Revival’s Gonzalez: ‘This is a passion project and not a money grab’

Gothic horror sandbox Revival cuts a bit of a polarizing figure, at least early on in its development process and at least here in the MassivelyOP comments section. While some fans seem genuinely interested in the title’s focus on medieval pseudo-realism and virtual world stylings, others seem put off by the developer Illfonic’s relentless pursuit of immersion.

We asked creative director Kedhrin Gonzalez about that perception and those in-game houses that Revival is currently selling. See what he had to say just past the break!

revival-5MOP: Revival articles typically generate a lot of comments on Massively, and usually they’re pretty polarized between the handful of people who are looking forward to the game and the majority who are like “logistics isn’t fun” and “this sounds too realistic and tedious!” Why do you think that is? Does it ever bother you as a developer that so many modern MMO players tend to value instant gratification over immersive virtual world gameplay?

Kedhrin Gonzalez: Our goal for Revival is to build a more immersive world because it is our passion to do so. We know not all players are going to like it. But we are making the game so it’s open for everyone. It is not going to be some crazy hardcore game that only 1337 players will be able to play.

I believe in casual experiences on the surface but a deep game the further your dig. To me, this opens the world to the players. There hasn’t been a game like Revival before, so it’s going to be a new experience for everyone. If the players that have been spoon fed MMO experiences over the years don’t like it, I can’t help them there. This is a project out of passion and not a money grab, so if the uber masses don’t get it – they don’t get it.

Revival is privately funded as opposed to crowdfunded or supported by early access. But you are selling in-game housing via a cash shop. Will that continue throughout development or is that more of a pre-alpha bone thrown to the truly hardcore fans?

This is an ongoing thing and will continue throughout all of Revival. We are privately funded, but the money we generate from these houses goes right back into development to speed up in other areas. We consider these cash buy-ins premium content and are for players who want to really show their love for the game. Players aren’t bullied into spending money with Revival.

If you had to give a one-sentence elevator pitch to sell Revival to either a potential customer or a potential investor, what would it be?

We’ve been working on this for years. We just can’t do it. There is too much epicness in Revival that can make it a one sentence or one paragraph pitch. It always spirals into a rant. The game is just too awesome to fit in a sentence.

When can we expect to see gameplay vids for Revival? Even early prototype stuff. Or are you holding off for something more polished?

On our website we outline our first six stages of development. These stages are based on a lot of things and are planned out so we can take our time on core systems and mechanics before pulling the trigger on massive production. It is smart development and allows players to interact with us early on.

We won’t even be showing combat for quite a while now. We need to worry about our other systems, NPC interactions, character customization, server load balance and all the insane amounts of telemetry data we’ll be doing on the servers. Our roll out plan is built to build smart but still allow players to have access to the game if they want. We don’t want to over promise on anything and we also don’t want to give any dates.

Dates are always a burden we don’t want to carry. We’re wanting to get this done as fast as possible, but this is an ambitious project and we need to play it smart in our development. We’ve been in situations where a product was forced out the door too many times and we don’t want that happening with Revival.

Thanks for your time!

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54 Comments on "Revival’s Gonzalez: ‘This is a passion project and not a money grab’"

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Snipehunter
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Snipehunter

Denngar Snipehunter Heheh fair. Not that it does my image any favors to say it… but I’d totally play that game, too.

Denngar
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Denngar

Snipehunter Yeah, but it’s not a very good one. That makes it sound like an 8-bit retro game that’ll have some octopus-faced sprites.

Snipehunter
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Snipehunter

Denngar Kedhrin’s not the type to answer with a prepared statement, but there actually is a one sentence pitch for the game, right on the website’s front page: “Oldschool Roleplaying; Lovecraftian Horror.”

Denngar
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Denngar

If you had to give a one-sentence elevator pitch to sell Revival to either a potential customer or a potential investor, what would it be?
We’ve been working on this for years. We just can’t do it. There is too much epicness inRevival that can make it a one sentence or one paragraph pitch. It always spirals into a rant. The game is just too awesome to fit in a sentence. 

