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GDC 2019 INTERVIEW: Covens (Raincrow Studios)

Covens

Covens | Logo

Covens is a cellular recreation that peels again the shroud of the on a regular basis world to show the magic and witchcraft beneath. You play as a witch who claims real-world places (referred to as Locations of Energy), masters lots of of spirits, practices witchcraft, and competes in seasonal tournaments to put as excessive as attainable on the leaderboard. Throughout GDC 2019, I caught up with Mariah Flick, Katie Brooks, and Hayley Tilghman to speak about what Covens is all about, how gamers will get to play within the seasonal tournaments, what the event staff discovered via the beta course of, and extra.

You’ll be able to obtain Covens now for Android platforms, with iOS to be launched at a future date.

Yow will discover out extra about Covens on the Raincrow Studios web site, by liking them on Fb, tweeting at them on Twitter, subscribing to the official subreddit, and following them on Instagram and Redbubble.


This interview has been edited for readability and content material.

Operation Rainfall: My identify is Quentin H. with Operation Rainfall, and y’all are?

Mariah Flick: My identify is Mariah Flick and I’m an artist at Raincrow Studios.

Katie Brooks: My identify is Katie Brooks, and I’m the group supervisor at Raincrow Studios.

OR: What’s Covens?

MF: Covens is a real-world-based recreation of magic and witchcraft, performed in our personal actual world. It’s a cellular recreation you can work together with actual world lore, actual world places, you’ll be able to fly anyplace on the planet and simply expertise the magic inside what we have already got.


“Our recreation could be very a lot affected by the actual world, seasons will change sure features of gameplay.”


OR: Why augmented actuality?

MF: It’s not augmented actuality within the sense you’d see in Pokémon GO, the place you see the telephone and a spirit will pop up. It’s extra augmented actuality within the sense that we’re utilizing real-world time and moon phases and [seasons] to type of change what you’ll be able to work together with by way of that. It’s not within the sense of what you [normally] consider augmented actuality. However the real-world recreation is what we need to implement, as a result of the lore on the earth is so intricate and so deep that we needed individuals to discover it too.

KB: And you may as well – it’s actual world, as a result of the map that you simply’re touring round on, you’re interacting with actual witches. Let’s say that you simply go to India, and somebody has a coven there, you possibly can work together with them. You’ll be able to battle them, you possibly can struggle the spirits there. So, it’s a bit totally different than the common augmented actuality that you’d consider, as a result of with our map, you don’t truly need to stroll round. You’ll be able to select to take a seat and play it or you’ll be able to stroll round with it, as a result of it does [also] work with GPS.

MF: You’ll be able to fly anyplace within the world- you’ll be able to go to Greece whereas in Virginia. It’s nice for that too.

OR: What’s the story behind Covens? How did it come about?

KB: Covens is about 5, seven years previous now. Our boss is extraordinarily into this lore in the actual world. You possibly can stroll round and see this too within the recreation. You’ll be able to go to a location and discover out the lore a few particular place, and he’s all the time loved stuff, it got here by way of this ardour.

OR: Which got here first: the storyline, the mechanics, or the artwork?

KB: I might say the story. Story is a large affect on this recreation. Even outdoors the sport, there’s going to be graphic novels and extra that’s going to be inferred, since you learn objects- you discover the story by way of exploring gadgets and studying and such of that nature. So it’s story based mostly that it’s a must to search for, if you wish to discover it.

OR: So I’ve been testing Raincrow Studios on Twitter, and I’ve seen lots of posts of supernatural lore and historical past. On February 5, y’all stated “We present many locations in our recreation which have supernatural histories in actual life.” How particularly do these locations tie into recreation?

MF: There are a number of locations which might be extraordinarily essential. For instance, Brocken Mountain in Germany is a large witch-lore place. So I feel there’s a place of energy there, there’s a backyard close by. So within the recreation itself, you possibly can go there and work together very particularly with that. There are going to be quest exploration issues. The Bell Witch- that’s one other well-known lore place in West Virginia. There’s a backyard there, so you possibly can discover and work together with the story of the Bell Witch there.

A number of the lore can be extra bodily represented within the recreation, and a few of it’s simply kinda ‘oh right here’s a very cool spirit that you will discover and battle and summon as you would like too.’

Covens | Flying

You possibly can fly anyplace on the planet in Covens, even in case you are nonetheless at house. (Picture courtesy of Raincrow Studios).

OR: Do I even have to go to Germany?

MF: There’s truly a ‘Fly’ button within the recreation. So you’ll be able to fly, you possibly can journey, from the consolation of your house in your PJs and go to Germany and see what’s happening with all the opposite witches of the world and battle them and assist your covenmates and all these fantastic issues.

