In recent memory, there appears to have been a deluge of survival games with players trying to survive everything from plane crashes to dinosaurs. Amongst contemporary entries we find examples like The Forest and Don’t Starve we see examples in which, although the style might be different, the goal is the same: to survive and thrive. Life is Feudal, developed by Bitbox Ltd, is a part of this deluge but stands out with some very interesting design choices and its depth of simulation. In fact, the game is highly reminiscent of an older title called A Tale in the Desert in which the game’s entire economy was completely player driven in a fairly in-depth simulation of Ancient Egypt.
I spent some time with one of the game’s fans, a man by the name of ‘Bill’, who would take me through the features of the game and explain its various concepts. The first thing that struck me (besides Bill’s enthusiasm) was the sheer scale of the gameplay. The world and the player’s capability interact with it is incredibly fleshed out and detailed. Trees that you cut down have a quality level attached to them which then affects the quality of the timber you harvest, which then further affects the quality of weapons that you might make with said timber.
In addition to the wood you’ll need to build a simple tool or weapon, you’ll need iron and possibly leather (for the handle) and these require further work. Although on some servers it is possible for players to become completely self-sufficient and build everything themselves, the game normally implements a skill cap on how many points a player can accrue throughout their production skills. Combat works in a similar fashion with different skills being open for the player to learn but an overall cap in place to stop them from excelling in everything.
This effectively means that players will have to work together and trade (or loot) to obtain the items that they would like. This promotes a play-style in which a player specialises in one skill and becomes a master at it to fill a niche in the game’s economy. Speaking with the devs, they plan on opening a mega-server to facilitate a huge amount of players in one world (currently you can have up to 64 on a server) and virtually create a space in which players can form their own feudal society.
Basically in this game, just like in real life, you have to find and pursue your calling to fit in… except there’s a slightly higher chance of death by bandit attack. It seems like a bit of an acquired taste but if you’re a fan of putting in long hours of blood and toil, you’ll probably have fun surviving and thriving in this little game.
I was also given the chance to talk to Vladimir Piskunov, one of the brains behind Life is Feudal, and you can read about it here.
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