As we move from winter into spring, companies are starting to roll out their new games and DLCs. Muha Games, producer of our 2015 game of the year Thea: The Awakening, is no exception. Soon they will be launching Giants, their first DLC for Thea. We contacted Khash (lead programmer) and Yuuki (lead designer) who were gracious enough to take some time out from their busy development schedule to answer a few questions about the new content as well as share some new artwork!
Question: Before we talk about your upcoming DLC, can you tell us how the last four months have gone for Muha Games?
Khash: It was amazing. We never thought the players community would be so great. Most of our previous experience was from bigger companies where players are disconnected from developers by a shield of community managers. We had a chance to experience first hand how helpful and joyful it can be to interact with players. We do have to limit our interactions [with the fans] to a certain degree so that we can provide as much new content as possible, but the love we received is the best reward we could imagine. THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE!!!
Yuuki: Yes, just that, THANKS! It has been amazing. I mean, I think Khash basically hasn’t slept in a year, or something, and we’re all hard at work doing fixes and the DLC, but the reception we got made it worthwhile. Some friends sometimes say: “didn’t you finish your game already, why are you still working on it?” and yeah, we just laugh. So it’s all hands on deck, still trying to take in all the feedback from the forums and just making Thea better as much as we can.
Question: How did you feel when you first learned that Thea was named eXplorminate’s Game of the Year?
Khash: We try to make our game the best we can, offer as much as we can, but even being placed on the same shelf as other amazing strategy games was a reward of its own. When we learned that you chose us among all other games was like winning the lottery. It showed us that what we do is not “ok” only in our insane brains, but it seems like other commentators in the field see great potential in our games as well. I believe we have set a course with Thea which we can and will follow.
Yuuki: It was freakin’ awesome! Like Khash said, to be recognized by people we respect, and to be put alongside so many other great game of the year titles out there, just priceless. Making an indie title can be very trying for one’s self esteem at times, and it is our fans and such recognition among the media, that helps us to believe we are doing something right after all.
Question: Great! So tell us a little about the mythology of your new DLC. Why are the Giants just now showing up?
Yuuki: Well, I don’t want to spoil the story, so I can’t reveal that much. I will say that the giants have been in in slumber for thousands of years, but, something has now disturbed their natural cycle, and this can prove fatal to our little village.
Question: Can you give us a guess as to about how many new quests will be in the game?
Khash: Last time I looked into the base game… it was around 100, so effectively it should increase options by around 50% to what we had in the base game. I think it’s fairly large boost in story elements for a free DLC.
Yuuki: Yes, there are plenty of new quests, although 100 is not quite right. There are 70 additional ‘phases’ or events added in the editor, but some quests will consist of more than one event. Still, that is over a third of what we had in the base game, which is still good for a DLC, I hope.
One of the exciting things about these new events is that they will provide for a brand new main quest line. So you can still choose to be the old ones and then build on it with the new, or you can actually skip the old quest altogether, and just enjoy something fresh. What is different about this batch of quests is that the main quest is built from around 50 different events, and depending on the choices you make, or just luck, you may encounter new elements or different scenarios with every playthrough.
I’ve also implemented the three quests designed by our fans in a competition we had on the Steam forum, although I made some changes, so I hope they like it.
Question: What about any new resources and recipes?
Khash: There would be some new recipes for sure, but we had to forgo adding new resources for this DLC as our schedule is already really tight, and we did not want to postpone this DLC any more. Spider Silk and Vines are getting a tweak. Now they’ll add to a ranged weapon’s damage value. This should make researching bows and crossbows more attractive.
Question: Will there be any new species or classes that players will be able to attract to join their villages?
Khash: The player will be able to gain new characters, in some ways, but if by attract you mean only the options offered by buildings, then then no. You can only gain the new special characters by traveling through the world and experiencing the new events as the story unfolds. But we have extended the number of portraits for characters you could acquire by attraction, growing up and through the older events. There are new, more diverse images for buildings and some items based on the materials they are made of.
Yuuki: Actually, there are two new human classes coming in the DLC, and one of those, the Inventor, can indeed be attracted via the usual options. Warriors are also getting a tweak. They will now be able to wield a two-handed sword in one hand. This should make them a more enticing class for players to use.