As someone who’s been watching the game for awhile, let me take a stab at this: “Revival is a Cthulu mythos inspired MMORPG that tries push the ‘RPG’ side of MMO at the low end of payment options with organic branching content based on your in-game actions, while premium servers aim to play out like a modern day Asheron’s Call, having GMs interact with players by “making” actual events as opposed to repeatable “quests,” leading to a world whose lore is player driven.”
Bonus sentence: “You can also have graphic sex, poop, and own slaves, but you should be careful about your karma and keep insurance on homes in avalanche zones because, well, permanent property damage is a thing.”

Lethality
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Lethality

ManastuUtakata Malrowe skoryy He made it up. He’s not quoting anything.

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

skoryy 
Where are you exactly getting that quote from? o.O

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

Malrowe skoryy 
Edit: Putting my comment on hold until I get verification where skoryy got that quote.

Oleg Chebeneev
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Oleg Chebeneev

I somehow missed this title but digging more info I really like where they aiming for. As I understand its in very early stage of development and not coming in 2016?

Lethality
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Lethality

Flimflamberge FacelessSavior They didn’t say that at all.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

“logistics isn’t fun”

dejavu.

Flimflamberge
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Flimflamberge

FacelessSavior 
The problem isn’t that this is not a themepark. The problem is that they call people who like themeparks sheeple. That word is a fantastic sign of douchebaggery.

mysecretid
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mysecretid

agemyth 
You can actually bold sections of text just like this.
See the thing that looks like a pencil at the bottom-left of the reply window? Left-click and drag to select your text, left-click there, and choose B.
Cheers,

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

ToyFuzion  https://www.revivalgame.com/philosophy/monetization and here’s the monetization page.

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

ToyFuzion  Well it sounds like the protection stuff is purchased via Standing Points, which you can amass in-game through simply being a part of the world and getting involved in the storytelling events and whatnot.  Though there is the option to purchase Standing Points with real money, the way they made it sound on the info page was that Standing Points won’t be a big issue and you’ll be earning plenty of them in-game if you’re actively participating.

FacelessSavior
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FacelessSavior

Amen

Futabot
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Futabot

I’m inclined to agree with a man who offers up a four titted shebeast in their marketing. There aren’t a lot of people willing to huck money at that.

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

CharcoalCrow  Well, it’s going to be medieval themed and not set in the real world per se, so the Lovecraftian elements are likely going to come more from a dark fantasy atmosphere and encounters rather than being modern supernatural stuff.

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

Twitticle Wratts woolydub  Not to mention the live storytelling aspect, especially with the Gold Servers having what are essentially live Dungeon Masters who create story-shaping events and whatnot that revolve around how the players respond/react to it.  
That stuff simply isn’t possible on a huge scale.  Too many assholes and trolls would probably try to tear servers to the ground with that potential.

Sorenthaz
Guest
Sorenthaz

Snipehunter spacecampclan  Maybe I’m getting too hopeful for the live storytelling aspect, but it sounds like Revival is aimed at actually putting the “RP” into MMORPGs.  Because the idea of Game Masters interacting with the world and the world being shaped by player actions is pretty much what I’ve been a part of in much smaller, simpler online games (i.e. MUDs and games that run on the BYOND platform).  Where active RP is encouraged and as everyone develops their own stories, a greater narrative is developed through a mix of admin-driven events and players’ actions within the worlds/events.  And the storytelling/Standing Points sound akin to that to some degree, even if strict RP isn’t necessarily enforced or mentioned directly.

Either way, the idea of having an MMO even close to being like that is really exciting and I hope Revival accomplishes its goals.

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

Damonvile ManastuUtakata Farg  Or it’s more like he figures the mindless masses, MMO tourists, and trolls won’t give a care about Revival because it’s purposely designed as a niche game with heavy roleplaying elements (and roleplaying itself is very much an under-represented niche in MMOs).

