Alaloth, the game that has survived a thousand adversities

Alaloth, the game that has survived a thousand adversities


When asked how the last two years have gone, Alberto Belli, founder of Gamera Interactive, goes lightly: "It was the typical roller coaster," he told us. Were it not that this roller coaster crossed a track full of misfortunes at one hundred per hour. Like all other productions in the video game industry, Alaloth: Champions of The Four Kingdoms has also been heavily affected by the recent pandemic, but the lockdown and remote work were not enough to alter the plans of the Italian developer, the latest couple of years has put a strain on Gamera's project with a series of unexpected events that has almost convinced the company to throw in the towel.

From tragic personal accidents to arrested team members, passing through exclusive deals that went up in smoke and disputes involving a prominent character, the team remained standing while showing the signs of scars. And now that this dark cloud is dissipating (touching iron), the team looks to Gamescom to officially resume communication around Alaloth, and waiting to know more about the progress and the release date, Belli told us how never, after seeing the game in the summer of 2019, the project has disappeared from the radar.

The search for a publisher

Alaloth is currently confirmed to be released for 2021 on the Epic Games Store Despite the pandemic from Covid-19 has represented a huge obstacle to Gamera's growth and development of Alaloth, Belli explains to us that the problems for the team started already before 2020. "In 2018 we were very close to closing an exclusive agreement, and for about six months we worked with the idea in mind that we would make it. . We thought we had found the right place for Alaloth. But in the end everything was blown up and we were left on foot after we had now stopped any discussion with the other realities ". Discouraged but not resigned, the team was ready to find new solutions and new partners to release its Alaloth, a fantasy RPG that reinterprets the Moonstone formula and is inspired by classics like Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale.

However, a tragic accident that saw one of the founders and investors of the company go missing. "It's one of those things that rip your legs apart, and when it happened we really wondered if it made sense to go on. In the end we decided to go on."

So, more to exorcise the dark moment than to look for business opportunities, some team members took a flight to attend Gamescom in Cologne. "We went to Gamescom to unplug, but we ended up making 3-4 appointments with those few remaining publishers we hadn't talked to yet. Among them was All in! Games: the boss saw Alaloth only a few minutes, but being a former producer he was impressed as much by the game as by the work that was upstream. After fifteen days from that meeting we signed the letter of intent and at the end of 2019 we had a publisher ".

Alaloth: after several internal renovations, Gamera now has 18 mostly Italian people Within a few weeks, Gamera reorganized the team, hired people and set up a new studio in Padua, but not even the time to catch your breath that the developer of Alaloth - like the rest of the world - had to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic. "On March 5 we were ready to start work again, and on March 8 there was the lockdown", says Belli. "None of the team is from Padua, so we found ourselves with many people stuck in Airbnb, without PCs and unable to work. In several, not knowing how long that situation would last, they preferred to abandon the project. The result was that from March work on the game was interrupted in June, while we revolutionized the ways of working remotely after we had prepared everything for a year and a half to work from the office. In practice we only started working on Alaloth again in summer 2020 , and luckily All in! Games supported us in all this, staying close to us and not putting pressure on us. "

Ok, with the team finally structured to work remotely, at this point the project can finally resume smoothly.

It can resume smoothly, right? "When we got back to work in the summer, another one happened. In restructuring the team we relied on an outsourcer in Belarus to get a hand on the programming. Then the protest broke out." Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the summer of 2020 saw heated protests and demonstrations against the authoritarian government of President Alexander Lukashenko erupt in Belarus. The riots that followed his controversial re-election led to violence and thousands of arrests. Among them, one of Alaloth's lead programmer. "He had disappeared during the Christmas period, and for about twenty days we did not receive any more news of him nor did we know where he was, while in the meantime we had to meet urgent deadlines".

Alaloth is inspired by classics like Baldur's Gate but above all wants to be the spiritual heir of the classic Moonstone All this while, again in the summer of 2020, the screenwriter and designer Chris Avellone was accused of sexual harassment bringing the realities with whom he was collaborating to express himself publicly. The publisher All in! Games at the time stated: "Chris Avellone's work on Alaloth: Champions of The Four Kingdoms ended well before allegations of abuse were shared last week. All In! Games takes issues such as abuse very seriously and is against the alleged behaviors that have occurred ".

Midnight Caravan, a small narrative game created and published by Gamera during the development of Alaloth 2021 was a decidedly less traumatic year for Gamera, and having consolidated the team in Italy, the works on Alaloth are proceeding faster. According to Belli "In terms of content, the game is practically ready and now we are refining it. It's almost comical, because I have been telling others for fifteen years how essential it is to publish quickly and in the end it was me who delayed with my first real big game. The satisfaction remains of having managed to keep the team on its feet despite the many problems they had, to come out of the pandemic with the studio doubled and never having had to crunch. At this point we take the time it takes to do all right ".

However, we shouldn't wait long before seeing something new from Alaloth, as Gamera preferred to skip E3 in June precisely to focus on Gamescom in Cologne, the same fair that it represented a couple of years ago a new beginning, giving hope and opportunities following a dark period. "We haven't shown anything new for a year, but the game is quite different from last year."

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