Last Epoch is the product of indie developer Eleventh Hour Games with a pretty straightforward goal of becoming “the next great action role-playing game” on the market. The class-based Diablo-like isometric game is now on the verge of shedding its early access skin on Steam for an official release in 2021 but with a sheer focus on quality above or else.
Speaking with SegmentNext in a recent interview, game director Judd Cobler stated that competing against upcoming behemoths like Diablo 4 and Path of Exile 2 is not a specific goal and they don’t want to rush the release by compromising quality.
Cobler added that Eleventh Hour Games learned a lot from other action RPGs and why Last Epoch stands to be “ultimately better” in comparison with perhaps “some of the best system designs” out there. Those might words are backed by a majority of early access backers who love what the game has to offer.
The entire session with Cobler can be gone through below where he covers the upcoming multiplayer addition, handling of cosmetic microtransactions, post-release content roadmaps, and most importantly, a potential release for consoles after the PC release is done.
SN: Let’s start with a small introduction. What is Last Epoch? How long it has been in the development? How many people are working on it?
JC: Last Epoch is a top-down, hack and slash action RPG with a time traveling element. Set in the world of Eterra, players must travel through different timelines to change the past and stop the path of destruction left behind by the Void.
All great games have great origin stories and I like to think ours is pretty special – Last Epoch was born out of late night Reddit sessions with a small group of ARPG fans in 2017. Flash forward to April 2018 and most likely one of the most stressful points of my life, we launched our Kickstarter campaign (a first for everyone on the team) with a playable demo. Fortunately, we were successfully funded and were able to jumpstart our alpha release. The Last Epoch beta is now available through early access on Steam.
My lifelong obsession with action RPGs has now transformed into a fully fledged indie studio, Eleventh Hour Games. At the moment, we currently have about 50 team members dedicated to Last Epoch.
SN: In your 2021 plans, you have laid a lot of emphasis on multiplayer. Can you share some details on what players can expect from the multiplayer?
JC: Multiplayer will be one of the most, if not the most, exciting releases for Last Epoch and as a team, we feel good about the social systems we’ll offer the community. Players in town hubs will be able to chat, show off their gear, take advantage of a unique trading system or party up with 3 other Travelers to conquer the dangers that await in Eterra. To ensure the best playing experience, multiplayer will consist of server-side characters playing in a server-authoritative environment.
SN: The game has been well received in its early access. Obviously, now, everyone wants to know one thing. The release date! When can we expect the full release of Last Epoch?
JC: Thanks to the support of our players, we are in the fortunate position to have the resources to release Last Epoch when it meets our high standards. In the meantime, we’ll continue to release regular content patches at the quality level that our community has come to expect from us.
SN: Although there isn’t much of benefit but just to be sure, do you guys have plans to implement Ray Tracing for the game down the road?
JC: Raytracing is unlikely something that we will work on within the first year of Last Epoch’s official launch. There are some features of raytracing that don’t make sense for an isometric ARPG, but we’re interested in other new technologies such as DLSS.
SN: I know the game isn’t out on PC yet, but do you guys plan to port your game for consoles, especially PS5 and Xbox Series?
JC: Controller Support was actually the first stretch goal in our Kickstarter campaign and is currently available in beta. Our vision is to bring Last Epoch to as many players as possible, but for the time being we’re going to focus on a high quality full release for Windows and Linux. We’ll add porting to consoles to our roadmap post launch.
SN: Another question about the new consoles! Considering their hardware specifications, do you think a game like Last Epoch will be able to deliver 4K 60 FPS on PS5 and Xbox Series X?
JC: We are not yet actively working on console ports.
SN: Do you think you guys will be able to launch the game before the release of Diablo 4 and Path of Exile 2?
JC: It’s not a specific goal of ours. We believe Last Epoch will have better reviews, more reliable servers and otherwise have the most successful launch possible if we focus on a quality release and stay true to our mission of creating The Next Great Action RPG. We haven’t heard release dates for either of the two, but as genre fans we look forward to playing them!
SN: Since these two big ARPGs from big publishers are also quite close to release, how do you guys plan to compete with them?
JC: As a team, we learn a lot from competing with other games and Last Epoch will ultimately be better for it. We sincerely believe that we have some of the best systems design out of all ARPGs on the market today. Whether it’s content (e.g. our skills system) or quality of life features (such as our stash), we have invested a lot of time and effort into having the best possible foundation for the game – and we’ve partnered with the community every step of the way.
We hold both teams in very high regard and we look forward to making ARPGs a more exciting genre with them.
SN: How do you plan to handle the in-game currency and monetization? Which sort of microtransactions players can expect to see on full release? Will there by an in-game market and trading?
JC: We believe that loot, crafting and trading should all have a place in modern ARPGs. Players will be able to buy, sell and trade gear through our Bazaar. Microtransactions will never grant others an advantage over you – we even use a currency called ‘Cosmetic Coins’ to drive that point home. For example, while you may be able to buy items with gold from other players, there will be instances where powerful equipment may not be tradable.
SN: Last Epoch currently has 5 main character classes right? Any more classes you have planned before the release?
JC: Our current plan is to raise the quality of the existing five base classes and their mastery classes. We’re aware that new classes would be an exciting inclusion in our free post-launch updates. 😊
SN: Any message you want to give to your fans for 2021?
JC: THANK YOU. Your greater than anticipated support – from our early Kickstarter backers to every single piece of feedback on our forums, Reddit or Discord – is the reason for our success. We’re extremely proud of what we have accomplished together so far and look forward to a bright future for Last Epoch.