Question: The inventor class sounds very interesting. Can you tell us a little bit more about it?
Yuuki: Well, the inventor and scholar classes came to life to balance the humans. Another cool feature that will come with the DLC, is a certain location appearing on your map after the Cosmic Tree quest is completed. This location will be different, depending on your chosen ending. Some recruitment will be possible there, but without spoiling much for those who haven’t finished the quest, one of the options limits the type of characters that can be recruited. Thus, the inventors and scholars came to be. I think of them as elite classes. So, back to the inventor, since he was the subject of your question. He or she is essentially an elite crafter, with high intelligence, good crafting skills and great willpower but also some extras like dexterity. So the inventor will likely not become your key fighter, but they may prove very handy in all of the other challenges.
Question: Aside from the Giants and the other new creatures you’ve already mentioned, will new types of monsters or challenges be added in this DLC?
Khash: Aside from whole families of different giants, you can encounter other new characters in the DLC, but they are of types from the base game, I don’t want to spoil the story by telling too much detail.
Yuuki: Yes, there is quite a diversity of giants coming your way, so they provide a variety of challenges, themselves. And accompanying the return of the giants, is an array of quests, new monsters, and events that will hopefully make you feel like something is not right in the state of the Easterlands. This, we hope, will provide for a greater challenge in the mid/end game.
Question: Will there be any other new mechanics added to the game?
Khash: We plan some balancing tweaks, like making the cost of research different for different items, but those are not standalone mechanics.
Yuuki: No, there will not be any new mechanics of substance, nothing major. However, players will now be able to left click a resource they’ve researched to trigger a locator icon that will show them where all the instances of that resource can be found. Also, some of the techs will now cost more than 1 research point to get.
Question: You’re planning on giving the DLC away for free. I’m sure the fans would be very interested to know why you made that decision in an era when so many other companies charge for DLC?
Khash: I believe that DLCs should be free. Those who bought the game deserve to get some extras if the company can afford it, and our sales went quite well. I’m sure that in some cases companies decide to have paid DLC to ensure some more income to improve DLC quality, but I think that this is truly justified only for proper expansions, and only because their cost is very high. DLC’s on the other hand are more of a content boost making those who already have the game get some fresh stuff to enjoy. If the DLC does not offer multiple new mechanics, whole new areas to explore etc, then it is not an expansion and should be given for free. If we put a few more months into this DLC it could have grown into a proper Expansion, but giving it for free – and sooner rather than later – sounds better to us. Especially since we plan to work further on Thea, before moving to the next title.
Yuuki: What he said.
But, I just want to add, that our upcoming DLC is part of what we’re calling Thea: The Awakening Giant Edition (name subject to change), and that includes the free DLC content, but also just general enhancements to the game, so things like extra artwork, full English VO, localization and more music. So we basically see all of those improvements as substantial, adding some quality to our game, but that is precisely why our existing customers should get it free. Like Khash said, if we ever decide to actually expand Thea beyond what it is now, we may then re-consider, only because of the extra time and money that would cost us, but I think we would make every effort to still keep the new content free, or at least very inexpensive.
Question: Finally, is there anything else about Thea or the Giants DLC that you’d like the fans to know?
Yuuki: Well, we haven’t talked about the events editor, and I think this is one of the major features of the DLC. So Khash is basically building an awesome event editor that will allow the players to create their very own adventures for Thea. I think this will really add something special to the game, as you will be able to really make it your own tale and explore Thea even further. The editor will allow you to create quests, add graphics, award XP and loot, basically, everything that I can do with the quests.
With the Giant Edition, all of our quests will also have full VO, although only in the English version. We’re also adding new character and new music tracks.
Finally, we’re going to have some extra localization in Polish, Russian, German and French, so we hope this will improve accessibility. The game is text heavy and we know some fans have really been waiting for more language options.
We’d like to thank Muha Games once again for telling about their new Giants DLC. Thea: The Awakening is available on Steam and GOG for $19.99. Giants should be available in April on both Steam and GOG.