Last August we caught wind of Into the Echo, a time-traveling MMO from Canadian developer Etlok Studios that promised features like an emphasis on character individuality and communal progression systems that make use of those diverse character types working together. Ultimately, the devs offered a lot of big talk but few specific details save for a preview trailer and some pre-alpha testing this past December. Thanks to a PCGamesN interview with executive producer Akshay Kolte, we have some more of those details about the game’s systems.
Kolte talks up Echo’s so-called “hub-and-spoke” progression system, which utilizes advancement trees that are associated with things like a piece of story, building up crafting techniques, or even unlocking skills. Each spoke’s progress is based on milestones instead of numbers, and players can choose which spokes to follow and in what order to follow them. The idea, according to Kolte, is to remove the need for XP-based leveling and stop players’ motivation to hit level cap in as efficient a manner as possible.
As for the game’s community progression gameplay, these goals can be as wide-reaching as worldwide goals that require thousands of players contributing or as small as interdependence to progress personal or guild-level goals. That said, Kolte does point out that the devs are looking to make these systems work without forced social interaction.
Naturally, the interview brought up the game’s overall time travel hook, which is associated with players tapping into echoes – ripples in the flow of time caused by past events – and experiencing the past themselves with the power of Qen. Moving through time is described as a ritual experience, and a single location could have multiple echoes. As mentioned before, the devs have considered the game world’s history as far back as millions of years into its past.
The interview also confirms an action combat model focused on combat styles that can be swapped on the fly and a lack of open-world PvP, though there are plans for PvP between teams, guilds, and factions. Kolte also notes that players will be able to compete with one another in ways outside of combat.
Into the Echo’s Twitter account noted that its next pre-alpha test is coming soon and that “really big news” is on the way. For now, the interview provides some previously missing insight into what this MMO is looking to achieve.