Keep making progress on development. Once I get a sizable amount of content ready I’m planning for an Early Access release so the game can begin getting active player feedback as it continues to develop. I started the project mid November 2021, so it’s still very early.

6. Where can people find and support your work? 

Follow the project on Twitter @MortalCrux. I try to post development updates every day or so. Liking/retweeting helps me get the word out and is highly appreciated!

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Tatiana Stec is the Co-Founder and Creative Director at All Ages of Geek. You can follow her on Substack.

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