As part of a new series here at Gamespresso, we’re putting soon-to-come indie games in the spotlight in something we’re calling Indie Watch. For the first installment, I talked with developer Fox Rogers about his mysterious title, Refuge, which puts two players on a bizarre island in competition with each other for survival. From the gorgeous artwork, to the 1v1 intense matches, this game is something everyone is going to want to dig into.

For the readers that are not familiar with it, tell us a little something about Refuge

Sure. So I began making Refuge in September – I was determined not to let the year fizzle out – I began making a game (given I knew nothing about game dev before this point), so I started with the simple concept of hide & seek. And now i’m trying to kickstart Refuge – which is a hide and seek survival game set on a mysterious island known as the Ark!

As much as I love the concept of the gameplay, I am even more intrigued by this mysterious island! Will more be revealed about the Ark as you play the game?

Yep. There’s a big backstory about the Ark, how it came to be, and the community that once lived there. There will be clues in the game… not too frequent ones! (so keep an eye out) that will help you piece together the story of the Ark.

Refuge2

Sounds like players will have to put some detective work in. Speaking of which, we’ve learned a little bit about the Detective through the Kickstarter page. Is there any other character you can shed some light on for us?

Sure, Bryce, [the adventurer], is a 40-year-old with a heart condition – Bryce has been an honest, hardworking man his entire life. After news of his condition, Bryce left his occupation as a photographer & technician to escape to the wild, fulfilling his life-long dream of exploring the immense primeval forest, The Białowieża Forest, of North Eastern Poland. Whilst tracking European Bison, Bryce was stalked through the woods by a pack of wolves. Determined to escape, he tries crossing a huge river, loses his footing, and wakes up on a small boat tethered to the Ark. There’s an incredible amount of detail going into the backstories, as I hope you can tell! I’m planning to release a form of comic online detailing the characters’ strange backstories and how they found themselves on the Ark.

Just one example of the many unique characters

Just one example of the many unique characters

Yes, I can certainly tell. That sounds like a great idea! Gameplay is always better when you have story and motivation going forward. Another part of the mystery I enjoy is the bag of items each player receives at the beginning of the game. What are some of your favorite items to use?

Haha, it has to be the axe. It was the first piece of equipment I modeled! There will be functionality to leave traps, too – which alert the player to the trap location (shown as a harmless item, such as food), but upon inspection, brutally damages the opponent player.

I wouldn’t want to be on the bad end of that. Will these traps be the main source of combat? Will there be head to head fighting as well. If so, how will that play out?

So the way I like to explain this is to use the game WORMS from Team 17, The game itself is effectively turn-based, so each player gets the chance (in an allocated time) to make their move. If one player wants to engage in combat with another, they must locate the other player and enter an encounter – this is where the weapon rating comes in, and the player with the highest weapon rating will win the encounter, damage the other player (if not kill them) and take their turn next. The main source of combat is through encounters, or by laying traps. There will always be the choice to hide and out maneuver your opponent in an attempt to outlast them. I’d like to mention at this point that traps are a rare occurrence in the game.

Sounds like there are plenty of ways to kill or be killed in Refuge. We also know that they are not always through your opponent. If a player wants to go the survival route, what dangers will they have to face and approximately how long will they have to survive, in terms of gameplay, in order to achieve victory?

That’s correct, in fact the hazards are just as dangerous as your opponent. How long depends on the endurance of the other player, if they have the right equipment, it could be a long time, in fact they could outlive you! Survivors will have to struggle against storms, extreme cold (and in rain, an inability to light fires to stay warm), floods and a strange ‘death’ fog that will rapidly kill anyone who dares to wade through it. The match time is around 15 minutes, give or take, and depending how long it takes your opponent to make their move.

Secrets are lying in every corner of Refuge

Secrets are lying in every corner of Refuge

The adventure never truly ends when you’re on the Ark. Is there anything else you would like the people at home to know about Refuge?

Sure, Refuge is currently on Kickstarter and i’m looking forward to hearing from the community – it’s been a crazy few months and I’m excited to be bringing like-minded people on board to help make Refuge a reality. I’m hoping I can bring Refuge alive as it’s definitely a story worth telling.

I myself can’t wait to hear that story. As a final note, what would you say is your favorite game of all time?

That’s definitely a hard one for me. Personally, I absolutely adored Limbo – the eeriness, the art direction, it was all perfect. I can’t wait for their next release.

Limbo is a fantastic game and is just as good a pick as any. Thank you so much for talking with me about your game, Refuge.

No worries, Christopher. It’s been a pleasure!

There is such a rich and beautiful atmosphere surrounding Refuge. This title needs to become a reality, so gamers all around can discover more of the backstory to the Ark, while hunting down their friends in a fun and creative mechanic. Please go to the game’s Kickstarter page and help the world see this game for all it’s glory. I know I can’t wait to get my hands on it.