A CryEngine RPG, Because Those Are Words People Like

By Alec Meer on January 30th, 2014 at 1:00 pm.

This is a game called Cradle, but not this game called Cradle. That’s going to cause issues, isn’t it? Perhaps the various developers should have a cradle off. Each of them is given a screaming baby to hold, and whichever one sees the child’s damnable wailing cease first gets to call their videogame ‘Cradle.’ I’m like a latter-day King Solomon, me.

The Cradle I’m posting about here is an RPG built in CryEngine, and currently singing for its $350,000 supper on Kickstarter, with $60k-ish in hand already. While it has something on an unproven team behind it, it is both rather pretty and making the kind of bold promises that people sit up and pay attention to. “Making sure that player agency is at the heart of gameplay,” for instance. Buzzzzzzzzz!

There you go, then. As well as the pritty graffix, its big claim is a “new type of fast paced melee-combat that will force you to rely on your wits”, and which has much to do with locational damage and appropriate sword postures. You’ll want to read the combat section here before watching the below if you want any sense of what’s going on.

There’s also stuff like “Maintaining your health and stamina in Cradle will require exploration. You will need to forage for plants and herbs to make life saving salves.” Jolly good stuff, on paper, but it does look and sound an extremely tall order to do well for $350k, and for such a young, non-established team. The devs try to head such concerns off at the pass in the ‘note from the business manager’ section of their KS page, but I maintain it’s a tall order. Which means it’ll only be all the more impressive if they pull it off.

Stage one is to hit their kickstarter goal. At the time of writing they’ve got $62,000/$350,000 with 21 days on the clock, so it’s eminently do-able. Projected release date is Summer 2016.

Oh yeah, and they need to sort out that Two Games Named Cradle business too.

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72 Comments »

  1. BobbyDylan says:

    This looks interesting, but the Dev team looks young. I’m not normally skeptical on Kickstarter, but I think I might wait and see with this one.

    • dragonfliet says:

      Absolutely agreed. Being that young (literally, as well as in terms of other projects worked on–are there ANY that they’ve named?) makes handling such a big project (with such a big team) a very, very difficult task, and is a bit worrisome.

      Also, that the writer for a videogame has a bunch of shots of him working on a freaking electric typewriter made my eyes roll into the back of my head so hard I think I sprained my neck. I foresee a bunch of very mediocre writing that somehow feels pompous and haughty.

      • KhanIHelpYou says:

        their team page seems to be out of date according to some of their linkedin profiles but a quick scan shows up

        ceo – comp sci student
        lead programmer – comp sci student, interned at wolfram
        art director – concept artist on orion:dino horde? something around that time
        lead enviroment – game design grad, no comercial projects
        lead animator – game design grad, no comercial projects
        senior enviroment artist – 4 months of QA for EA
        senior character artist – darksiders 2
        AI programmer – comp sci student
        story consultant – comp sci student – digital media intern at marvel
        composer – orion: prelude, the dark mod, pirates of the caribbean mmo, universe sanbox 3
        VFX – fine art student
        character artist – Filipino freelancer – uncharted 2, bf3, medal of honor, gameloft stuff, zynga
        enviroment artist – some XBLA game
        enviroment artist – art graduate – no comercial projects

        all the computer science students go to Carnegie Mellon University

        So yeah the core structure of the team have no obvious experience and there are a couple of well traversed freelancers scatter in there. Still, it looks quite pretty.

        • Cinek says:

          Well, seeing that team I must say that what they did IS impressive.
          Still though – no way I’m going to give them even a cent. They look like a classical example of what “underestimating costs” and “very likely total failure in the end” is.

          • SirMonkeyWrench says:

            I agree, there’s no reason an inexperienced team shouldn’t be able to create something amazing… but there are many, many reasons reasons that an inexperienced team can’t do that on a shoestring budget. You would be mad to put money into this, especially considering that even the over-funded and massively experienced kickstarter project teams like Obsidian’s have been running into budget and time problems on projects that are on many levels less ambitious.

  2. RProxyOnly says:

    “new type of fast paced melee-combat that will force you to rely on your wits”

    So not an RPG then?

    The term RPG really needs a tighter definition.

    • Wizardry says:

      It’s an RPG because you level up!

