A few days ago, I came across a very magnificient looking game, Contingent, based on sword-fighting in a historic era (A mix of Mount & Blade and Witcher 3 combat) and the game immediately caught my eye. As expected, I moved on to ask a few questions to the developer and was very surprised to find out that the game is being developed by only one person, Howard Quin. The video below shows the level of finesse and detail that is present in the pre-alpha version of the game.
The video showcases some of the graphical aspects of the game (Sadly, not much of the gameplay is shown, hope that changes in the near future), and I must say, that the animations, reflections and cloth dynamics are pretty amazing. Some parts do require polishing, but will be covered as the development progresses. (His YouTube channel can be followed for updates on the game)
Contingent is an action RPG with gameplay closely resembling Mount and Blade where you control AI troops. The game takes this concept further by making this function more intimate, in that each loyal soldier in your retinue is an individual character with his/her own characteristics and you gain a connection with them especially after they have survived a major battle.
If they are engaged in combat, you have to be in their sight if you want to command them, just like in real life. They won’t be able to hear your commands form across the field. The brawl type nature of the combat means that you have to constantly organize your men with formations such as a shield wall within the chaos, because the AI will go anywhere and everywhere and attack your men from all angles. Once heavy combat starts, it becomes completely chaotic. Each soldier belongs to a class and classes counter other classes i.e. cavalry are effective against swordsmen and archers but not spearmen and spearmen are weak against archers.
The game will be set during the period of 410 AD and 500 AD in Britain in an when Roman soldiers started leaving Britain in 410 AD and the game will cover the subsequent years depicting the deterioration of Roman-Britain and the successful invasion of the Saxons, Jutes and Angles. The player will control one of the last Roman-British commanders, defending the last strongholds in Wales.
At the moment the focus is on creating a linear single player plot and other features will be added later on. The game is heading for a tentative release of Q4 2017.
When asked the question of what problem Howard might face face during the development, he said:
The main issue is the scope of the project. I was told by James Russell, the director/designer of the Total War games, that a project like this could rack up costs of up to $20 million. So I really have to narrow the scope and modularise the project and work with small defined steps. The advantage to this, as was the plan initially, is to focus on the small details like really making the animations as smooth and realistic as possible with each tiny movement. Also focusing on making the characters look really detailed with full cloth physics. Contingent is about the intimate and infinitesimal.
Yes many people will wonder, that, this is a pre-alpha version and the game may lose it’s visual fidelity and upon questioning him about this, here is what he had to say:
Optimization is a huge issue at this point, because I the don’t want to compromise detail. The thing is, I could have released the mobile version of Contingent already and started generating revenue, it would have been a much simpler task and more financially viable. But my artistic side had gotten the better of me and I wanted to create something as beautiful as technology would allow. A great breakthrough in development will be when I figure out how to expand the scale without comprimising detail. I don’t care about how much audience I reach, I want to create something true and beautiful.