The Inspiration Behind "Ashes of Kanaka" / by Xiaosong Shang

Hello everyone! Sam Martino here.

So I said last time I would talk about some of my favorite games that I consider to be inspirations for everything that I do.

The entire Mass Effect series is a big one that’s come to mind, if it wasn’t already obvious since I think I mentioned we made a fan made Mass Effect table top game in one of the other blogs. Mass Effect did a fantastic job with making you feel like you were in very alien worlds, and that the characters that surrounded you were so believable. I loved that the game was different based on who you played with in your party, such as they would cause different dialogue options if they were with you or not. I incorporated that into Ashes, all characters speak with the protagonist throughout the game, and many of the companions are set to talk with each other based on who you’ve unlocked.

As far as our world, I looked to another one of my favorites, The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. Oblivion was the first game in the series that I played and to this day I am in love with the world they created. I can talk about how unique and special every region is for HOURS. I loved that they were able to create so many biomes for the players to explore, and that it all felt seamless as you traversed across their massive map. In Ashes I wanted every zone to feel different and unique, the biomes would be such drastic changes in environment, so players wouldn’t get bored of looking at the same thing over and over. Granted, I don’t think our map comes close to what Oblivion did, but I like to think that its inspirations make it better.

My favorite game of all time, one that I think inspired how I wanted Ashes to be built more than any of game was my personal favorite, Steambot Chronicles. I have never met anyone else who has ever played this game, but it is an absolute gem of an RPG. It was made by Atlus in the days of the PS2, but it broke ground for what could be done in an RPG, from a fully functional stock market, to dynamic choices that would affect the entire game. One of the small things that I felt made Steambot Chronicles so special was that every single character had a name, or some kind of identifying feature (that ended up being their name). It made the world feel alive, that is why I went and made sure every single character in Ashes, no matter how minor, had a name. I loved the personalities of the characters and tried to incorporate that into some of the companions. We had a lot more we wanted to add from Steambot Chronicles, but due to technical limitations we sadly weren’t able to. I think when we start the remake we will look into adding more, but until then, should some random Atlus developer stumble onto my blog, please know your game was one of a kind, and I aspire to make something that moves players as much as Steambot Chronicles moved me!

Now that I’ve given credit where credit is due, next time I will talk more about how Ashes is different from everything else, some things most players wouldn’t even see since a lot of it happens behind the scene.

As always, please reach out to me at smartino@dogwoodgaming.com with any comments or questions. I always love hearing from you guys!