Eagle Island is a procedurally generated Metroidvania, inspired by Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. However, instead of a baby plumber/dinosaur duo, you’ll be assuming the role of Quill, a master of falconry, with his loyal owl, Koji. The story begins when Koji’s brother is kidnaped by Armaura, Eagle Island’s resident eagle. (Hey, Nick. I think I have an idea for a sequel!)
Eagle Island is in the final stages of Kickstarter and still, needs your support to get properly funded. I recently had the chance to sit down with Nick and talk about Eagle Island, a dream project he’s been working on for several years. (Links to demo download included at the bottom!!!)
Tell me a little about yourself, how you got into game development, and where the inspiration for Eagle Island comes from?
I’m a UK game developer and I live in Basingstoke, England. I love retro games…well at least they weren’t retro when I played them. When I was growing up, Super Nintendo was my main form of entertainment and I had always dreamt to create something that would be as good as the games I played. This is why I began pursuing game development about 15 years ago on simple bits of software like multimedia fusion, which is where I started.
Then I went to university and kind of lost touch with it a little bit. But now I’m back in full force with Eagle Island and ready to get the game out there and show off the Super Nintendo roots that it comes from. However, mixing it with more of a modern indie feel. I mean, it’s not a genre, but that sort of indie feel from modern games we see today. So I would like to blend the two in quite a seamless manner.
So where did the inspiration for Eagle Island come from?
While I don’t have any pictures of it, the original game was sort of like Yoshi’s island on the Super Nintendo where you ran around with a series of eggs behind you and you would hatch them and launch little chicks. But, exploding chicks…didn’t feel quite right and there wasn’t much of a story behind the game to justify it. I added the story in and realized it needed a loyal sidekick. So we replaced the disposable chick with Koji the owl and it just sort of turned into falconry instead of hatched eggs. Now, the general gameplay style came from Rogue Legacy. I wanted the game to have different rooms so it was different every time.
I ❤ Rogue Legacy.
I feel like procedurals have sort of become a trend and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon given the fact that a vast amount of indie games coming out this year are boasting that style of gameplay.
Since I’m by no means a developer, could you explain the allure to generating this type of game from a developer’s perspective?
Well to begin with, it saves a tremendous amount of time on handcrafting areas. The difficult part is that you have to make the computer craft these areas where that they’re fun to play and that they work. In fact, the hardest part of developing a procedural was making it so the character was able to run and progress through without getting stuck.
A lot of games like Spelunky or Terraria can sort of dodge this with a digging mechanic. But getting it where the character could progress through like a Metroid game was a challenge. A fun challenge. Now that I’ve learned this style of development, it’s hard to say that i’ll ever go back.
Exactly, it has all that a game needs for massive amounts of replay value.
Do you think you’ll incorporate a new game + into Eagle Island?
Kind of, yes. There’s going to be 9 procedurally themed areas that you progress through from the hub world. Kind of like how you go through Banjo Kazooie. You start from the main hub world and enter the later levels from this focal point. So this is where Eagle Island differs from your typical Metroidvania.
The way I describe is, it’s like a bunch of mini rogue-likes, attached to a centralized hub world. Once you’ve defeated the game, you can revisit the first levels and there’s going to be a hard mode, speed runs, and some other modes to extend the length of the game. So the game will be made tougher with different challenges. You’re not starting the game again, the story is done, but you can then try to unlock the final hard modes.
When is Eagle Island projected to release?
Well, on the Kickstarter it’s slated to release mid-2018. However, we know with every game that’s been developed, who knows. I’m sure everyone would prefer to wait a few months for a better game rather than it coming out exactly on the release date. In theory, I have all of the main game mechanics in Eagle Island complete, I just need to put together the last of the enemies in the other worlds and complete the hub world. Which is still a big job, but the core gameplay is ready.
Who are you working with on the artwork for Eagle Island? Your Kickstarter indicated that a majority of the support will be segmented to the artist.
Yes, so my backdrop artist is Deryk Buckarev and Jackelyn Bautista is the concept artist who did the vectors and the enemies. Many of which haven’t made it into the demo. So there will be a more unique variety of enemies when the game is released rather than just the plants, mushrooms, and bear monsters. Sort of like Pokemon style monsters that are based on real animals and have special attacks.
I noticed from the demo that there are some elemental combinations you can perform with a different feather that can yield different effects and damage. Could you tell me more about that system?
Yes, exactly. So as you rack up combos you can toggle your feathers for other types of elemental moves. You’ll find that the ice feather is especially strong against some of the more difficult enemies because you can freeze them right in their tracks
The lightning is for shooting in a horizontal or vertical line which you can chain straight through a row or column of enemies, whereas all of the other birds bounce off. The fire one gets a radius explosion so you can catch several enemies in a small area. They are each designed for specific situations. If you use them at the right time, you’ll get to keep gems from the combos and there’s a multiplier that corresponds to how many coins you yield after defeating a group.
Is there anything else you would like to tell your fans?
If you like Eagle Island, support us on our Kickstarter!
Watch Twitch streamers play Eagle Island!
- Mike & Ryan from Cinemassacre play Eagle Island
- SomecallmeJohnny plays Eagle Island
- SplatterCatGaming plays Eagle Island
- LordWelshi plays Eagle Island
- Lucidfoxx plays Eagle Island
- The_Cliffy plays Eagle Island
- Foxen plays Eagle Island (at 2:21:00)
Download from Game Jolt: https://gamejolt.com/games/eagle-island/253692
Download from itch.io: https://pixelnicks.itch.io/eagle-island
FUN FACT: A group of owls is called a “parliament”