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

If Revival can accomplish its goals of providing live storytelling ( https://www.revivalgame.com/features/live_storytelling ), then I’ll gladly subscribe to this game in order to be a part of that.  It honestly sounds like a perfect MMO for Roleplayers in that regard (and yeah I guess there’s cybering that people can do too, hur hur hur).

Anyone who really wanted to know what the game is about would already check out the website by now, rather than post dismissive comments in the comment sections.  All of the big features are listed here and each one has a fairly lengthy explanation behind it.  https://www.revivalgame.com/?navbar=1#panel_3

Damonvile
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Damonvile

ManastuUtakata Farg They didn’t come off as the cash grab type of people to me either, but the person that gave that interview did an awful job of sell the game. He didn’t come off as the ” we think our game is awesome and are going to appeal to people who like xyz ” What I got from this is, ” we think our game will appeal to the upper class of gamers and those dirty uneducated peasants playing themeparks can just stay out ”

I don’t even want to imagine what a game would be like filled with people who actually think like that.

FacelessSavior
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FacelessSavior

I’m picking up what you’re putting down here Bruv.

ToyFuzion
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ToyFuzion

I like the “idea presented” of Revival, and it’s on my watch list. With so many MMOs bursting out on the market with wonderful ideas, huge “begging for money” campaigns, and the type of fluff I enjoy behind FtP “pay walls” now, I’ve started to become wary of new MMOs. In many cases, I feel burned by the amount of money I’ve put into MMOs and gotten nothing back in return. From MMOs that folded after going after public money campaigns, to spending lots of money on cash shops for stuff the devs can take away at any whim they have, to just looking back in hindsight (such as with ArcheAge) and going, “What do I have to show for all that money?” I didn’t mind when it was 15-30$ a month. It was part of my entertainment budget. 

Now, because I do feel burned by MMO’s financially, and with the market flooding grossly, I’ve closed my wallet. When unreleased games start talking about what I have to pay for, and if the calculations add up in my head as more wasted money, I’m backing away. Still much remains to be seen with Revival, but housing is my favorite feature to play with in MMOs. Not many MMOs do housing well anymore. 

What concerns me about housing is they’ve posted that (at least on the GM / sub server talk) that your house can be destroyed, but you can pay real cash for insurance to cover costs to rebuild, or rebuy the house over again. Unless I got that wrong, I can see how this can add up to wasted money real fast, depending on how often a house gets destroyed or ruined. Don’t mind if it’s in-game credits, etc, but this puts ownership of housing in the hands of people in real life who have the money for it. Maybe that’s what they’re shooting for? I don’t know. 

I have too many questions about it all, and yes, it remains on my watch list, but depends on what they do with the housing feature before I jump in.

FacelessSavior
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FacelessSavior

“Themepark sheeple” have enough gaming options on the market. :) Throw us a frikkin’ bone here.

crawlkill
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crawlkill

Flimflamberge right? is he planning on actually saying anything substantive at any point?

Snipehunter
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Snipehunter

spacecampclan Snipehunter I couldn’t agree more. Even when you’re playing alone an MMO shouldn’t be a solo experience, otherwise what’s the f’n point of being online at all, right? Part of making sure that every crafting game and every occupation you may choose to pursue is meaningful to the world is making them interdependent on each other. Revival isn’t a game that you can play single player. Even as a solo players you’ll be interacting with the rest of the world to survive. We might not force you to group, but you will still want a blacksmith to help you maintain or make new gear, a surgeon to help you heal, a scholar who can translate the old glyphs in the ruins you want to explore, etc. – the idea is that even playing “solo” the world requires you and you require it so that it feels both more like a real world and so that players have opportunities to interact. You depend on the endeavors of others, and others depend on your efforts, as well. 

