iin ‘’Meriwether: An American Epic‘, you play as Captain Lewis, the man President Thomas Jefferson selected and specially trained to accomplish this mission. You’ll join forces with your long-time friend and former commanding officer, William Clark, and with him you’ll form the Corps of Discovery, a party of hand-picked soldiers, interpreters, and hunters to whom you’ll trust your life every day of the 28-month journey.
Can you introduce yourself and explain how you are involved with ‘Meriwether: An American Epic‘?
I’m Josh, a game designer and the creative director of Meriwether. My main jobs are to design the gameplay and interaction, to keep a consistent vision for the game, and to manage the production team.
What are the key features which makes the game unique and appealing?
There’s two things that I think are really unique to this project:
- The amount of effort we are putting into the history. We have a Lewis & Clark historian embedded in the development team, and we are doing our utmost to make the game as accurate as possible.
- The conversation system has a unique mechanic, in that each choice is associated with a facet of Lewis’s character: leader, soldier, diplomat, scientist, or melancholy. When you choose one of these options, it levels up that facet which helps with a related skill. For instance, leader allows you to take more men with you, and soldier increases your marksmanship. Melancholy also requires you to be somewhat balanced in which facets you choose.
Will there be interaction between players? Or is the historic story game singleplayer only?
Yup, it’s a single-player game. I love multiplayer, but it’s just not appropriate for this title.
Can you tell us more about end-game and the replay value of ‘ Meriwether’?
There are several ways to “lose”– you can be killed, your men’s morale may drop to the point of mutiny, or another critical character, like Clark, may die. If this happens, you restart at the beginning of the current level. The game ends when you return to Washington D.C. and report to Jefferson. There is an epilogue that shows the how the results of your actions and the extent of your success affects all the major characters.
The main mode can be replayed and you may choose to handle things differently each time around. However, one of our stretch goals was to add Endless Arcade Mode, which allows you to play an infinite number of procedurally generated levels. These focus less on the narrative and more on the mechanics of managing an expedition, and exploring.
How do you intent to support and update the game once released?
We have a bunch of ideas for additional content focused around events that occurred after the expedition. Right now we’re just focused on finishing what we’ve started, but here’s a few we’d love to tackle:
- Lewis and Clark bring a Mandan chief named Sheheke to Washington. After the expedition, Sgt. Pryor leads an exciting expedition to return him back to his people.
- One of the privates, John Colter, went on to become a mountain man and explorer in his own right. We’d love to do a small module focusing on his exploits.
- During the expedition, Clark and Lewis split up for a while. In Meriwether we follow what happened to Lewis, but we’d love to add a downloadable module that allows you to play Clark during his time away.
Those are just a few ideas, and I’m sure more will come as we finish up!
Will the Linux gamer be able to enjoy the game at launch?
Yes, Linux support will be available at launch (in November 2013).