      • RProxyOnly says:

        Ahh it’s the lazy definition of RPG then.

      • BobbyDylan says:

        Indeed. I can’t wait for the next Call of Duty RPG! I’m almost prestiged the last one’s RPG’ness.

        • Ross Angus says:

          Woah. What if all those BroTwits on Xbox live are just playing the role of racist homophobes?

          • DigitalImpostor says:

            Then Hollywood needs to sign them up because they’re the best actors I’ve ever heard.

    • Oneah says:

      I don’t think it needs a tighter definition as much as it needs to stop being misused. RPG says itself, means role playing in a game, RPG is not a game mechanic. I think the genre actually suffers from always having these pre-conceptualized ideas of what’s suppose to be in a RPG.

      • Cinek says:

        Misused? Your definition – “role playing in a game” – only encourages misuse. I seen whole “role playing” servers in Jedi Academy – which wasn’t RPG at all, just a shooter with some Star Wars theme in it. Heck: Some people role-play in Battlefield 3 multiplayer. Or World of Tanks. None of which is an RPG.

        RPG in deed DOES require a tighter definition.

        • DrMcCoy says:

          Yes, RPG certainly needs a tighter definition: You’re sitting around a table with people and roll dice, keeping track of your progress on character sheets and other bits of paper.

          What you’re talking about is a computer roleplaying game, or CRPG, which is a different beast altogether. And now get off my lawn.

      • killias2 says:

        Remember all that role playing in Wizardry? Oh wait….

        Here’s the fact of the matter: when it comes to video games, RPG does not really mean “role playing game,” i.e. – a game focused on playing roles. Computer/console RPGs can, and often do, embrace roleplaying, but that’s not what the term historically meant.

        When it comes to video games, RPG means “this game is either directly based on or indirectly inspired by tabletop RPGs”. For a lot of technical and design reasons, early computer RPGs weren’t really good at emulating the actual roleplaying elements of tabletop RPGs, but they were quite capable of emulating the stats based combat and the progression systems (experience and equipment). Like it or not, that’s what RPGs have referred to ever since.

        Sure, you can point to blurry examples and try to show that this definition is too loose, but that’s always true with genres. I mean.. aren’t 90% of games “fighting” games? And yet the term has a very specific usage in practice. The fact that Call of Duty has light RPG elements doesn’t make it an RPG any more than Ultima Underworld’s perspective makes it a FPS.

        • ucfalumknight says:

          Hey you! Stop making sense on these here internets!
          In all honesty, I think you have hit the proverbial nail on its proverbial head.

          • killias2 says:

            Thanks. I was having this discussion a year or two ago when this particular approach occurred to me. Ever since, it just feels obvious.

      • Szpil says:

        RPG = playing a role in a computer game? By your definition every game is a role playing game. In a strategy game I am playing the role of a general, in a driving game I am playing the role of a driver, in COD I am playing the role of white american soldier, in Pacman I am playing the role of a drug addict.. etc.

        RPGs do need a tigther definition.

        Secondly, the thing with fast-paced combat in RPGs is that it often does not emphasis what is actually at the heart of any good RPG: a solid character portfolio that allows for a deep and meaningful character progression.

        If you as a player have to be good at doing a quick dodge – i.e. hitting a button quick enough – then that is not part of your in-game character – your role – any more. If I suck at fast-paced action combat, (which I do) then that means I will never be able to play the role of a fast paced rogue in such a RPG. I.e. this kind of “RPG” does not let me play that role – at least not irrespective of my own skills.

        • TimorousBeastie says:

          So RPGs can’t have puzzles because while the character you’re playing may be intelligent enough to figure it out, the player may not be?

    • McCool says:

      There is no reason it can’t be a roleplaying game if the combat is fast paced. I thought we got over this silly argument circa 2006?

    • Turkey says:

      Every game set in a time before guns is an rpg and every game with a gun in it is a shooter.

      There, I defined all video game genres.

      • Cinek says:

        So Hearts of Iron series is a shooter? Well… it does make some sense – sometimes I do want to shoot my PC for what’s happening on a screen. ;)

        • Turkey says:

          Well, you pull the triggers of lots and lots of guns from really far away. I’m gonna say shooter :)

      • azrd79 says:

        Whats fallout 3 then?