Revival is definitely not an “everyone wins” game, what I was trying to say was that everyone, no matter what pursuits they choose to occupy their time with in Revival, will have challenges to overcome and goals to accomplish. They will have something to “fight for” and something to “win” even if that something isn’t something your particular occupations concern themselves with. Smiths will hone their skills in the pursuit of ever better results, even adventuring or bartering to find hidden techniques that can give their weapons a competitive edge or a unique flavor of their own, for example. That doesn’t mean they’ll all succeed though; in fact far from it. Using that smith example again, the hidden techniques you find and learn might very well be unique to you and unless you choose to share them, no one else will ever have that same edge. They might pursue a different advantage, of course, but in the “quest” to gain that particular skill? You’d be the only victor, said victory sealed by the strength of your effort and its benefits would be yours to reap alone.

That’s not just to make the related games satisfying either, though that does help quite a bit in that regard – if your blades really are noteworthy as a bladesmith, for example, people will seek you out for your work specifically, allowing you to wield a sort of influence you couldn’t have in a more conventional MMO for sure, but also highlighting the way the various games are interdependent. A mercenary or a bladesman is going to need people like our hypothetical smith to be the “best” and there examples of that sort of interdependence in every aspect of the game. This isn’t a game where we’re all “Alone Together” – this is a Multiplayer Evolving Online World where its denizens, both players and NPCs alike, shape the course of its progression with their victories, defeats and struggles, be they epic adventures to take on the gods themselves or the pursuits of a corner shop bakery making food so good it inspires greatness in others.

Seriously though, come have a look at our site. Revivals ideals and your ideology seem to walk hand in hand.

Bannex19
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Bannex19

Yeah I mean even colossal companies like Apple, Disney and Google all have mission statements and can be pitched unless he thinks this game is so epic it will transcend even those!

spacecampclan
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spacecampclan

Snipehunter spacecampclan Well it sounded to me like the game was focusing on ‘making everyone a winner’. Virtually every MMO I’ve played has catered to the least common denominator for the sole purpose of acquiring as many subscriptions as possible.

While I think the idea of having different ‘games’ within the game is innovative, it’s likely going to have a negative effect on player interaction. One of the things I hate most about modern MMOs is how they play like single player games. Segregating people by their career path is a huge step in the wrong direction, IMO.

Twitticle
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Twitticle

Wratts woolydub They have kind of said that on the forums, perhaps not so blatant as IDGAF. But they don’t want the kind of attention something like SC has. The audience gets too big, and the broad scale of perspectives and expectations start gnawing at the project. It becomes less fun more like work, and I think they as you said are doing something because they want to, a passion. Whether it works or not – I think they want the experience and the dream as much as the result.

Snipehunter
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Snipehunter

spacecampclan Snipehunter Oh I think I see what you might be misunderstanding. Check out the revival website, and the forums. You’ll find that a lot of the things it seems you believe are happening, aren’t an aspect of the game at all. For example, this isn’t crafting like you’ve seen in MMOs before and it doesn’t factor into the world the way it would in more conventional MMOs, either. In point of fact, each of the crafting skills is a game in and of itself, built for the people that enjoy that trade and want to have fun with it in a video game setting. Likewise, the things being made all play into the world in useful ways, be they of use explicitly to players of other aspects of the game, or in advancing your own occupations, or in influencing and supporting the NPCs of the world. 

The assumption you’re making is that any of this is tedious, and that’s counter to what we’re doing in every possible way. The same is true of the idea that the game is time == win. Quite the opposite in fact, player skill plays a part in literally every occupation one would spend their time with in Revival and one of the reasons is explicitly to mitigate the idea that victory is certain with enough time. 

In truth, it sounds like you have a lot more in common with the thinking behind Revival than you realize. It is, literally, a game “about puzzle solving, self improvement, learning and havingfun.”

You don’t have to take my word for it in this post, either. Read our blogs. Read the forums. It’s all there and has been from the moment we started this project. The things you’re ardently in support of are the fuel for the passion project that is Revival.

