During Gamescom 2022, among different new video games announcement, Something Wicked Games also announced their debut project, Wyrdsong. Since the game is from former Bethesda and Obsidian veterans, it’s an RPG at its core. Since we didn’t know much about the project and wanted to know more, we decided to chat a little with Something Wicked Games founder and Wyrdsong creative director Jeff Gardiner.
Jeff was able to share some interesting insights into their new project however, since it has been in development for just a few months, don’t expect to see it in action anytime soon. Something Wicked Games also received funding from Netease recently which will certainly help in accelerating things.
Q: Wyrdsong is the debut title for Something Wicked Games, right? How did you guys decide to make a game like Wyrdsong?
Jeff: Wyrdsong is an open-world preternatural role-playing game set in a heavily fictionalized Portugal around the Middle Ages. It seemed like a natural fit for us considering all of the RPGs Charles Staples (our design director) and I have worked on at Bethesda and Obsidian. The setting allows us to explore a world that will be familiar enough to players but with a lot of surprising and unsettling surprises to folks who want to come on the journey with us.
Q: How many people currently Something Wicked Games has? I know it’s too early to ask but just to estimate, do you have an idea when fans can expect the game to see in action?
Jeff: Since we started just a few months ago, Something Wicked Games has over 15 people working with us. Our goal is to reach about 70-ish for the game we’re creating. Many folks on the team are veterans of Bethesda and Obsidian, not just Charles and me. We’re still a long way out from shipping the game so I don’t want to set any deadlines or expectations presently.
Q: You guys are using Unreal Engine 5 for the game, right? Any specific reasons you decided to go with UE5 as compared to other available game engines?
Jeff: Yes, we’re using Unreal Engine 5. It was the engine most of our engineers and content creators were the most excited to use. Its feature set, ease of use, and futureproofing are the main reasons we chose to work with Epic and use their engine.
Q: Will Wyrdsong be a multiplatform game including both PC and consoles?
Jeff: Our goal is to get Wyrdsong in the hands of as many people as possible, and as such, we’re planning on having the game available on all platforms, but that could of course change as we continue to build and explore our options.
Q: Something Wicked Games have veterans who have worked on games like Fallout, Skyrim, and The Outer Worlds. In terms of similarities, from which game/s Wyrdsong will draw inspiration from the most?
Jeff: In terms of setting and theme the game won’t have guns so it will be closer to Skyrim in that regard. In terms of narrative, player choice, impact on the world, and hard decisions it will be much closer to The Outer Worlds and Fallout. But the team’s experience in this arena also lend to doing things in creative, new ways – we’re not expecting to recreate a set of game mechanics or design that’s been done before. We’re blessed to have so many folks on the team that has worked on so many amazing RPGs, so there will be a great blend of the best of all of them and some new ideas too.
Q: Any concepts or features you always wanted to implement and couldn’t because of chain of command issues and would now like to have them in Wyrdsong?
Jeff: We’re keeping a tight lid on the features of Wyrdsong. I’m a huge proponent of results-driven creative autonomy, so while Charles and I are setting the high-level goals, narrative arcs, and systems, it will be the team of amazing folks we have, and are looking to hire, that will push us and help us implement cool new features and concepts into the game. That’s part of what we mean by it’s still early days – we’re onboarding folks who are going to bring their own ideas to the overarching theme of the game, and we’re just as excited to see how the game takes shape over the coming months.
Q: You guys have received funding from NetEase. Is it safe to assume that NetEase will also be publishing the game as well?
Jeff: NetEase is an amazing partner, but there have been no discussions about publishing the title with them.
Q: The game has Portuguese setting and it’s a preternatural game as well. So will it focus on Portuguese myths only?
Jeff: We’re currently exploring when and how the Portuguese historical timeline will diverge enough to give us some wriggle room in terms of the story we want to tell, how to bring in the occult elements, etc. We’re keen on exploring what the Iberian Peninsula was like before the Roman Conquest, and how elements of that civilization could have survived and interacted with the establishment of Templars and other elements from the Middle Ages. We just got back from a week-long trip to Portugal, which has helped educate us a bit more as to the history and context of the place – the trip was super inspirational, it was our first but it won’t be our last.
Q: Give us an idea about the size and the scope of this project? Are we talking about Skyrim and Fallout level scale?
Jeff: That’s going to depend on a lot of factors. The game budget, team size, our timeline, Unreal, etc. We’re aiming for a large open-world game with tons of quests, exploration, deep character systems, and crafting elements – but we also want to be mindful that quests and exploration has to have meaning/purpose behind it, we don’t want a lot of content just for the sake of having a lot of content. As we build, we’ll track our internal metrics and scope everything to fit into our budgets.
With good funding and many industry veterans at the helm, Wyrdsong is already in a strong position. It’s just the matter of execution now. Good Luck to Something Wicked Games for Wyrdsong and hopefully, we will have a great game at our hands upon its release.