OR: Covens has been in beta testing for awhile. What of the testers has stunned you about [the game]?

MF: There’s been a number of actually cool options that they’ve given. For instance, they actually need to have the ability to identify their spirits. That’s only a cool little-.

KB: Yeah, just like the Bargus that follows them round.

MF: -Yeah, I would like to have the ability to identify my Bargus. So it’s identical to including little issues like that that has been good.

Hailey Tillman: Am I allowed to interject?

OR: In fact, would you thoughts introducing your self please?

Hayley Tilghman: I’m Hayley Tilghman, and I’m one other illustrator on the group.

The one I used to be considering of was the ‘Fly’ mechanic, that really got here out -if I keep in mind correctly- of beta testing. There was a glitch within the recreation that allowed you to spoof your location, and gamers truly responded actually positively to that than being tied rather more instantly into your real-world location that you simply needed to stroll to. However the ‘Fly’ mechanic got here out of a glitch that was exploited by gamers to fly round and discover spirits that weren’t of their native space. In order that was one other that, whereas I used to be not round personally, I had heard about and thought was actually neat. It enhanced the sport lots.

Covens | Playing

You possibly can play with -or against- different witches and spirits in your space. (Picture coutesy of Raincrow Studios).

OR: There’s a event coming up- the 2019 Summer time Event of Witchcraft. Might you inform me a bit about that?

MF: Every season marks a brand new Event of Witchcraft. So at first of each equinox or solstice, a brand new event of witchcraft begins. This resets gamers, so should you’ve been enjoying for 2 or three years, anybody who needs to start out, it doesn’t intimidate them. You don’t lose any of your issues, it simply resets the leaderboard. As a result of our recreation could be very a lot affected by the actual world, seasons will change sure features of gameplay.

HT: You get totally different beauty choices, spirits will present up in several elements of the world, issues like that. It’s a approach for gamers to not really feel intimidated to hitch in on a recreation that’s been going for a number of seasons. They really feel like they’ve an actual shot at turning into a prime participant, despite the fact that they’re new.

OR: So there’s a tie-in comedian coming: John the Revelator. How does the comedian particularly tie into the sport? Why make a comic book?

MF: John the Revelator explains the tie-ins between Vampire Tribunals, which is one other recreation that we’ve been engaged on, and Covens. It explains the connection between the vampires and witches, and these comics are the place lots of the story comes from. So you possibly can learn the comics if you wish to, and study extra about particular person characters that you simply’ll discover and infer extra concerning the story and improve your personal gameplay. It’s nonetheless your story, you’ll be able to roleplay it the way you need, however you’ll have extra of the historical past round you in these comics.

HT: I feel that’s one in every of my favourite features of the sport. Ultimately once we launch Vampire Tribunals, it is- not a cinematic universe- however it will be one map and gamers from Vampire Tribunals, Covens, and some other video games we provide you with will probably be enjoying all on the identical map. And so Vampire Tribunals is about vampires. Covens is about witches. These vampires and witches work together with one another, and that’s what John the Revelator is. It explains why these two totally different units of magical beings are interacting and what their relationship is. It provides you somewhat backstory about that. You don’t need to learn these comics, however it widens the world slightly bit.

Covens | John the Revelator Comic

Raincrow Studios has a deliberate tie-in comedian, John the Revelator, that may clarify the hyperlinks between Covens and different video games which are to be launched by the studio. (Picture owned by Raincrow Studios).

OR: You have got a 3rd recreation as well- Sons of Enoch. How does that tie into Vampire Tribunals and Covens?

HT: Sons of Enoch is that this man who goes round and who hunts magical beings. So you’ve the vampires who’re vampires, the witches who’re witches, after which you will have the sons of Enoch who go round these magical creatures which are doing evil.

MF: They’re human, and there’s going to be- this recreation is additional down on the scope of what we’re making and they’re documenting plenty of these things too [in-game lore].

OR: This recreation is presently coming to Google Play. Are there any iOS plans?

[All]: Sure.

KB: iOS takes a bit of bit longer via the- you’ve gotten it in a extra ‘polished’ state to get it out. So Android comes first for many of our video games, as a result of it permits you to work out the kinks a bit bit extra [easily] whereas it’s nonetheless in a beta testing.

OR: Will gamers who play [on Android] telephones be capable of play towards [Apple] gamers?

[All]: Sure.

Covens | Clothes

You’ll be able to customise your witch with outfits and different cosmetics in Covens. (Pictures courtesy of Raincrow Studios).

OR: Will there be microtransactions?