Flimflamberge
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Flimflamberge

“We’ve been working on this for years. We just can’t do it. There is too much epicness in Revival
that can make it a one sentence or one paragraph pitch. It always
spirals into a rant. The game is just too awesome to fit in a sentence.”
Translation: I am too pretentious to realise that the truest way to understand complex subjects is to be able to explain them simply, and I will instead try to sound impressive while saying nothing at all.
/snark

skoryy
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skoryy

“This is a game for everyone, except those theme part sheeple.”

Hooray, yet another game that’s Too Cool For Everyone Else.

spacecampclan
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spacecampclan

Snipehunter spacecampclan Games are not jobs. I don’t have to run on a treadmill to get a movie to play after paying to watch it. I’m not saying instant gratification is what gaming is about, but overcoming challenging encounters does not have to feel like work. Games are about puzzle solving, self improvement, exploring, learning and having fun.

The job of a game developer is to create an environment where these goals can be accomplished, not give the players a tool to tediously craft some virtual object that amounts to little more than a trophy. If the biggest thing separating the winners from the losers is time, then your game isn’t a game.

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

Farg 
I disagree. I don’t think this company is under any illusion that this game will be a money grab in way Carbine making WildStar hardcore thought it would. I can least give them that. I personally think they’re going after other brass rings that are untenable currently, least without a huge revenue influx.

agemyth
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agemyth

Wish Livefyre had better ways to make quotes stand out.
“If you had to give a one-sentence elevator pitch to sell Revival to either a potential customer or a potential investor, what would it be?
We’ve been working on this for years. We just can’t do it. There is too much epicness in Revival
that can make it a one sentence or one paragraph pitch. It always
spirals into a rant. The game is just too awesome to fit in a sentence.”

Hah, I haven’t seen the classic games media soft ball “Q: How awesome is your game? A: So awesome.” so bluntly written as that in a while. To be fair to Jef though, it seems like the question was meant to give Mr. Gonzalez an opportunity to clear up some misconceptions about the game some people may have. Kedhrin dropped the ball there by saying the game is “too awesome”. Still just seems like “that game” where you piss, shit, fuck, and enslave PCs and NPCs alike. Also, please buy our exorbitantly priced virtual real estate in the same fashion you flush money down the Star Citizen drain. But if you don’t really understand what makes slavery and prostitution as game mechanics/features in an online game is abominable, good luck have fun with that dream chasing. I can only imagine the kind of players those features will attract.

Should have asked them how Star Marine is coming along after that PR nightmare cooled down :)
[No, I know that would be a crappy thing to do to a developer who agrees to do an interview with you and probably has little to do with that space elephant in the room.]

Jaed
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Jaed

chosenxeno There are several walk-throughs of the housing from April over on Twitch http://www.twitch.tv/revivalgame/c/6507683 or search for RevivalGame on YouTube.

Lethality
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Lethality

chosenxeno It’s important to note that they’re doing a staged release. They’re building systems in the order that will give them an opportunity to build on the systems that came before… 
So, first will be an offline housing client where home owners can check out their digs. That’s Phase 1 and there are 6 phases. 
It’s not being done traditionally, and more like Star Citizen. Personally, I think this is the best way to do huge projects like this. It’s going to result in less-buggy software delivered more often.
Anyway, check out their release schedule: https://www.revivalgame.com/?navbar=2#panel_5
The developers have been incredibly concise in their answers and actions, which gives me great belief that they have a solid design and a solid plan to execute.

