A group of friends and I have been brainstorming a potential game development idea for a long time now. However, I fear that it is far too ambitious for us to ever complete. I’m hoping that the experienced minds here can help me determine if it’s impossible for us to complete the project, given the resources we have. Here’s the scoop:
The idea is a single-player RPG. The format: top-down. We would be using Unreal Engine 4. We have a team of at least 2 very talented modelers / animators (3+ years of experience), and then a number of not so talented modelers / animators that can do more simple objects and animations. For programming, 2-5 people, all with 2+ years of programming experience. Then we have others that are skilled in the way of concept art, soundtrack creation, things like that - but I don’t think that’s what would be the limiting factor. Our time frame is two years - one of working mostly part-time, another of working full-time.
This top down RPG is planned to occur over 5 acts (I feel that we have a strong story). However, I am aware that 5 acts would be very difficult to complete by people who have not actually released any fully-featured games (though we have individually made a handful of little, personal projects). So the plan would be to complete 1 act of the game, which would take place in a semi-open world environment -think Knights of the Old Republic. The act would take place in a single, large area, broken up into parts (chapters) depending on story stages. There would be the expected features of an RPG - side quests (for instance, help a village by killing a nasty beastie nearby), a main story thread guiding you along, a stat and inventory system, etc. The combat system would be sort of reflex-based - think top-down Dark Souls, relying on strategic blocking and evading and carefully timed attacks. Obviously, there’s no way our combat would be as finely tuned and masterfully done as Dark Souls, but that’s the principle.
The way we hope to stand out with our game is with an intriguing story & world, and some “true RPG” mechanics that we feel have been lacking in recent years (such as meaningful / impactful choices in the story, survival mechanics that make it so that each trip to the wilderness or in a dungeon is actually dangerous and challenging).
But however wonderful (or not wonderful?) our ideas are, I am aware that nothing is as easy as it seems (Hofstadter’s Law and such) to create such a thing. And when I look at who is creating these big RPGs, I see big studios like CD Projekt Red and Bethesda (if you want to call those things RPGs). Hell, when I see that Obsidian leveraged a few million dollars to do their Project Eternity, another top-down RPG, I can’t help but feel that I’m missing something as to the real challenge of creating an RPG. Granted, our scope is perhaps more limited than many of these games (completing only one act), but I still feel doubtful of the possibility of this enterprise. What can you all tell me about the difficulties of developing a game like this? What kind of obstacles would we run across? What would the limiting factors? What do we need to do this?
I realize I have not given that much information about our ideas / resources, and I’m willing to expand on anything you want. But I’m hoping for some general information on what makes a project of this magnitude difficult and perhaps impossible for us.