      • The Random One says:

        What about games that take place after guns but don’t have guns? Gone Home, SimCity, Phoenix Right etc?

        • Turkey says:

          Well, they don’t support my very narrow genre definitions, so I choose not to acknowledge their existence.

          Still holds up!

    • 2late2die says:

      Ummmm, fast-paced melee combat can certainly be a part of an RPG – it’s not all about turn-based or real-time w/ pause stuff.
      A game requires only one mechanic to be qualified as RPG – a tangible progression of your character via skill/level system, as opposed to simply getting more “toys”, beyond that the world is your oyster.

      As for the game – it looks interesting but for now I’m in a wait and see mode.
      Of course the fact that their writer uses a manual typewrite surely means the story is going to awesome. /s

      Also, that first dude needs a haircut pronto.

      • RProxyOnly says:

        Sorry 2late2die.. but frankly that’s bullshit… and you would get your nuts ripped off if you said that on ‘codex.

        ..and the EXACT reason why ‘RPG’ needs a tighter definition.

        I play RPG’s.. I DON’T play hack ‘n slash with numbers (well not when I want an RPG)..you see there is a difference… I would like that difference properly classified by the makers, not just for them to jump on the mostly likely bandwagon that will sell.

        • drewski says:

          Because, obviously, RPGcodex are the only ones who are allowed to grant the genre label “RPG”.

          Different people see things differently; not everything has to fit neatly in a little genre box that perfectly aligns with what you and the ‘codex extremists demand.

        • phlebas says:

          Goodness, this ‘codex’ place sounds like a delightfully welcoming community. I must pop along there some time for tea and crumpets.

          • Infinite says:

            Don’t ever go there… seriously. Although the place is full of some of the most intersesting and insightful disscussion on CRPGs and the like it is also a place full to the brim of the worst kinds of bigots(white supremacist, misogynist and homophomes etc.) and other kind of shit(unironic PC elitism taken to the extreme) and with their mods doing nothing against bullshit like that being spew, hell sometimes they even take part in it. So if you’re willing to wade through all that crap then go ahead otherwise just avoid the place because there are far better places with the same types of disscussion but less bullshit and bigotry.

          • The Random One says:

            But what’s their position on tea and crumpets?

          • SuicideKing says:

            Soggy.

      • KevinLew says:

        The term “RPG” isn’t very well defined because there’s so many different kinds of RPG types. Even in paper-and-pencil, tabletop games, there’s a huge variation and they are very different. There’s different ideas but as long as your game features any RPG-ish elements, then you can say that your game is loosely an RPG. A small sample of features would include things like XP and leveling, semi-random loot from kills and treasure chests, complicated stats based on equipment or player skill selection, or the idea that your character has some degree of choice in what they do next.

        Trying to come up with a specific definition of an RPG is virtually impossible. Humanity can’t even agree on a specific definition of a video game either. Whenever an indie developer comes up with some aggressive indie concept, then somebody will complain that it “isn’t a game”. You’ll hear about how any number of games aren’t games: Proteus, Spec Ops: The Line, The Walking Dead, Gone Home, etc.

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        Whilst I’d agree that not all RPGs have to conform to the “traditional” way of doing things, there are some things which are pretty fundamental. One of these is that my characters ability to fight shouldn’t be dependant on *my* skill in [game] combat. The same is obviously also true of other skills, but these are usually modelled in game anyway for fairly obvious practical reasons (e.g. my characters ability to cast spells can’t be based on my own).

      • aliksy says:

        Holy shit no. “A game requires only one mechanic to be qualified as RPG – a tangible progression of your character via skill/level system, ” is so wrong it hurts me. Please, stop.

    • fdisk says:

      That was my reaction as well! I like my RPGs like I like my tabletops, turn-based and tactical. Skyrim being the exception to that rule.

      • The Random One says:

        I like my RPG’s like I like my women: witty, clever, creative, deep, frantic, weird, complex, ugly, and steampunk themed.

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          This comment is best.

          Edit: Apart from the apostrophe. Hide your shame.

    • welverin says:

      RPG = Role-playing Game

      If you think combat is the defining feature, you’re missing the point.

