I was first introduced to Witanlore by a long-time reader of our blog who works on the dev team at Druid Gameworks. Witanlore was successfully Kickstarted and Greenlit on Steam.
Witanlore is an open-world RPG with the goal of cutting the fluffy fat found in modern RPGs, and hoping to deliver a pure gameplay experience where every minute is spent on immersion. I like their pitch so far.
You assume the role of a young Ursine warrior seeking to determine your destiny. All we know thus far is that something nefarious happens, as it always does. The concept of Witanlore is intriguing. What I like most about the setting and lore is that I don’t have to be another human, or viking, or dwarf, or Elder Scrolls-esque race. I’m a Bear-guy, or Ursine, and that’s cool!
I was given the opportunity to jump in and explore the demo. I’ll be upfront and honest here and say that it’s more of a proof of concept than a demo of much gameplay. I was able to run around an obstacle course, talk to an NPC to go through some story dialog, kill a pig, and scavenger hunt for some items. Conveniently, these each showed a glimpse of different game systems that will be used throughout Witanlore.
The world is quite pretty. Unreal 4 is put to good use here, and the art assets shine (sometimes quite literally with sun rays).
Witanlore isn’t optimized yet — at least I hope not! There’s definitely slowdown for me when the settings are on turned up, but the slowdown isn’t in the form of being skippy. When I crank my settings anywhere above medium, I get a sense of moving through something thick. Almost like molasses.
The voice acting is a bit awkward. When one of the NPCs spoke to me for the first time, it was as human as a voice could possibly get. The bear looked big, tough, and … ursine warrior-y… but then sounded not so ursine warrior-y. I hope they’ll improve the voice acting.
The combat I experienced was basic, click to swing and right click to block kind of stuff. I’m eager to try out the magic and totem abilities/systems.
Witanlore has the potential to be a solid rpg. It’s conventional in the sense that it reminds me of Elder Scrolls. Pick things up in the world, active combat, text trees, and story-driven open-worldliness.
I believe they’re still a ways off from a completed and polished game, but the foundation appears to be there. I’m looking forward to playing Witanlore when it comes out on Steam (also GoG – great place too). Episode 1 is only $6.99 which seems like a great price, as long as the content is there.