MMO developer Alexander Zacherl kindly put this game on our radar today, and it couldn’t be more timely, given that this summer’s swelling of support for Black Lives Matter initiatives prompted many people to seek out Black creators and media and games to patronize. The game’s called The Wagadu Chronicles, and as presented in its Kickstarter by Berlin, Germany, developer Twin Drums, it’s both an MMO for PC/Mac and a 5E roleplaying game in an oft-underutilized afrofantasy setting.
Yes, they are explicitly calling it an MMORPG, with a clear emphasis on roleplaying:
“For the first time in gaming history, we are creating a whole space built from the ground up for role-players, from lore to mechanics. These are some of the community features that we are implementing to create such a special environment:
• When in Wagadu’s servers, role-play is recommended to all players
• We’ll have off-world lobbies where players can get any technical support or any role-playing tips on how to act out their character before returning to the actual game world.
• We will reward consistently groups of players that engage in interesting and well-thought role-playing.
• We intend to keep the space safe from harassment and trolls who want to disrupt other people’s story and role-play; we are spending a lot of energy into this and we will have a number of moderation tools both for ourselves and for the community.”
The MMO itself is plainly in a pre-alpha state, but the plan is that it’ll offer multiple skills from cartography to archery, daily experience bundles to minimize the need to grind, a player-centric crafting system, housing and farming, customizable gear, and yes, a full corpse loot mechanic when you die. Twin Drums says it’s collaborating with experts in everything from African biomes to traditional lore to music to make the game feel as authentic as possible. It’s even picked up an Assassin’s Creed voice actor.
The Kickstarter seeks $117K US; it’s already roped in over $25K with 38 days to go, though do note the developers have tweeted they’re also “being supported by” no less than Riot Games. “We have some funding and support from a big developer,” Twin Drums says. “The Wagadu Chronicles is happening. The reason why we are here is because your support can help us improve the game by increasing our development budget and by joining us in this development journey with your feedback and participation.”
The 84-page 5E D&D tabletop RPG book itself is available entirely for free through the Kickstarter, which is pretty damn awesome all by itself, but the PC MMO isn’t expected until Q4 2022.
We have't show ourselves yet and this feels like the right time for visibility. Majority female, black+queer led core team working on a PC game? Yes we exist. And we are frigging fabulous💅🏾✨. #gamedevs #indies #BlackLivesMatter #PrideMonth pic.twitter.com/5tNzmAOwwp
— Twin Drums (@TwinDrums) June 5, 2020