With the Myths & Outcasts DLC currently available, and the Legends & Pariahs DLC on the way, I thought it'd be a good time to tell you where a lot of these monsters come from.
If you're a Barony fan, you probably already know that all the DLC races are enemies or NPCs in the game. But did you know that many of them weren't always part of Barony's world?
Editions and Additions
Several months after Barony's launch, we shipped the "Cursed Edition". A complete art overhaul of Barony's base content. We started planning our next game (which is still in the works), but it required a substantial technology upgrade, which takes time!
Several months go by, with a lot of work completed on the new engine, and design / art planning, but there was a long way to go. We considered it might be a good time to do a quick little content update for Barony while a new engine remained in development. You know, just a little update that an artist / designer guy like me can throw together with a tiny bit of code support.
Shouldn't be too big of a deal right?
We had just brought WallofJustice onto the team and, in addition to our existing group of Turning Wheel rad dudes, we were confident it wouldn't be a huge investment.
My first goal was simple - Take the existing monsters, use them as a template for similar monsters with bigger, badder stats and new art. That's it. Like a palette swap, but a little more effort to help them feel fresh. Add a couple more tilesets that are pretty straightforward to make in our level editor, and boom! It'll be an awesome expansion. Many players were hungry for more content, and this seemed like a fast and effective way to provide it.
From that simple idea, ultimately came what you now know as the Blessed Addition. A massive upgrade with 50% more monsters, classes, items, a new end boss, new story, new books, achievements... --Ahem-- and it took a year to ship.
Yeah, we get excited sometimes and overdo it. Our feature-creep is your gain. If you're patient anyway.
Oh right. The monsters.
So that was the premise I started from when I put together quick drawings of new monsters. I threw these together in a night, basing each one on existing monsters to make implementation as quick and painless as possible.
Scarab The scarab was to be a swap for the rat using the same methods for animation.
Crystal Golem We had decided that one of the additional tilesets should be the Crystal Caves, so this guy fit right in as a replacement for the troll.
Cockatrice Believe it or not, this danger-chicken shares animations with the Imp.
Kobold Swapped out assets from the Gnome to create these guys.
The remaining characters were to be based roughly on Humans, Skeletons and Goblins, as these characters can wield equipment properly, and we would use gear and varied allegiances to make these new races interesting, all while being able to share similar animations.
In case you weren't keeping count, that's 5 of the 8 races represented in the Myths & Outcasts + Legends & Pariahs DLC packs coming straight out of the Blessed Addition monsters! Goblins, Skeletons and Succubi are the remaining monster races in the DLC which were included in Barony's original release.
The game sure has grown!
More Than a Palette Swap
Each of these monsters (plus the Shadow we haven't mentioned yet; also based on humanoids originally) had a lot more work put into them than originally expected. This included new animations, powers and behaviors not found in other creatures in the base game. We probably could've shipped them with that minimal amount of work and it would've been pretty good. But the team, especially Wall of Justice, took the time to make each monster much more robust.
The unique gameplay found in the new humanoid monsters has gone on to inspire how each monster race should play as we developed the DLC packs.
I hope you enjoyed this tidbit of Barony development history! While these quick concept sketches aren't exactly fit for promotional material, we felt you might enjoy this glimpse behind the curtain.