MF: There’s beauty choices. That’s the first type of monetization within the recreation. So each season, new cosmetics are launched in your characters, so you possibly can change the way you look and stuff like that. There’s additionally some ‘mushy’ microtransactions. There’s one thing referred to as alignment within the recreation. Relying on the spells you forged, you could be a mild or a shadow witch. There’s potions which you can purchase that will help you shift additional in the direction of a shadow or mild faculty, however you possibly can’t increase your self up essentially by way of these transactions. It’s closely beauty.

OR: How do gamers work together with one another in Covens?

MF: They will spellcast on one another and create a coven. And with a coven, this recreation encourages teamwork. So you’ll be able to fly to your covenmates and assist them out. You’ll be able to all assault a spirit collectively, take a spot of energy collectively. Locations of energy might be owned by covens, and it’s very team-based player-versus-player.


“ I feel that the good factor about it, once more, is the truth that you’re interacting with different gamers who aren’t simply in different covens however who’re enjoying the opposite video games that provide totally different mechanics and lore however who’re enjoying on the identical map collectively.“


OR: Donald M. Murray as soon as wrote: “All my writing- and yours- is autobiographical.” What of your self do you see in Covens?

HT: I see lots of my garments in covens, I’m the illustrator. *laughs* I might say, from an artwork perspective, I see lots of my stylistic decisions in there. I positive Travis- the boss who’s writing loads of this- sees a whole lot of his childhood pursuits on this. When he talks about it, you possibly can see numerous the story means rather a lot to him and he’s an excellent storyteller. And you may really feel that he has a ardour for this stuff within the recreation which might be tied into issues he was enthusiastic about as a toddler and as a younger grownup. He loves storytelling.

MF: Yeah, who as a child didn’t need to be some kind of magical being? And this allows you to position play [that] in the actual world. You could be in San Francisco, casting on one other witch that’s additionally in San Francisco. You get to relive these childhood- I’ve all the time beloved these things. I grew up with comedian books and animated tales about magical youth characters and [so] that’s an ideal factor for me. I’m like ‘Sure! Extra! Magic!’ It’s simply superb.

OR: What’s the replace schedule like for this? How typically can gamers anticipate new content material?

HT: We’ve a tie-in program referred to as Creatrix that permits us to control the real-world occasions that would come up within the recreation. So, that’s sporadic. Relying on our temper, we might put in reside occasions and stuff like that. We might summon spirits that would seem, in say, San Francisco, and have gamers go battle this massive spirit. On a extra common foundation, we’ve got the seasonal tournaments at the beginning of the equinox and the solstice the place giant numbers of cosmetics are launched. The leaderboard is reset- that’s the extra dependable giant content material [patches].

OR: What’s the extent cap in the mean time?

HT: Technically, there’s none, however realistically-

MF: I feel it’s twenty?

HT: You’ll be able to theoretically go to no matter, however because the tournaments are solely held for 3 or 4 months at a time, extra realistically, you possibly can solely realistically hit degree twenty, twenty-five, one thing like that. However theoretically, it’s limitless.

Covens | Places of Power

Numerous real-world places might be ‘Locations of Energy’ for gamers to go to and seize for his or her coven in Covens. (Picture courtesy of Raincrow Studios).

OR: When a event is over with, does everybody’s stats and ranges reset?

MF: The leaderboards reset. You’ll nonetheless have your similar alignments. So in case you are a shadow witch and also you need to get to that 14th alignment to get the extra highly effective shadow witch spells, you’ll nonetheless have that alignment. So that may carry over. However, for instance, in case you are on the prime of the leaderboard, you simply should construct up the identical factors [again] to get there.

You retain all of your cosmetics, you retain all of the issues that you simply’ve been shopping for. So you retain the identical character, simply the numbers reset.

OR: To somebody who might not know something about [Covens]however is considering choosing it up, what do it’s a must to say to them?

HT: I feel it’s a recreation that has a variety of depth to it, lots of storytelling. I feel that the good factor about it, once more, is the truth that you’re interacting with different gamers who are usually not simply in different covens however who’re enjoying the opposite video games that provide totally different mechanics and lore however who’re enjoying on the identical map collectively. It’s very exploratory- you possibly can go all over the world. You get to select up totally different spirits, you get to select up totally different gadgets, you get to reinforce your character. There’s lots to do, I feel, and it’s very central.

MF: I agree with that one-hundred %. I’m pleased with what we’re making.

OR: And when does Covens come out?

HT: Covens comes out Wednesday.

OR: And for iOS and Android?

HT: Android undoubtedly, iOS hopefully.

OR: Thanks very a lot.



The place would you wish to take over a Place of Energy? Have you ever began enjoying Covens on Android?

Tell us within the feedback under!

About Quentin H.

Likes pina coladas and getting caught within the rain. And video video games. Can’t overlook these video video games. Anime too. Shouldn’t overlook that both.


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