If you exist in the plane of digital card games, then you might want to stay tuned to this interview special. Gamehubs have recently spoken to the team members of Claimony; CEO Björn Torstensson and Producer Eric Gulve who represented Claimony at helping Gamehubs unpack and unearth the deeper layers of in-development digital collectible card game known as Allians.
L-R: Björn Torstensson, CEO and Eric Gulve, Producer.
I am a fan of both physical and digital card games albeit not a hardcore player but I can agree that card games these days have some of the most beautiful and inspiring artworks of characters or scenarios in the gaming multiverse. Now, imagine all that and replace them with an image of yourself, your gaming buddies, or your favourite celebrity gamer or streamer - that's Allians, in its most basic identity.
Allians invites you not just as the player but becoming a part of the game as well. it's an evolution of the card game genre as unlike any other CCGs, the cards represent real people. Not only that, according to Claimony, every gamer's achievements in popular platforms such as Steam can merge with their individual progression in Allians itself making each and every Allians player an ever-evolving character.
The development team also included attributes in each card, known as the PEARL system. PEARL represents Planning, Endurance, Aggression, Reflex and Luck, the five gaming attributes required by every gamer to perform well across a myriad of video games and are based on in-game performance in Steam genres.
That's for a short introduction about Claimony's Allians, the following is the casual interview with Bjorn and Eric, and with their answers combined as a single entity:
Gamehubs: Can you share with us more about Claimony and Allians in general?
Allians: Claimony.com started as a community for Steam gamers where we reward them for their gaming achievements. Basically the idea of Allians was born out of Claimony as Allians uses a person's gaming performance to tie the knots back to gaming itself. This makes it more fun and engaging to 'utilise' your achievements rather than bragging on Steam itself. Claimony started since Autumn 2013 while Allians is a 1-year-old in-development project.
Gamehubs: Now, can you share with us your roles in Allians?
Allians [Bjorn]: I am the CEO of the company so I handle overall project managements responsibilities. I am also involved in the core game mechanics, testing, sound design and more. It's a broad role with my hands and fingers everywhere.
Allians [Eric]: I started working on the game prototyping in January and February this year and I've been fine tuning the core concepts of the game this entire time. I am the lead gameplay designer and in charge of the Allians conceptualisation, streamlining the game to make it more accessible and more interesting to develop as well as implementations of the progression system in the game, which involves powering your own character. I will be thinking of ways to keep the players' attention on the high and create retention quality.
Gamehubs: How do you plan to market Allians with prominent collectible card games already available for CCG players?
Allians: We understand your sentiments, and yet we're not going to compete with Hearthstone or even Magic: The Gathering on their premises. We want to make Allians appealing on a whole new and different level where the game promotes you as a gamer in the game itself. Our players would even want to include their Hearthstone stats in Allians. We are encouraging gamers to play other games too. What we're creating is a symbiotic relationship between games so if you're doing better in other games, that will make you better in Allians as well.
Gamehubs: What would be the other differences then between Allians and all the existing CCG games out there?
Allians: Judging with our positioning against competitors, with TCG players would have to constantly wait for new cards and expansions. From a user perspective, it is more interesting to create a retention system where their cards in Allians will be able to evolve and improve gradually through time. Which is why Allians is very community-centric and has the social hooks in it compared to traditional CCG or TCG games. While all the big TCGs have expansions, they are awesome but also requires you to be interested in that universe alone. With Allians, you can literally create a Super Smash Bros. deck and also create full themed decks with the characters you love. Allians flourishes in that sense, and we do encourage the fanart community to create character artworks that are both original and inspired to make the whole game even more spectacular.
Gamehubs: What would be the long-term plans to sustain the freshness of Allians for the players?
Allians: Our long-term plans include the possibilities of animated cards and customised card backs. Most of the future development plans comprise of solidifying the user experience and allowing customisation of the experiences that players want. As it is, we're striking partnerships to create animations for a character as we believe that this would make it even more valuable as a marketing tool.
Gamehubs: So Allians recently engaged Kickstarter or funding but didn't quite achieved the financial goals with the platform. How are you guys moving forward with the developments of the game now?
Allians [Björn]: Realistically, only around 30% of video games succeed on Kickstarter but even if a game succeeds in acquiring the backers they need, it will still be an uphill battle when the launch day begins. I believe Allians is at the present still a very shareable concept and we had already reached out to influencers to help us with spreading the word. We will definitely not give up and it is still hardwork down to the final day. When we spoke to people such as streamers, esports personalities and gamers in general about Allians, and gained their feedbacks, many of them really liked the concept and that alone is better than actively promoting on Kickstarter. That has given me more confidence than anything that we are on the right track here, so building up an audience is crucial to the success of a game. No matter how we end up, we will continue working on the concept and find a way forward.
Gamehubs: Is Allians suitable as a competitive CCG?
Allians [Eric]: Absolutely, I have personally competed in both Pokemon TCG and 3DS game competitions and very involved in the community in Sweden. It's a very inclusive experience and I've used this knowledge to build upon Allians in order to make it more competitive and inclusive.
We are designing the game to be as easy as possible but complex enough for the hardcore gamers. There are combinations of powers and skills and players have to think plenty of steps ahead, which is an advanced-level playing but not something every player must do. Once you get a hanf of it, then you can explore the possibilities and start chaining events and stuff.
Gamehubs: Can you describe the mechanics of the gameplay in general?
Allians: When we tested the game with a streamer base, they really love it once they got their hands on it. In that sense, it's a fun game and the mechanics of Allians are drawn from a person's personality and skills in real life such as how good you are at team work, whether you have what it takes to be promoted or even succeed with a project. We have an attributes system called PEARL, which is Planning, Endurance, Aggression, Reflex and Luck and these attributes are not only required to be successful in the games you play across genres but also succeed modern day jobs and tasks. We just need to get the demo out to as many people as possible and more people will begin to understand how fun it is.
Gamehubs: How would you advice aspiring game developers who are interested in creating their very own CCG game?
Allians: Go for it! One of the things about Allians also is the unique opportunities it has for aspiring game developers to exemplify from. The game is easy to pick up and provides ample opportunity to learn game mechanics and design. If you're interested in modding the game you can do so and if you would like, you could take print screens of the game, import them into photoshop and create physical cards. Allians can also be a really good thesis subject. Anyone can get in touch with the developers of Allians to discuss more about the game. Allians is very community based so everyone is involved in designing the game to a certain extent.
Gamehubs: Can you share with us the release date slated for Allians?
Allians: At the moment, we're still figuring out a release date for Allians but as it is, our developments are enough to provide opportunities for journalists and influencers to cover the game with a play tests. Back to the date, we're looking at 2017 and beyond. You can visit our Steam Greenlight page to keep yourself posted on our progression.
Gamehubs: What would be your advice to gamers around the world?
Allians: We encourage people to play any game they want and you will affect your gaming experience by inviting a player to play the game with you.