In early September, Expedition Agartha, a fantasy hardcore survival simulator, was announced, strongly reminiscent of Escape From Tarkov, but in a different setting. We decided to contact the developers and request an interview from them to find out more about the project, to which they happily agreed to provide answers to our questions. In this article you can read their translation.
Hey! My name is Hunter, I am the founder of Matrioshka Games and the producer of Expedition Agartha. Before we get into the discussion, I would like to mention that many of the mechanics are still in development and the game will be released in early access. This means that the things I mention may change in the future.
Hello! First of all, I want to thank you for agreeing to give us an interview. Before talking about the game, I would like to know about your studio. Why is it called Matrioshka Games? 🙂
I am often asked this question, and some people think that we are a Russian studio, but we are run by Americans and we also have partners from all over the world. The name Matrioshka Games is inspired by the concept of the Matrioshka Brain. It is a sci-fi hypothetical megastructure similar to the Dyson sphere. It was first introduced by Robert J. Bradbury in 1997 in his book Year Million: Science at the Far Edge of Knowledge. Matryoshka’s brain requires several shells built around the sun to completely absorb all the heat and energy of the star to power the supercomputer. It is important to know that this is different from the word Matryoshka (Matryoshka Doll – approx.), The spelling is different. But the concept is similar, since the idea of a “shell in a shell” corresponds to the idea of a “matryoshka in a nesting doll”.
Your previous game, Fallen Angel, is seriously different from Expedition Agartha. But does past experience help you when developing a new project?
Our first game taught us a lot, as it was the very first project we created. With an idea of what it would be like to launch an entire game, I wanted our next project to be an ambitious multiplayer game. In terms of technical knowledge, Unreal Engine 4 is completely new to me compared to Gamemaker Studio 2. I was the lead artist and developer for Fallen Angel, but now I am the producer of Expedition Agartha. I work with our talented 3D artists and programmers who know how to create magic in the engine. Even though we have one game under our belt, there are still an infinite number of things to learn when developing our new project. We learn every day and slowly put everything together in this game.
How many people are working on the game? And are you recruiting new employees? Who knows, maybe there will be those among our readers who would not mind joining your team.
We are currently not recruiting employees. However, after an early launch, depending on the success of the game, this may change. When you include all the full-time and part-time team members, interns and publishers, there are about 30 people working on the game.
Expedition Agartha obviously takes inspiration from Escape from Tarkov. How do you feel about this game? Do you have fans in your studio?
Some of us are big fans of the Survival Looter genre, even though we don’t play such games very well. We love this genre and would like to see more such projects. The main thing we want to do is prevent accidental deaths caused by snipers or campers who were able to take advantage of the situation. Therefore, in Expedition Agartha we create a closer combat experience. The threat of defeat still exists, but you always know where your enemy is, and there will be fewer head-eye moments.
In the first screenshots, you can see swords and clubs. But will there be ranged weapons like crossbows and bows?
The full version of Expedition Agartha will feature ranged weapons such as several types of crossbows, several types of bolts, throwing knives and throwing items. However, at this point in our early access roadmap, only a few of the planned crossbows are shown, and other small arms will appear in the distant future. The big challenge for us is balancing this gameplay. If you do not wear a helmet, hitting the head with a crossbow bolt will result in instant death. But we also don’t want crossbows to be methy since this is a melee game. Therefore, we have a lot to test and work on for optimal gameplay.
Since a parallel has been drawn with the shooter Escape from Tarkov, a couple more questions arise. Will there be merchants with various items in Expedition Agartha? If so, do you need to upgrade your reputation using quests with each of them in order to buy better equipment?
Yes, they will. We want to make several NPCs that will act as merchants and quest givers. They will be the main driving force behind the game’s narrative, along with upgrades so that the player can buy new gear.
I also wanted to know about the shelter with the possibility of improving it. Are you planning to introduce it into the game?
We are working on creating a “hideout” or central world for the player. This is where the player will have access to their merchants and workshops. This area is likely to be pretty straightforward at the start as we will primarily focus on the core game mechanics, but there will be plenty of room for the development of the central world in the future.
What hardcore mechanics will Expedition Agartha have? Lack of group markers, friendly fire, or something else?
We are currently planning on making a minimal UI, but we want players to be able to easily distinguish friend from foe. I can’t say for sure if markers will appear for the group. There will be friendly fire in the game, so groups must be careful. The game is going to be pretty hardcore, but we’re also designing it to be fun to play. Even though we’re aiming for hardcore, making fun play more important.
Will anything else besides loot and skills affect character strength?
The main way to develop a player’s strength is equipment and game knowledge. We have plans to create a massive skill tree that will allow the player to spend experience points to level up the character, but this has been put on the back burner for now as we continue to work on higher priority mechanics.
Does the game have a storyline and will it develop in the future?
Since the game is focused on multiplayer, the plot is secondary to the main gameplay. However, many narrative elements are planned. The game will not feature a dedicated single-player campaign mode, but the final version will include a lot of lore to explore and analyze. We are really deeply immersed in the historical and mythical tales of what Agartha is. If our launch is successful, we already have many ideas that will expand the setting and storyline of the game.
How do you plan to support the game? What’s worth waiting for in the next updates?
We plan to release a lot of updates after the Early Access launch. We will continue to evolve game systems with new weapon enhancements, new armor and items, player skills, and other gameplay features. We also plan to add new maps with every major update to keep the gameplay fresh.
Russian language support is not indicated on the Steam page. Are there any plans to add translation in the future?
We plan to localize the game into many languages, including Russian. However, English is a priority, so we will focus on it before we start translating the game. Hopefully, support for the Russian language will be implemented by the beginning of Early Access.
Will any tests pass before the Early Access release?
Yes, we are planning to do Closed Alpha and Closed Beta. Please visit our Discord server for a chance to participate!
Will Expedition Agartha be released on platforms other than PC?
We will first focus on launching a PC game on Steam. This is our main goal, and when the game is in good shape after launch, we will consider other platforms. I’ve always wanted to release our game on other platforms, but it’s an expensive and complicated process, so it depends on the situation.
Thank you for answering the questions. Do you have any wishes for the readers of the MMO13.ru portal?
Thanks for your interest in the game. Please join our Discord server if you have any other questions. Don’t forget to add the game to your Steam Wishlist!