    • Don Reba says:

      RPG needs a tighter definition? It can be done. How about this? There is a number of features characteristic of RPGs; each feature is worth a certain number of points, and a game needs to have at least some set number of points to be considered an RPG. If we examine all games and decide which of them are RPGs and which are not, we can deduce what the features are, how many points each feature is worth, and what the bar should be. There!

      (This is called a linear model. If that doesn’t work, we could use more advanced machine learning techniques. Let’s do it!)

  3. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Oh thank heaven. I was starting to worry that yet another new fantasy RPG kickstarter wasn’t going to be announced this week.

    Admittedly its just a new pet peeve, but these are sort of becoming the high end equivalent of Greenlight Slender games – utterly ubiquitous yet presumably mattering massively to somebody somewhere.

  4. ArtyFishal says:

    If they just said they wanted to move out of their parents’ houses, I’d be more inclined to give them the money.

    • Jimmy says:

      *chuckle
      I have some old clothes and food vouchers. Can I send them to kickstarter? I thought no-magic realistic RPGs were the next big thing, for ipads.

  5. anarchitect says:

    that last dude was talking like Christopher Walken…

  6. Arown says:

    Guys you have to back this game !!!!

  7. Barberetti says:

    Cradle: The One Where The Music Drowns Out Half Of What The NPCs Say

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      Yeah, that’s something that bothers both me and my parents/older relatives, but mostly TV/radio shows where they are concerned. The difference between music volume and speech volume is often too large to be anything but enjoyable. It’s not only that you have to turn the volume down when the music starts and up when people start speaking, when there is speech and music together, the latter is too loud and there is nothing to do about that. Increasing the volume to hear the speech better also increases the music volume.

  8. Shooop says:

    OK, nice engine. Now how’s that game working out?

  9. drewski says:

    Yep. Massive, massive Kickstarter fatigue right now. And I’ve only ever backed one thing.

    Still, good luck to ‘em etc.

  10. Loque says:

    I am sorry to say so but… Ambitious projects require a strong team. With a LOT of experience. And from what I’ve seen in this video… at least one of the member is barely 20 years old.

  11. MajorManiac says:

    So Farcry 3 with swords. Not a bad thing.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Yeah, but remember that Far Cry 3 was Skyrim with guns. So this is Skryim with guns with swords.

  12. pilouuuu says:

    Well, who cares if they’re young? Weren’t id Software guys young when they released Doom? What they showed is interesting enough and one of the guys have a Bravest Warriors poster, so they have my support. I’m all for good looking RPGs that don’t have crappy combat.

    • TheTingler says:

      True, but games cost less to make back then. And most importantly id Software had a string of moderate-to-major hits under their belt BEFORE Doom, namely the Commander Keen games and Wolfenstein 3D. Point me in the direction of something these guys have done already and I’ll give it a go.

    • khomotso says:

      If they’re young and have something new to say, that’s one thing. If they’re young and just mouthing a lot of empty phrases that every damn development team could claim as their own, that’s a red flag.

      Why cradle? Because awesomeness!

  13. Don Reba says:

    Cradle is designed with one purpose: to create a compelling game, compelling game filled with action and exploration… Designed with two purposes: to create a compelling game, filled with action and exploration, set in a unique fantasy setting. Three purposes! …to create a compelling game, filled with action and exploration, set in a unique fantasy setting, and featuring a distinct combat system. Our four! No, amongst our purposes! Amongst our purposes are such elements as: creating a compelling… I’ll come in again.

    To be honest, it all sounds like they have a lot of wishful thinking and no idea what to do.

  14. Mr. International says:

    fighting over a label like RPG… you might as well type out the snorts bros

  15. alsoran says:

    Openworld, FPS and Fantasy. Just up my street. I wonder whether it will have mods :^)

  16. PyroCat says:

    Yes but can I play as a lady?

  17. BobsLawnService says:

    This Kickstarter has all the signs of a project that is going to fail spectacularly.

    Do people really think that something this ambitious is going to be created by a bunch of amateurs for that little money?

    I really don’t think RPS should be endorsing projects like this.

  18. JanusForbeare says:

    “Making sure that player agency is at the heart of gameplay”

    This reads like one of those BS lines you put on a resume that ultimately means nothing. Unless I’m missing some crucial detail about the game mechanics, it seems to mean “the player is important to the game”. Which, you know, is kind of how games work.