Ever since I tried the demo during a Steam Next Fest, I was hooked on Wandering Sword. Its visual aesthetic wowed me, the RPG elements were interesting, and the world looked incredible. After following the game for a bit, I reached out to Swordman Studio, the developer of Wandering Sword, and was lucky enough to ask some questions about the game. Today, I got those answers back and am even more excited than before!
ME: Introduce yourself. Who are you?
Swordsman Studio: Hi everyone! We are the founders of Swordman Studio, developers of Wandering Sword.
What is Wandering Sword?
Wandering Sword is an epic Chinese martial-arts RPG that thrusts you into the role of a budding swordsman, who, after being ensnared in a deadly feud that nearly ends his life, embarks on a profound journey. Set against vibrant towns, scenic mountains, sprawling caves and deep forests, this quest sets you on a journey to ascend the pinnacle of martial arts, bonding with other skilled martial artists, and aiding the weak. As you navigate this intricately detailed world, you'll also perfect a diverse range of martial arts techniques and weapons. It's a tale of destiny, challenging you to rise and become the legendary Wuxia hero you're destined to be!
How long has Wandering Sword been in development?
It took us 4 years to build the game.
How was the development process for Wandering Sword? Did you experience any issues during development?
We began the journey of developing Wandering Sword with just the 3 of us. As our project gained traction and publishing interest, we were able to build our team to 13 passionate members.
One of our biggest challenges was mastering the pixel art style we envisioned for the game. It was technically challenging but we felt a great sense of accomplishment achieving it.
Another issue we faced was that feedback from players during playtest phases told us that the content we originally planned for was insufficient, so we had to refine and adjust our original development plan. We ended up putting more months into development.
Having said that, although the journey was no walk in the park, it was still really great fun for us and we thoroughly enjoyed every step of this journey!
How did the idea for Wandering Sword come to be?
Our idea for Wandering Sword traces back to our childhood through our love for Wuxia stories, and when we played iconic Wuxia games like "Heroes of Jin Yong" and "Xiao Ao Jiang Hu." We were deeply drawn into these mesmerizing worlds, and spent countless hours immersed ourselves in these worlds filled with martial arts, romance, and honor.
Decades later, when we set out to develop our own game, we knew without a doubt that it had to be a Wuxia game. It was our desire to bring back the magic of these beloved games into the world, and create a game that would transport players into a world of martial arts and adventure.
Were there any other games or media that inspired its development?
Absolutely! Beyond the iconic Wuxia games like "Heroes of Jin Yong" and "Xiao Ao Jiang Hu," we also drew inspiration from the vast world of Wuxia novels by the legendary writer, Jin Yong. His intricate tales of honor and heroism have been a guiding star in our journey to create Wandering Sword. Additionally, the dynamic artistry and charisma of modern martial artists like Jackie Chan and Donnie Yen have fueled our passion and vision, infusing the game with a blend of classic tales and contemporary martial arts prowess.
What defining features make Wandering Sword stand apart from other similar RPGs like Octopath Traveler?
We've always aimed to offer a unique experience with Wandering Sword, incorporating original gameplay mechanics and a storyline rooted in ancient Chinese martial arts culture. The story of Wandering Sword follows an ordinary man who is thrust into the world of martial arts and must navigate a treacherous web of alliances, feuds, and betrayals. Along the way, he will encounter a cast of colorful characters, each with their own motivations and secrets. The story follows a typical Jin Yong'ish formula, but we've added our own twists and surprises along the way.
One key aspect of Wandering Sword is our combat system. We wanted to create a system that was both engaging and accessible, and that could appeal to both casual and hardcore gamers. After many iterations and prototypes, we finally settled on a hybrid system that combines real-time and turn-based elements. This choice empowers players to either strategize meticulously or maintain a dynamic gameplay pace.
But Wandering Sword is more than just a game about martial arts and combat. It's also a game about friendship, romance, and honor. In the game, players will meet a wide range of characters, each with their own unique personalities and motivations. Some will become friends, others will become rivals, and some may even become love interests!
The store page mentions high replayability and a fresh experience with each adventure. What ensures such high replayability?
The game's replayability is deeply rooted in the choices every player makes during their adventures. Whether it's the weapons you decide to master, the martial artists you ally with, or the side quests you choose to embark on, every decision will ensure that no two playthroughs are the same. Your choices will weave together, creating a unique narrative tapestry and lead to a myriad of possible outcomes and endings!
What is your favorite thing about Wandering Sword?
There are many aspects of the game that we love, but while we don't want to divulge too much details, we can share some of the elements we're especially proud of! Drawing inspiration from our own journeys and the nostalgia of our childhood, we've intricately woven the protagonist's past into the gameplay. This manifests in deep narratives surrounding the protagonist's childhood memories, which players can unravel. Additionally, we've embedded choices and consequences that mirror the unpredictable nature of life.
For instance, an action such as jumping off a cliff can lead players down unforeseen paths with profound repercussions. Would you die due to your folly, or would you be rewarded for your 'bravery' and come across a rare martial arts manual?
And some of our most favorite moments during development were when crafting intense scenes, such as when a character, driven by hidden motives, sets a meaningful place ablaze. These instances not only added depth to our game but also served as sparks that fueled our team's passion and excitement.
Are you aiming for a Steam Deck Verified badge on Steam?
As of now, we haven't specifically adapted Wandering Sword for the Steam Deck. However, should there be a significant demand, we'll certainly consider adapting it in the future!
Have you tested Wandering Sword on the Steam Deck?
What has the experience been like? While we haven't personally tested it on the Steam Deck, we've had some players who did when we launched our demo back in February 2023. With that said, we would highly recommend using a keyboard and mouse for an optimal experience.
A big thank you to Swordman Studio for answering my questions! Wandering Sword is now released on Steam with a 12% off launch discount, making it $21.99.
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