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

CharcoalCrow ManastuUtakata 
Maybe I should send them a crate of live chickens every time I want to access their buy-in premium content, instead of my credit card number. o.O

Farg
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Farg

Passion for grabbing money

Snipehunter
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Snipehunter

spacecampclan “That which we achieve too easily, we esteem too lightly; ’tis dearness alone that gives a thing its value” – probably messed that up a little, but that’s at least a paraphrase of a quote from thomas payne. I parrot it up here because it describes a view of achievement and accomplishment that many MMOs have forgotten: We get more out of succeeding with effort than we do out of success without it. 
Would it surprise you to learn that the devs of Revival have a rule? “Verisimilitude > Simulation” We say, or to put it another way: Realism ≠ immersion.

The game isn’t striving for true realism. It’s striving for evolution; change that comes at the hand of its players in the form of a world that literally responds to its players. A world with a history that grows over time, with each server developing differently based on what its players do. For that to work, you have to abandon the idea that every single player is the hero and to do that without robbing players of a sense of accomplishment you need to give every play style something equally compelling and rewarding to do, so that even though they aren’t all the epic hero, players can still triumph and “win.” To do this you “blow out” the other aspects of a game besides combat, which means deeper crafting, deeper trade and, if you can pull it off, social and political features. Coincidentally, this means you end up developing systems that seem to portray “realism for realism’s sake” but that’s not what happening at all. It’s not about realism at all; it’s about making sure the game can let everyone achieve something meaningful, no matter their style of play.
Likewise, it’s not that Revival is explicitly a “hardcore” game. It’s just that for each of these non-combat roles to feel appropriately rewarding, we’ve designed them so that you have to overcome challenges. (See that quote at the top of this reply – overcoming challenges makes the reward more valuable to the person who worked for them) For some, especially gamers who haven’t experienced that style of play, it can seem like we’re “hardcore or nothing” but in truth, that’s not what’s happening at all. It’s “fight to win, in everything you do so that you can savor victory.”

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

ManastuUtakata I’d have some crazy respect for a company that, say, insisted you could only barter for access :p
“Three chickens and a half dozen eggs?”
“Throw in the rooster and we have a deal!”

John Bagnoli
Guest
John Bagnoli

ManastuUtakata Well, in their defense it is more about immersion into the world than matter-of-fact realism. Being a game, I cannot really fault them for these kinds of concessions, these slights against reality.

spacecampclan
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spacecampclan

Realism ≠ immersion. Instant gratification does not detract from immersion. Ambiance, continuity and focus create an immersive environment. Interacting with the UI and game tools breaks immersion. Cash shops break immersion. Having to research overly complex game mechanics breaks immersion.
 
I really don’t think game developers have a gamers perspective these days.

ManastuUtakata
Guest
ManastuUtakata

It’s almost if the narrative seems to be following this discourse:
“We going make the game as dirty, immersive and realistic as possible…”
“But you need a credit card to use the brothels? I am pretty sure they didn’t have that kinda currency back in medieval Europe…”
“…but we really want players to show their love for the game.”
“I don’t think you answered the question.”
/sigh

Wratts
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Wratts

woolydub I think the key message is “IDGAF”.  Sounds like someone is doing a vanity/creative project and honestly doesn’t care if it goes mainstream.  No need for an elevator pitch if you’re just doing it for the creative validation

woolydub
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woolydub

Good to see a company stick to their guns with how they want to make the game. He’s killin me with the, “This ain’t a cash grab!” stuff though. They aren’t trying to grab cash from the masses. They are trying to overcharge a few whales. It’s still a cash grab.

He also could have at least attempted the one sentence pitch though. If you can’t sell me on your game, or be bothered to try, then why should I buy it? Every game maker bandies around the word ‘epic'(in his case, “epicness”) when describing their game. You can do better.

chosenxeno
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chosenxeno

So, they’ve been working on this for years and there is still no footage of any class skills or living environments.

Koolthulu
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Koolthulu

Too much realism just kills gameplay for me, unless we’re talking flight sims. And so far what I’ve read about this game leaves me wondering “Where’s the game?” But games really shouldn’t try to cater to everyone and I hope they get to make the game their way.

schlag sweetleaf
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schlag sweetleaf

medieval pseudo-realism?

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