Mortal Rite Interview: Gameplay, Kickstarter, Loot, Early Access, Price and More

If you are a Souls-Like fan, chances are that you might have heard about the upcoming Action RPG with souls-like combat, Mortal Rite. The game is aiming to breath a fresh air into Rogue-lite and dungeon crawler genre. Developer Round Toast Studios has also started a Kickstarter campaign for the game and if it’s something that piques your interest then you should definitely go and check it out on Kickstarter and may be, become a backer as well.

The game is quite far into development and is hoping to go into early access as soon as winter 2022. However, if Kickstarter goals are met, the developer might delay the early access to add more content. We talked about the game’s different elements and prospects with the devs in an interview and the developers were able to share some interesting details about their project. The full interview is as following:

Q: Mortal Rite has been in development for three years, right? How many people are currently working on the game?

The Round Toast team working on Mortal Rite is currently 5 people: Alex, Anthony, Jensen, Rodrigo, Other Alex.

Q: Did you guys pitch your game to any publisher for funds before using Kickstarter? Do you think Kickstarter is a better option than having a publisher backing?

Both prior to Kickstarter and after the Kickstarter launched, we have been approached by multiple publishers. So far publishers have not worked out for one reason or another.

It’s possible for us to do both a Kickstarter and end up with a publisher. Kickstarter makes a lot of sense because Kickstarter doesn’t guide development of the game at all. It’s still completely in the hands of our team how we develop the game. While there are publishers that have the same level of hands-off approach, publishers usually have more conditions that need to be met.

Downside to Kickstarter is that it’s not a guaranteed amount like it would be with a publisher. So, it’s a tradeoff between creative freedom and guaranteed funds.

Q: How far the game is into development? Yes, there are Kickstarter goals as well but for core systems, how much game has been completed?
Our estimation for core system completion is 70%.

  • Core Systems/Elements for Mortal Rite:
  • Melee Combat (core pillar of player interaction) is finished
  • Networked Movement (second core pillar because we care about everything feeling responsive) is finished
  • Enemies/Bosses (main interactive element) still being refactored, but pretty much figured out
  • Hit Reaction system is finished
  • Interactable system is finished
  • Destructible system is finished
  • Networking (super important feature) implemented, but untested in the new build
  • Progression (currency / leveling / player stats / and save game data) are almost finished
  • Level Switching (important part of the roguelike experience) almost finished
  • Items (important roguelike element) prototyped in old project, but due for a re-write

Q: Do you guys have a release window in mind for Mortal Rite?

Early Access on Steam in Winter 2022. The release window will change if the Kickstarter is successful.

Q: The game has a co-op of up to 5 players, right? A local/split screen co-op might have been great for the game, don’t you think? Any plans for that?

Correct. While local co-op via split screen would be a good fit for Mortal Rite, there are no plans for split screen. Mortal Rite’s resource requirements will probably prevent that on most systems where local co-op makes sense. If split screen is possible in the future via optimizations, players want it, and we can make it happen, we would do that after console support.

Q: How co-op progressions will work in the game? Will players share loot, or each player will have his/her own loot?

Mortal Rite offers loot in the following forms: Currency (to be named later), Items, and Materials for crafting items. Currency that allows players to purchase upgrades and levels comes from kills and will be shared between players. How a player chooses to spend their currency is up to them. Players may choose to spend their currency on specific items, upgrading their character’s stats, new abilities, or on upgrades to their current abilities.
Loot will be unique per player, but all players will get something from a chest or a boss kill. Players can trade items that they have not yet equipped in the hub area.

Q: How will the difficulty scaling work in co-op?
Difficulty in Mortal Rite will scale based on the number of players in the game and how many times a level has been beat.

As the number of players in Mortal Rite changes, we can load in different numbers of enemies, different enemy compositions, and/or different level configurations so that there is still a challenge for there being more than 1 player. The goal is to present a challenge to any group configuration regardless of characters chosen and number of players.

Enemy difficulty will scale each time a level has been beat. Kind of an enemy difficulty +1 mechanic that is cross-level. This means that a single level can be played more than once, but the players will face a different configuration of enemies that are higher level, a different level layout, and a different item layout. This also means that as players get stronger so do the enemies. We hope that players use strategy in the form of choosing different characters, using different abilities, choosing different items, and player teamwork to rise to the challenge presented.

Q: Currently, you have a max goal of 500K USD for Mortal Rite on Kickstarter. Any plans go beyond that if the target is reached?

Yes. We have plans for so much more. More funding means that we would be able to pack more into the game for the players to have fun with. More characters. More enemies. More bosses. More levels.

Q: Are you guys satisfied with the current rate of backing?

Although we did a lot of research to understand what the recipe is for a successful Kickstarter, we didn’t know what to expect out of the Kickstarter. This is the first Kickstarter than anyone on the team has been involved with as a creator. There is always the hope that everyone that sees your project will be just as passionate about it as you are and if that happens then the Kickstarter would be funded quickly. There is also the fear that no one will like anything that you are doing, and the Kickstarter will fail. Overall, we are happy to see that hundreds of people have pledged to help make Mortal Rite’s future brighter than it would be without their support.

Q: Have you guys finalized the early access release date for the game yet?

The best estimate we have for Early Access is currently Winter of 2022. If the Kickstarter campaign is successful, then that would be pushed back into 2023 since we would be able to add more to the game using the Kickstarter funds.

Q: Any price range you can give us for the early access version?

At least $20 USD and at most $30 USD.

Q: Mortal Rite is expected to breath “new life into the Rogue-Lite and dungeon crawler genres”. How are you planning to achieve that? Any unique features that will be a breath of fresh air?

Breathing new life into a genre is a lofty goal. Ultimately, we are trying to merge the parts of these different genres that we like into a single game and then add parts of games that we like and look for in game.

1. Most roguelikes are not multiplayer. We think that adding multiplayer will make a roguelike experience more fun.
2. The goal for items is to change the way that you approach the game significantly and not to be just a stat boost.
3. Most roguelikes don’t have specific characters with specific abilities.
4. Strategic melee combat without the reliance on items. A skilled player that has mastered their chosen character won’t need to rely on items. Items should significantly augment the combat but not be the combat.

Q: How generous the game is going to be for the loot?

The plan is to have multiple tiers of items where higher tiered items are more impactful. Because we have multiple tiers of items, we can afford to be more generous with the lower tiered items.

Tier 1 items that only give stat boosts would be easy to obtain. Tier 2 items that can be activated (example being a healing flask) would be harder to obtain. Tier 3 items, which are much more powerful, are reserved for chests, as boss rewards, or by finding a recipe.

Since we have tiers of items, we are also able to provide recipes that make use of lower tiered items to craft higher tiered items. Recipes can be purchased using currency, acquired by killing a boss, or found in the world. This means that if a player wants to build out a character in a specific way, they will be more able to do that via crafting. We like players being able to work towards a goal that they choose instead of just being at the mercy of what drops.

Q: And since it’s a rogue-lite experience, which of the items will be retained upon death?

Retained on Death:
1. Character level
2. Abilities
3. Equipped items
4. Item recipes
5. Blueprints, which are player-made recipes for high-tier items and are not purchasable in the game

Dropped on Death:
6. Currency will be dropped on death and can be retrieved from killing an enemy near where you died.
7. There is a chance that unequipped items will be lost on death.

Q: How will character progressions work in game? Players will level up after clearing levels/stages or there is more to it?

Players can spend currency that they gain from killing enemies in levels on increasing their character’s level or on specific items that they want for specific builds. As a character’s level increases, the character will unlock new abilities or higher-level versions of current abilities.

Q: Do you guys have plans to bring the game to consoles as well after the release on PC?

Console support is something that the team would like to have, but with such a small team we need to focus on PC first and then port to consoles in the future. One of the Kickstarter goals is to achieve console support faster than if we didn’t have those extra funds.

Q: Will Mortal Rite have multiple maps, or the same map will be procedurally generated over and over again?

Mortal Rite will have multiple maps and each of those maps will have their own theme and reason for existing based on Mortal Rite’s lore. Each map will have different level layouts and different enemy configurations that seek to check the roguelike experience box.

Q: With procedural generation, what elements will change on the map for each run?

Mortal Rite doesn’t have traditional procedural generation at runtime. Instead, we have chosen to have several different, hand-crafted scenarios that each level can present to the player. The number of scenarios is up to us as developers and there is no minimum or maximum number of scenarios that we can present to the player for each map.

Using hand-crafted scenarios prevents us from having issues that crop up from having procedurally generated levels at runtime. While it’s possible to make procedurally generated levels at runtime that have no issues, procedurally generated levels also lose the feeling of quality that a hand-crafted level presents.

Scenarios for us is a combination of level changes and enemy layout changes. The easiest example we have found to explain this in our office is having a level that has a ravine that players must get across. In example scenario one, the ravine has a bridge that players can cross, but the bridge is heavily guarded by archers on the other side of the bridge.

Scenario two, would have no bridge and the players must find another route across the ravine. The two scenarios would both strive to present the same challenge to the players but requiring different solutions.

Q: Do you guys have any plans to bring Mortal Rite to Microsoft’s Game Pass service? As an indie dev, what is your take on Microsoft’s service, especially for indie developers.

We have not been able to find any information about how to get on the Microsoft Game Pass service. Hey, Microsoft, give us a call.


Q: Roguelike/Roguelite games are notorious for in-game purchases. Do you have plans to introduce in-game purchases for Mortal Rite. If so, what sort of microtransactions can we expect in the game?

There are no plans to bring in-game purchases to Mortal Rite currently. If we were to add in-game purchases, they would all be cosmetic in nature (such as skins or themes for characters) and nothing that would give anyone an advantage in the game itself.

From what we have seen so far, Mortal Rite seems impressive enough. And with the co-op in the mix, it could very well be the next indie hit. We will see how the game fares during its early access phase.

Don't know why exactly, but Ali studied both Biotch and Computer Science. Out of curiosity he says. Doesn't play many competitive games however, when it comes to FIFA, it's a whole different story.